|Waiting for the flight that seemed like it was never going to take off|
Today I begin my third day of my weeklong stay at my Canadian Travel Buddy's luxurious 14th floor condo in downtown Hamilton.
What a time I had getting here!
My ride (Jimmy Carter) from Lewes picked me up early Sunday morning to take me to the Philadelphia International Airport for my 11:45 AM one hour flight to Buffalo, New York. I fly to Buffalo where Pat picks me up and takes me over the boarder to Canada. A lot less complicated than flying directly into Pierson International Airport in Toronto. Did that once and will never do it again. Three levels of security and actually more mileage to travel.
It was good that Jim Carter picked up up early, we beat the Sunday tourist traffic returning to Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Getting to the airport was the easy part. Now for the hard part.
I have TSA pre check. That's my "free" pass to bypass the security line where you have to take your shoes off, belt, get scanned, felt up and other indignities. In the past this has worked fine. Not this time. Oh no, not this time.
First thing I had to find the TSA pre check line. After asking several airport help I was directed to another terminal. Yes, ANOTHER terminal. WTF?
So I take the long walk to the other terminal. There is a line. Not too bad but a line none the less. People are catching on to this pre check convenience. Well, today it wasn't so convenient.
I approach the line. Place my small carryon suitcase and shoulder bag on the conveyor belt. I also place my iPhone in the bowl and surrender them all to the conveyor belt to undergo the security scan. I am directed to walk through "the arches." "BEEP! BEEP!" Oh no, something is setting off the alarm. I'm asked if I completely emptied my pockets. Well, no actually. I have a pen (purple) and a semi-used tissue in my shirt pocket. "Put it in the bowl!" I hold my wad of cash in my hand. No way am I putting hundreds of dollars in the bowl. Too tempting and, of course untraceable, to some of the less honest going through or working the TSA security line that day. I am again directed to go through the arches. I do so and, yes "BEEP! BEEP!" "Step aside sir." Off goes the belt. "Do you have any metal joint replacements?" Uh no but I do have seed implants for my prostate treatment of years ago. They should be dormant. Again I am directed to the arches. "BEEP! BEEP!" "Step aside sir. We'll have to pat you down." Can you believe this? First of all I'm over seventy-five years old. I should be waved through security like I have many times in the past. But not today. Today I'm getting the full "treatment." Before the pat down though I have to go in the full body scan, the one where they see everything you own (and don't tell me they don't). I didn't pass that one either. I think they need to get new equipment.
The body pat down was next. Wasn't too bad, they guy patting me down did manage to not jostle the family jewels, thank goodness. Finally I passed. Phew! I can't remember the last time I went through such a rigmarole in security. And remember I have the TSA pre check "convenience."
Now the fun was really going to start. My flight as I said before was scheduled to leave at 11:45 AM. I arrived at my gate at 8:30, almost three hours early. Well, at least I was on time.
I settle down to kill time. I was lucky in that I had went to the bathroom before I got to the airport. That's always a worry of mine when I go on these trips, that a bowel urgency will strike in between points of departure. At my age I can't hold it in. When I have to go, I have to go. Fellow blog readers who are in my age group understand completely what I am talking about. I always fear having an "accident" on the way to the airport. And I have no desire to use the airport bathrooms for any sit down "activity" or encountering a Republican Senator in his gay closet with a wide stance in the next booth but because those bathroom stink. They literally smell like shit.
When I got to my gate I settled in for a long wait. I'm good at killing time so that wasn't a problem. The problem began though as the time of departure approached there began a series of delays of which I was notified on my iPhone.
I lost count after five notification beeps. The departure time kept being changed. Then the departure gate was changed. Man oh man. This was torture. Seemed like every five minutes I was receiving a notification on my iPhone. But at least we weren't sitting in a plane on the tarmac for hours or circling above for hours all of which I have experienced in the past during my limited flying experience. Has anyone ever had a flight both out and back on time? I haven't.
Finally at about 1:30 PM boarding began, almost two hours later. This was going to be a full day of travel.
This plane was a puddle jumper. Meaning the cabin was toothpaste tube size. Alright, so I exaggerate but that airplane tube was narrow. Thank goodness I elected a single seat on the left side of the tube. Me and the rest of the passengers squeezed into our seats.
We taxied on the runway and were off. The little over an hour flight was the easiest part of the trip. Sunny skies, pleasant trip.
I arrived at the Buffalo airport a little over an hour later and there was Pat, waiting for me. Always good to see Pat in person after so many hours, days, weeks and months of communicating with him by FaceTime.
As is our usual tradition we stopped at Wegmans in Buffalo for lunch.
Me and Pat at Wegmans on Dick Street (can you believe it?) in Buffalo. The Wegmans in Downingtown, we we often ate is located next to Dick's Sporting Goods store. What are the odds?
We had a nice lunch (as we always do at Wegmans), oh how I wish there was a Wegmans in Lower Slower Delaware but I'll never see that in my lifetime or my next lifetime, and we progressed towards the border to Canada. Traffic was heavy. We don't know what that was all about or "aboot".
When we arrived at Pat's hometown we immediately went to an open house one of his neighbors was having. Pat lives in a historic hotel in downtown Hamilton that has converted into luxurious condos. His friends were having a house warming in this million dollar penthouse a few floors above Pat's condo.
As we walked down the hallway to their penthouse we could hear the loud chatter and laughter. Oh no, I was so tired and now I was going to have to pull the Charming Ron rabbit out of my magician's hat.
|Pat and Veena, the Lady of the Hour|
We stayed for about an hour at their condo warming. Veena and Sharon had their affair catered. Free flowing drinks and scrumptious looking hors d'oeurvres were displayed prominently and begging to be consumed. I partook of a vodka and ginger ale but passed on the hors d'oeuvres. I had only a bowl of cereal in the morning and wanted a proper meal.
Pat and I ate at a new delightful restaurant that Pat discovered in downtown Hamilton called the "Bread Basket". We met a delightful American couple from Connecticut traveling through Canada to visit their son in Michigan. The lady photo bombed my obligatory restaurant picture that I always have taken when Pat and I eat at a new restaurant. In fact when I eat with anybody at a new restaurant I have a picture taken to memorialize the event. I know, I know. I am one of THOSE boring people.
When Pat and I finally got back to his condo I was EXHAUSTED. The time was nearing 6:30 PM, almost twelve hours after Jim Carter picked me up in that morning for my ride to Philly International airport.
Pat and watched a movie but I was just too tired. I went to bed, thus ending the first day of my annual journey to visit my good friend and travel buddy to our friendly neighbor to the north, Canada.
Today I am relaxed and ready for more adventure. I always enjoy visiting Canada and seeing Pat in person Although Pat and I talk several times a day on FaceTime, in person is always better. And he's in person now folks.
We'll visit more friends today. Photos and videos will follow!