Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hotel Coffee

Please note the date stamp on this entry, because I want to assure you—I did not mistakenly create it while trying to schedule the posting.

Hello again from Calgary. You all remember Calgary—WFC 2008 and my first panel. Well, the Calgary airport and I are becoming quite well acquainted this year. For my American friends, let me explain what the weather has been like in my homeland this year. It's the first time since 1971 that Canada has had an across the country white Christmas.

The snow in Vegas? Nothing at all compared to here. The BC coast and Vancouver Island—which don't get snow—are about to break records for the most snow in a single month. Again, for my American friends, it doesn't snow on the BC Coast or Vancouver Island. It rains. Pathetically—like Seattle. Victoria has the most snow in Canada at the moment. Vancouver is a city of like 3 million in its metro area that owns 3 snowplows. Understandably, it's been a wee bit difficulty to get around the province, because our biggest airport has all but shut down several times. On the plus side, they say it's going to help them prepare for the 2010 Olympic traffic.

While I'd like to sound clever and say I booked my flight path connection through Calgary because I wanted to get on a plane, I scheduled my ticket in November and was really only thinking that Vancouver is normally a nightmare to transfer through during the holidays and customs agents in Calgary are much more pleasant.

Um... yes. So guess who didn't make her connection in Calgary because the plane couldn't land in Kamloops? While you're at it, guess who should have known that because the plane last year from Kamloops to Calgary was delayed an hour leaving Calgary?

The great news is: I definitely missed my connection because the plane then sat on the tarmac in Calgary for 15 minutes waiting to get close enough to let us off, so Air Canada gave me a hotel voucher. Had we not, and I'd just failed to clear customs and run the length of the airport in 15 minutes, they wouldn't have been able to do anything. They're not offering vouchers for those put out because of weather delays and cancellations.

This why I was up at 4 AM, because I have a flight at 8 AM, so I have to be in a cab with another passenger at 5:30 AM. I realize that to most of us, these all sound like made up times. Actually, I was up at 4 AM because people were unhappily speaking in the hallway at 3:48 AM. But it's ok, they were doing me a favor. They knew I should blog about this experience and that the wake up call wasn't going to come until 5:05 AM, so I'm grateful they got me up.

As clear indication I am not meant to function at this time of "morning," let me share a little tale of how the hotel coffee machine nearly defeated me. Now, my time at Starbucks has made me familiar with these "drip machines" that people who drink a lot of coffee are so fond of having. I know coffee needs grounds, a filter, water and a machine. I'm usually clever enough to work out where to put the first three ingredients in the machine to make it happily create that magical elixir.

At 4:12 AM, I am searching the cupboards in the little kitchenette for the filters. It had not occurred to me, who has seen those little foil prepacks in nearly every hotel room in North America she's been in, that I just need to open one and put it in the basket of the machine. I conclude this only after not finding any filters.

Something else that concern me? What is this "whitener?" I find in the little packages. Is it like this "creamer" my parents are so fond of that contains no true dairy content and is thus either suffering an identity crisis or just plain lying to them? The ingredients tell me this "whitener" is mostly sugar, so I assume I can ingest it and it's not been mistakenly placed in a cup instead of Japanese skin care product. Although, I'm still a little worried, because I am rather white enough already, thank you very much.

For some reason in addition to these three packs of whitener (why are there three?!) I have also put two packs of sugar, because let's be honest—even at 4:30 in the morning, I don't want to taste Nabob coffee.

Oh yes, expert traveler me.


Leigh said...

oh dear, oh dear...what an adventure you're having! on the positive side, if you didn't know it already, you are quite the pithy observer when faced with little sleep and weather anxiety so maybe you can use that to your advantage somehow and dribble out some really cool story or character ideas.

hope you get out of calgary safely very soon...:)

Rachel said...

Wow! Yeah, that's a pretty - well - experience. It's something to write about, heh?