car-rental

First time on Korean airlines.  Really impressed with the leg room and the cleanliness and the overall experience.  We did 10 hours and a stop-over in Korea to change planes and then 10 hours to Vancouver.  Both flights were about half full so everyone had more than enough to room to stretch out or even lay down.  I said it was like having a sleepover with a bunch of friends or family after a great party and everyone fell asleep on the couch in their clothes.  Except, these people were much more friendly than our friends or family – in that they none of them were asking us for money, running from the law, or trying to pinch my cheeks.

I was not thrilled with the food.  It all tasted the same.  A salad with something weird and unidentifiable in it that was half from mars and half from the annual church picnic (i.e. potato salad with some kind of slimy something in it).  The desert was the same one for all meals.  It was a thin cake base with a gelatine, milky some kind of layer and then a thin layer of fruit jello of some kind.  They changed with each meal to colour co-ordinate, only they weren’t trying to match it to the bowls or a flower arrangement – it was to the colour of the meat.  One of the jellos was orange.  You get my drift.

There wasn’t any salt, pepper or sugar with the meal but they did give us a toothpick and real metal utensils which greatly surprised me being as they could all be used as weapons.  Why take my nail clippers if you are going to give me a knife and fork?  I can do martial arts with a knife and fork.  I can butcher a water buffalo with  a spoon.  Really. Nail clippers … can anyone actually cut a toe nail with one of those things? I mean without bleeding out?

Derek loved the food.  He could eat bark with bits of dead skunk in it and think it was awesome.  I think he just likes to be able to say he has eaten it.  It is a great way to impress people when you first meet them, makes you stand out in the crowd.  They may forget a guy named Derek but never the dude that eats bark and dead skunk.

We got into Vancouver and through the customs like a dream.  They took our cards, looked at the passports, we picked up our luggage and walked out.  No lines, no big suitcase scan and body search, no sniffing dogs, no cross looking people with weapons deciding if they liked your fashion sense.  People were jumping and shouting and high-fiving one another and running for the taxis.  We were so impressed. All we had to do was get our car and go.

Except we had no idea where the cars were.  Vancouver has a habit of moving everything around the moment you walk out of the airport.  They have rearranged it a zillion times.  Evidently, along with all the other cutbacks they have included words.  Hence, we got a wave of the hand, a head nod and an “out there, across the road,”  when we asked. We went … “out there, across the road” and we went and went and went.  There was a sign saying “rental cars.”  We hiked in the direction it pointed us to.  Then there was more hiking.  We barely missed being hit by other hikers.  I got hip checked by a young hiker into a cement bollard.  Awesome.  I didn’t need that leg anyway, I had another one and Derek had two that he would willingly share with me.  Then we found a sign for two of the car rental places, of course, neither were ours.  So we hiked some more until we came to a cement wall and we turned and hiked some more – in the other direction.  Another tiny sign said car rentals pointing in another direction.  We split the last piece of a furry candy I found in the bottom of my purse and hugged each other and told each other we loved each other and gave our last instructions in case we didn’t make it.  Strangely both of us had a lengthy paragraph on what to do with the person who waved and nodded and sent us on this mission.

We eventually came to elevators and a door to the outside.  The sign directing us there was a faint blip of colour off in the distance.  No-one was around.  The luggage was heavy.  I needed to pee.  I considered using the potted plant off to the side.  Hubby walked off to find someone, leaving me there to guard the luggage.  I circled the wagon . . mainly because I needed to do the pee pee shuffle and sing to keep my mind off needing a bathroom.  Then I remembered that you were supposed to think about sex when you had to go and no bathroom was around.  I did.  Hence when my hubby returned I was standing there with a big smile on my face, smoking a cigarette.  It actually works.

We were to take the elevator.  Evidently, only clairvoyants were supposed to rent cars there because they would be able to pick up the vibes once they got to the directional signs for the car rentals.  They would just know that they needed to take the elevator to another floor.  We did that because we hunted down a man who told us to do that and we had no other option left to us.  We got on the elevator.

We found an office and we found our agent.  He made us walk through 10 miles of rope barriers circling around making a neat pattern that could we have flown a plane over and seen a crop circle-type pattern.  I think we etched out a one that looked just like a guy kneeling down on the curling ice about to release his rock.  Unfortunately, we could not get a plane in the building to see that pattern and hence we were not impressed.  There was no one else in the building.  He was just a few feet in front of us but he made us circle around and around and then when we got to the end, he made us wait until he called “next.”

First order of business was to convince us we needed more insurance.  He recommended we up our rental agreement from $400 for the month to $1200.  Of course we were all over that – what a deal.  What surprised me most was that he was clearly disappointed that we turned him down, who actually does that work on?  He went on and on about the dangers of Canadian winters and how we would all die along the road and be eaten by polar bears or an ill tempered moose etc.  I interrupted the conversation between him and my Aussie accented hubby to infrom him, with my Strong Canadian Woman voice, that I had lived in Canada my entire life so he could cut the crap out any time.  Then I gave him a look that suggested he go throw himself in front of an ill-tempered moose and use a plastic fork to serve the first piece of himself to the moose.  He shrugged and said it was our rental car and our holiday to ruin.

Then he said the car was in space 36 and turned to talk to his colleague behind the desk about who was playing in the next big bonspiel.

We were dismissed.

So, we moved to the door.  Except, we could not get it open.  There we were, struggling with all our bags, bashing into the door and each other, several times.  After we knocked over a coffee table, two casual chairs and the couch, I yelled above the sound of a suitcase being swung at and hitting the door repeatedly by my hubby, “Hey, shit for brains, how do you get the door opened?”  Without turning his head he said, “sensor is to the left, it can be a bit temperamental.”  We jumped and waved, we swung suitcases …  nothing.  Finally, I climbed on hubby’s shoulders and stood on my tippy toes and swung my purse …more nothing.  Heaps of nothing.  But when I scratched my left ear at the same time and sneezed, it opened.  We ran for the open door and escaped.

Again we hiked looking for “36.”  We found 1 – 26 and then 42 – 56.  We found unmarked ones.  Then we found a couple of 36’s in the other company’s parking area.  Nothing in ours.  It was getting dark.  We had arrived first thing in the morning and we were not thrilled at the prospect of spending our first night sleeping on the cold concrete of the parking garage.  And then a miracle!!  We finally found someone who worked there.  We begged him to tell us where 36 had gone.  H replied, “Oh 36 is over there,” and pointed off across another competitors parking area, past an open space, at some spots against a far wall.”  We headed over only there was no space among the cars, big enough for us to push the cart through.  We were not going to get anywhere near the area where “36” was supposed to be.  I walked back and forth until finally, I found one but it was blocked with a huge garbage can and chemicals in pails sitting around.  We put on our fluoro vests that we happen to carry everywhere with us, our hard hats … and moved them all.  Thank heavens we were skilled labourers.  We proceeded through and across the expanse.  I pointed to my hubby to say. “here is 36,” and “oh it is not a bad little car.”  Suddenly the voice of an employee spoke up.  “That’s not yours.   Use your key fob and the lights will come on for your car.”  Nothing.  I started hiking left and walked around another big wall and a van to find a crappy little car with the lights flashing.  Our car.  The dude followed us and said, ya you really should upgrade for just an extra 10 a day to the 4 wheel drive.  The Canadian winters here are brutal and …”

Suddenly the voice of an employee spoke up.  “That’s not yours.   Use your key fob and the lights will come on for your car.”  Nothing.  I started hiking left and walked around another big wall and a van to find a crappy little car with the lights flashing.  Our car.  The dude followed us and said, ya you really should upgrade for just an extra 10 a day to the 4 wheel drive.  The Canadian winters here are brutal and …”

Nothing.  I started hiking left and walked around another big wall and a van to find a crappy little car with the lights flashing.  Our car.  The dude followed us and said, ya you really should upgrade for just an extra 10 a day to the 4 wheel drive.  The Canadian winters here are brutal and …”

I started hiking left and walked around another big wall and a van to find a crappy little car with the lights flashing.  Our car.  The dude followed us and said, ya you really should upgrade for just an extra 10 a day to the 4 wheel drive.  The Canadian winters here are brutal and …”

I interrupted and told him we knew all about the ill-tempered moose who might try to gum us to death and suggested that if he liked sex and travel he should go now … to there …

We got in our car and headed off into the night.

And then we got lost on our way to downtown.  That happened because by the time you put both of us and a couple of suitcases into the car you couldn’t see anything around you or out the back window.  I have not set so far down in a car since I was a child and rode one of those big wheels.  Some of the signs were too high for us to see.  We stopped, got out of the car, looked for the tall buildings, and headed that way.  We then circled and circled and eventually wound up at our resort.  Of course, our room was not ready but we were able to park the vehicle, leave our luggage and go get something to eat.  YAY Canadian food, I was starving and all the dreams of my favourites were dancing in my head.  Where to start, where to start . . .

I picked the wrong place and the food sucked.  Boohoo Boston Pizza for serving crappy dry ribs that had been left in the oven for three weeks,  until they were dried out rocks and then were served to me.  YAY me, still on a roll, 0 for 5 meals.  They also managed to destroy a bellini.  Until then I lived in a world where only perfect belinnis existed.  I learned there was such a thing as a really bad bellini and no matter how much alcohol they put in it … it would have sucked.

We checked into the room which was like being in a forced air clothes dryer on high, after everything was already dry and all you were doing was seeing if a fire could be caused from the static electricity building up with each tumble.  We cracked open the windows so we could hear cars screeching and roaring, police and fire engines, people yelling and swearing at one another and several jack hammers and cement pounders all next door to our resort hotel. But at least we could breathe.

The room was lovely.  I had my picture taken beside the newly upholstered couch and stroking one of the bar stools.  No way was I going to ever post on Facebook that my life sucked … not as long as those mean girls could still operate a mouse and read.

We opened the suitcases, and tried to organize.  We had a shower, fought to get the internet connected, informed all the children they should call back the police and search dogs because we had arrived safe and no there would not be any inheritance checks sent out that week after all.  It helps convince people you mean it when you say, “We are so glad you are safe, that is all that matters” if you are not crying and the kids in the background are not yelling, did grandma die yet?  Do we get the new Nintendo or what?

Then we went to meet my awesome friend for dinner at Relish.  I love that restaurant and they did not disappoint with my meal.  Finally!  Food!!  We ate, we visited, we pried our eyelids open with tooth picks, hugged and kissed and said goodbye and went back to die in our bed.

Up at sparrow fart, we started for Calgary, across the mountains.  Not before we got lost again trying to find our way out of Vancouver.  I am pretty sure this was exactly the experience of the first explorers.  We were being epic.  Please God tell me we were epic.

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