First things first: I have $52.67 Canadian, which I have no real use for. If you’re interested in swapping US dollars for them and live somewhere I can get to by subway, contact me.
Now, I know I promised a rant about my flight from New York to Victoria, but this flight back was a lot more interesting. When I logged in at Victoria’s airport and posted, I was still jubilant, having learned that the change to the trip wouldn’t cost me any money. When I’d tried to make the change on the phone earlier, the Air Canada representative told me it would cost an addition $900, which, as I explained to Katie, would require me to not only eat nothing for several months, but also steal money to pay rent.
In fact, I probably did end up having to pay a little more, mostly in overpriced food and drinks. If you’ve seen me in person, you probably know that averaged with Drew Carey’s, my weight is normal. In Victoria I ate even less than I normally do, and yesterday I ate even less than that. When I touched ground in Vancouver, I hadn’t ingested anything in 27 hours except a few sips of stale tap water and a single matzo.
At Vancouver Airport, it’s surprisingly difficult to find any place that sells food and is open past around 9 pm. I landed at 9:30 and got at 10 to a restaurant where the kitchen closed at, well, 10. As a result, the only solid thing that went into my mouth in Vancouver was a buff chocolate chip cookie. When I’m starving, I don’t give a damn about any heart attacks that will result in the future from overconsumption of trans fats.
I’d stave the hunger off by reading blogs and checking my four email addresses, but Vancouver Airport had no internet connection that wouldn’t cost my money I’m not willing to spend. At Victoria Airport I bought a one-day pass I ended up using for all of 35 minutes, but Vancouver and Victoria’s airports have different wireless operators. Since at Vancouver I didn’t have anything urgent to do online, like call Katie and my parents and tell them I managed to get a flight at Victoria that wouldn’t require me to sell myself into slavery to pay for.
Plane rides are one of my few opportunities to read, so while in popular culture, “airplane reading” refers to trashy novels, books I’ve read in the air include War and Peace, Anna Karenina, The Name of the Rose, and The Trial. This flight’s reading was Jared Diamond’s Collapse, which I might review for 3QD this Monday.
Now, Air Canada has a lot of creative cost-cutting measures, one of which is charging people for in-flight food. So instead of getting low-quality hot meat for free, I needed to dole out $5 for a cold chicken salad, which I’m guessing had 200 calories in it. I understand the sentiment about healthier food, but when on a per-calorie basis it costs as much as a filet mignon at an upscale restaurant, something is wrong.
Fast forward to Toronto, where I had to fill out a US customs form and ask confusedly which immigration form I needed to fill out. I should change my name to Alon Levy Inc., in which case I’d be able to travel from the US to Canada to Mexico without hassle, and to Europe with minimal hassle subject only to the whims of a few protectionist lobbyists.
On the other hand, the immigration line is a lot shorter at Pearson than at any US international airport I’ve been to, so I got an hour saved right off the bat, which was promptly canceled by the fact that the flight to New York took off at 9 am when it was supposed to take off at 8:15.
In New York, things went more smoothly. The bus took forever to get me here – hence, my 10-11 forecast became 12 – but I had a very enjoyable conversation with three people, two Chicagoans who were in the city for the first time and a long-time New Yorker.