Monday, August 01, 2011

Home a Little Late.

Sorry Shean, I hadn't finished the blog but I guess the title got posted up a little early...

I didn't think it could happen but my mind and attitude were completely changed during my flight back to Vancouver. The hard way...
My planned called for a direct flight from Frankfurt to Vancouver on an early morning flight so I had left Nuremburg on the last train of the day to Frankfurt with the intention of sitting at the airport all night (which I did) and then flying home in a general state of blah. I can honestly state that I didn't want to get on the plane. I was definitely leaning towards the "I'd rather stay in Germany" state of mind.
But I did get on and our completely full Air Transat A330 (~350 people) was happily cruising along home until we were forced to turn back and land at Iqaluit, Nunavut (aka really the middle of nowhere) for a medical emergency. 2 hours later we were all set to leave and sitting on the runway revving up the engines when the pilot cut the power and taxied back to the terminal. Now we had a technical problem with the plane...
4 hours after that we finally had things fixed and were ready to try again. Sitting for 6 hours in Nunavut probably sounds like hell and it mostly was but the weather was good and the passengers were all surprisingly good humoured about everything. Possibly because we had no idea how long we'd have to wait and so were hoping to leave any minute. We were forced to stay on the plane the entire time because Iqaluit airport has no facilities for 350 people let along immigration to allow us into the Canada officially. So we had the doors propped open, nothing to see and a long time to wait. They more or less ran out of snacks and water onboard also and apparently we raided all that they had at the airport and had the airport staff run to the store to raid them too. If Iqaluit is currently suffering from starvation then I'm afraid we had something to do with it...I was also sitting in the middle seat of the middle row of the plane beside the front toilets so had no window at all and didn't get to see anything as we flew in and out.
So after 6 hours of delay we finally took off and were immediately told we'd be headed to Montreal because the flight crew had officially gone over their daily work hours limit so we needed to change to a new crew. It wasn't until we got to Montreal that we were finally allowed off the plane for about 45 minutes while they re-catered and cleaned that people could finally call home and make other arrangements. I don't even remember the flight back from Montreal as I was so wrecked by then. When we landed, 13 hours late, I had been awake for about 48 hours and on the plane for almost 24 of them. And I can honestly say at that point that I was quite happy to finally be in Vancouver again!
Since then I have been battling jet lag and running around prepping last minute details for the wedding, like getting my suit tailored to size, etc.
There have been definite culture shocks though I doubt I'd call them "shocks". It's more that I come back and see things now as a different culture like any other different culture and not my own. But it's more little differences that you don't think about or you notice when you go abroad but not home. In ways it's almost like the scale of things changes. The mountains here are smaller, the cars bigger, the houses huge. It was normal before and now it seems like something alien. I did a double take when I saw how much water is in the toilet bowl, and then was surprised when I was counting change in my head and given a quarter instead of a 20 cent coin. Those are simple changes in perception while other changes are more obvious, like all the construction that has been completed (and new stuff started) in the time I've been away. Seeing snow on the mountains for the first time in years was also something new. Driving was something new again. After only 100 km of driving in the last 4+ years (and that in the Aussie outback) I was a little nervous to get behind the wheel again. I'm happy to announce that I can still drive safely, though the thought of commuting and city driving makes me want to give it up altogether.
The best part of the first couple days was going into the storage unit and finding out I had saved more clothes than I thought. It's like Christmas! I didn't get a whole lot done before it was time for us all to take off to Las Vegas for the wedding.


At 9:35 AM , Blogger The Bear said...

Hey Ammon,
We got to see your Mom & Dad and Savannah, unfortunately Kees was shy and stayed at the hotel in Banff. I ahdn't realized the wedding was in Vegas, now that would be toasty and make you think of some of the hotter climates you've seen.
I do know a bit what you meant about the culture. I had a minor case of that when I moved west after living in Quesbec for 3 years. As to Vancouver, I hardly recognize anything anymore, it just is so much bigger and crowded and angry now.
Be Glad you found something to wear in that locker, naked isn't a pretty thought.
Hey I hope everything else is working out, your Mom tried to sound up beat but she's worried.

Anyways, you keep writing I'll keep reading!!!

Bear Hugs


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