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Published: June 25th 2017
Geo: -27.4676, 153.028
The organisation was spot on and we were ready and packed for the 7.30 am arrival of the maxi cab to the airport. Well two of us were. When the cab arrived Anth was in the bathroom wrapped in his towel cleaning his teeth!
No worries. By the time we hauled the endless stream of luggage to the cab he was ready and we were on our way. Michael übered his way there and we were in line ready for the "processing" . Luggage checked and forms filled we managed to get our refunds sorted at the TRS and purchased the essentials from Duty Free.
Everyone was seated and of course excited to DEPART. But nothing happened. The aircraft did not budge and the captain announced that there was a security issue ... and gave periodic updates as passengers became a little restless. After just over the hour whatever the security issue was, it was resolved and at last we were away.
The boys played "Chinese Poker" for 10 of the 12 hours of the flight. Mac watched some movies and took regular little strolls with me. Managed to meet a few new people and chat in the "strictly no congregating"
area and even took in a sunrise at 11 000 metres. We ate, drank (Michael managed 10 gin and tonics!), talked and I slept for a few hours and with the added bonus of the noise cancelling headsets, the hours and the miles disappeared.
Welcome to LA was a series of queues and photos, a walk outside to get from one terminal to another, a quick pack of the duty free into the luggage before it was confiscated (while being herded along in the connecting flight queue), followed by a lot of raised strident voices as we removed shoes and prepared for scanning to leave the US and get ready for flight number two to Vancouver.
Again, the timing seemed to be "just enough". By the time we had completed all the essentials of the transfer really only had 30 minutes of down time in the WestJet lounge.
Much more room on this flight. The cabin crew looked after us and rearranged seating so that we all had room to spread out. The three hour flight was a time for welcomed sleep. Still find it hard to believe, but neatly packed in little "paw bags" were DOGS! Some of the passengers had
their pets with them. Ha ha, we just had our "kids".
It seemed as if we were the only airline arrival of the afternoon into a deserted Vancouver terminal and it was a quick slide through customs. Met our very first "not happy" Canadian at Border check. Michael and Anthony tried a few jokes....which definitely fell on deaf ears.
Michael did his superman change from shorts and thongs into long pants and shoes and took his next flight off to Banff. We took his extra luggage and headed for the Whistler Shuttle.
It was 4 pm local time - pitch black and raining. Mac and I wanted to check out Georgia, Burrard and The Lion's Gate but it was near impossible to see past the bright lights of bumper to bumper peak hour traffic. There had been an accident on the bridge and a fatality 12 kms south of Whistler so it was going to be slow going.
Our first glimpse of snow was at Squamish. White humps piled up on the side of the road and flurries filled the beams of the street lights. Ice was forming on the windscreen and was sliding down the glass. Nothing like snow to make you believe
that you have "arrived."
Last leg of the journey was the 10 minute local transfer from the West Inn bus station to The Gables. Standing and stomping on the pavement in the snow definitely seals that "we have arrived". Mac took his first 5 steps in his hush puppies and elegantly slipped right onto his butt in the gutter. I was as much help as I was on Mt Hutt 30 years ago ..... and did nothing. He bounced back up and had survived his first 5 minutes with a bruise to the knee. No blood - that's all that counts.
Pam was at The Gables to meet us. Heat was on. Lights were blazing. Guided tour and instructions were soon under way. Our AirBnB pick was perfect.
The doorbell chimed to announce the arrival of Mindy and Ian. Almost a party! Thermals, socks, non slip snow boots, gloves and hats....and we were heading out to see the lights of Whistler. Mindy was off to work and Ian took us to a local favourite...,every meal was $5. Great start to apres ski....and we didn't even have to ski. All made even better by a very attentive (and attractive) hostess.
Time to stock up on
groceries...doesn't matter that it's 11 pm - need the essentials. Headed back home just in time for Mindy to swing by in the cab from Creekside to pick up Ian.
Heard from Michael - his flight and car ride had landed him safely in the middle of downtown Banff....and plenty of snow!
And that was Day 1. Woke up in Brisbane at 6.00 am Thursday and calling it quits at equivalent of Friday 7 pm. Not bad for a couple of oldies.
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