The Long Haul

It has begun. Could not get our boarding passes online last night or this morning. Got blocked at the Tokyo to Bangkok leg. Don’t know why and the lady at the registration desk this morn had no answers either. AC is already in the doghouse and they are trying their damnedest to see how low they can get. Someone said this about AC this morning, “We are not happy until you are not.”

Alberta is a patchwork of patterns and colours in the fall. I am totally mesmerized. I spend the entire flight from Edmonton to Calgary staring out the window, something I don’t do often on a plane. The designs made by the farmers cutting the crops are seemingly random but I am sure there is some sort of plan adhered to that has been devised because of the natural obstacles and the lay of the land. This is all overlaid by the 1 mile by 2 mile grid that covers most of the southern half of the province. Then there are the organic forms of the water features that snake their way, usually at a diagonal across those patterns and the bodies of water both big and small randomly placed on the canvas.

The patterns are interesting enough but the colours add a lot. There are no brilliant or shocking hues, all of them are subdued. Greens, maybe two or three different tones. Yellows about the same. The soil is different, ranging from light brown to black and the water is brownish, green or blue.

As we travel south the mountains enter the picture and at this time of year the tops are a brilliant white, the bottoms are the grey/blue colour of the rock. They resemble a child’s depiction on a school drawing.

The picture from the air is a different perspective and I’m glad I have a chance to see it. I travel great distances to see what is on the other side of the metaphoric fence but when I see sights like this I realize one does not have to travel far to be amused and amazed.

Part 1 complete. Part 2 (Calgary to Tokyo) is boring. 12hrs, 1 ½ hours slower than scheduled as we are bucking a headwind all the way. I read, Debbie watches a couple of movies and we both try to sleep a little, even though it is not sleep time, as we know we will need it later.

Part 3 is on a Thai Air Airbus 380. Niiiiice plane, and I usually do not notice the plane unless it is particularly bad. The seats are wide even though they are 7 across. We sit in the middle but for the most part it is dark anyway. I am waiting to take off so I can get my bag from under the seat and get my book, I realize we are already in the air. I think we are still taxiing. Now that was a takeoff. The landing is about the same. I will fly on one of these any day. If it is the pilots that are so good, fly Thai Air.

The last installment of the journey involves waiting for our one checked bag. I now remember why we don’t do it. Standing at the carousel I realize we would have left 29 mins. prior and would have been out the door well ahead of the crowd. And our bag came out relatively early in the process. And it actually arrived with us! YAHOO!

There is a difference and to find the subtleties in airlines is the way to determine who to fly with. Thai Air is at least a notch above Air Canada. So starts the pecking order.

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