Wednesday, April 15, 2015

transit tales from Edmonton

Edmonton, being flat as usual

When I picked up my luggage at the Edmonton Airport, I was startled to notice that my luggage was vibrating. WHY WAS IT VIBRATING. Suddenly I became afraid that a security incident might follow, and I could only see two possible explanations:

1. Someone had planted a bomb in my luggage. Do bombs vibrate?
2. It wasn't a bomb, but something else that vibrates. And then I would have to have an awkward conversation with airport security officers ("I..don't remember packing this. Why would I pack this for Portland?? Also, isn't the more important question how did it turn itself on? ARE MACHINES GAINING SENTIENCE?")

Not wanting either scenario, I immediately dug through my suitcase (with admirable courage, I should add, given Possibility #1) and found the source of the mechanical buzzing.

It was Rob's beard trimmer.

It had been a dramatic trip so far.  When we landed in Yellowknife after leaving Cambridge Bay, we got off the plane just as the boarding call for our connecting flight to Edmonton had been made. But we had to go through security. From the other side of the security gate, we watched as passengers lined up for our flight...and as the line grew smaller.  By the end we got through security - an exercise that seemed purely ceremonial, because I accidentally had my fishing knife on me and nobody seemed to care -  the last of the passengers had gone through the gate. We had just barely made our connecting flight, literally at the last second.

Our next connecting flight would turn out to be just as dramatic. We left Edmonton late and landed in Vancouver with just fifteen left to somehow go through security again, US customs and border security, and then sprint across the entire freaking Vancouver airport to a tiny little gate in Narnia to board our connecting flight to Portland. We literally ran. Amazing Race-style. Carrying all of our carry-ons. I felt so out of shape.

We arrived at border security, panting and sweating like any respectable person you'd like to see at your national border.  The security official told us we had to wait until our luggage was transferred. In the meantime, while we caught our breath, the security official chatted us up about a suspicious Muslim man she had seen in her neighbourhood the other day.  It was an odd moment, especially since she was Muslim herself. I wasn't sure what to say. Was this a test? In the end I just smiled and nodded, and eventually we got to go through. We made our plane, but barely. And definitely panting and sweaty.

But while we were in Edmonton, staying overnight for our layover, it was good to have a chance to relax.  I had stepped off the plane in Edmonton, I felt hot and confused. I had grown accustumed to the -45 degree winter of little Cambridge Bay. All of a sudden I was in the city, hot and confused. There were loud sounds outside our hotel room - were those gunshots or fireworks? (It turned out to be fireworks.) But eventually I let myself unwind.

hotel hot tub

okay fine, I'll enjoy some tuna tacos

Ric's Grill

It was nice to have a chance to explore Edmonton a bit as well. We took a cab to Whyte Avenue, which everyone assured us was the cool neighbourhood. We had forgotten about city concepts like traffic jams and commutes, so it took us a while to get there, but we enjoyed the sights along the way. The endless flat prairies. The signs for the snow hill and the Edmonton gun club. The billboards for Peelerz ("WE SUPPORT BIG OIL"). The endless flat prairies. Yes, Edmonton's pretty flat.

Whyte Avenue


Dadeo's Po'Boy

checking out my favourite hiptser hotspot (yes, Edmonton has those) - the Sugar Bowl

trying out some Alberta beer