Rachel "Sparks" Blackman (seattlesparks) wrote,
Rachel "Sparks" Blackman

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Home again, home again

So, I woke up really early. Packed up everything remaining in my hotel room and went downstairs to check out. The travel agent gave me the wrong voucher -- instead of a one-day ski pass, I ended up with two free three-day passes. As both had two days left on them, I donated the passes to the hotel staff to use on break -- something the concierge was blown away by and thanked me for a lot -- and then headed out into the snow to find my express bus at 7:40am.

I got on relatively early and began to play Final Fantasy Tactics Advance to pass the time. Soon enough, Don and his wife, and Tini and her family, made it onto the bus. Tini's kids immediately began watching FFTA and asking all sorts of questions about it. I decided to follow a plot game instead, and so I popped out FFTA and popped in Lunar. Now, those who know me know that Lunar is one of my favorite old RPGs; I bought a Sega CD solely to play Lunar. I bought the PSX remake, and so the idea of a portable version of Lunar was too much to pass up. (Especially for $12.) I'd not played Lunar in ages, and Lunar Legends (the new version of the original game) has some new sidestory missions anyway.

So I start out, with good old Alex at Dragonmaster Dyne's grave. Soon enough, I had Tini's kids crowded into the seat with me, and watching and providing suggestions as I played along. (And making fun of Nash, who they decided was 'a big jerk'.) By the time we reach the airport, I was in Miribia! Said my farewells to everyone and headed into the terminal.

Now, it's worth noting that I didn't have any hassle getting across the border into Canada. (Though Andy was hauled aside into Immigration and questioned.) It was fairly painless; I filled out a form on the plane, answered about three questions, and continued through. However, getting back was a 'circus,' to borrow a co-worker's words. I was directed through a Duty-Free Shop -- you're required to pass through there to get to the international flights! -- and given a form to fill out (with no clipboard or anything). Then I had to pay $10 for an 'Airport Improvement Fee' and receive a receipt. Then I had to wait in another line to show my AIF receipt before being allowed to continue. Once that was done, they let me through into another very long line, where after about 20 minutes of being packed in like sardines, I got to show all my (by now crumpled) paperwork to a customs official. Then I was let through into another big long line, where I was (finally) able to check my baggage for my flight -- yes, I hauled it with me that far -- and then I was let into /another/ big long line to pass through the security checkpoint. And then finally turned loose towards the gates.

I managed to find a bite to eat and settle down to wait the two hours for my flight. I realized 'hey, I bet they have a WiFi hotspot' and so I turned on Pixel (my Powerbook) and scanned. Sure enough, TelusMobility had a hotspot covering the whole airport. I went to sign up. CDN$8.00 for access! Not bad. So I go to pay up my new Telus Mobility account for hotspot access...and discover 'Telus Mobility can only accept Canadian Visa cards. Please try again with American Express or MasterCard!' Neither of which I have. Grrrr! So I call to check in with a few folks, and then I settle down to watch a few films. Lucky me, I have about 12 gigabytes of video on Pixel.

So the plane shows up, and I get on. We get underway and land in Seattle at about 2:15pm. Luckily, having jumped through the Customs Hoops of Death back in Vancouver, I just go right to baggage claim. Brent's supposed to show up to pick me up around 3:00, so I settle down to play a bit more Lunar. By 3:40, I've cleared the Miribia missions, Ramus has his store, and I'm ready to leave for Vale with Nash. I start to realize that perhaps I should figure out where Brent is, so I call Jen. She has no idea, but tells me that if Brent doesn't show up in fifteen minutes, I should call her and she'll come to get me instead. As I hang up -- my poor phone running low on batteries since I forgot the charger -- I find that I've /just/ missed a call while I was talking to Jen. Whoever it was didn't leave a voicemail, but I figure it might be Brent. So I gather my stuff up and wander towards the pay phones. About seven minutes later, Brent and I finally find each other and set off for home. We decide to take the scenic route rather than the freeway, and drive along the lakeshore in the rain. As it gets later and becomes pitch-black, we realize this is a mistake, as we take a few wrong turns. But by about 5:00 we reach home, and I get inside.

Jen and I vegged out for a bit as I unwound from the trip. It was a lot of fun, though I'm still sore in places I didn't realize I had, and I still have some impressive bruising from the skiing. I expect I'm going to be sore for a while; folks warned that while it's easy to remember how to ski even with years of not doing it (they were right) that you can be sore for weeks afterwards due to putting disused muscles back into use (and so far, they're also right). Still, it was a lot of fun; I need to start skiing more again!

Back to work tomorrow. Whew! And then I'm off to change my phone number over to T-Mobile and stuff. Whee! Free of Verizon! (Who once again annoyed me today, as all my text pages and voicemail hit at once when I got back into the States.)
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