On Saturday May 19th, thanks to the generosity of a friend, I boarded a plane to fly down to British Columbia for a period of about three weeks. I will be staying with my partner in the Fraser Valley; a beautiful area both on and within sight of many mountains, and within a reasonable drive to Vancouver.
I last had the chance to visit in January. It was my first time being in BC since I was 14 years and I was amazed by how much the province agreed with me: physically, mentally, and in a figurative sense, spiritually. Any suspicion that this may have been a fluke has been put to rest with the first real lungful of fresh air. There is a sense of rightness about this place, which I almost cannot describe.
I’ve had the opportunity to travel a fair bit growing up, and there was a time when my parents would buy plane tickets for me to fly to visit them, so I’m not unfamiliar with air travel. While traveling is always stressful to some extent, I have a good idea what to expect and so its less of a problem than it could have otherwise been.
Because of the difficulty in knowing if you can get somewhere fast enough, or if my back or legs would act up, not to mention the issue with stairs, I always try to make a point of asking for wheelchair help at the airport. While often this means I’m one of the first to board, if there is a delay and I arrive after boarding has started, I have a convenient chair to sit in while I wait.
This time around, I had to wait till most of boarding was done. When I did get on the plane, I was surprised to find someone already sitting in my assigned seat. We did the usual thing of pulling out our prospective tickets, each convinced the other was wrong. Much to our surprise, it turns out we were both right! By some fluke or another, despite a surprisingly empty flight, both of us were assigned the same seat number!
I had never seen this happen before, but the result was that I was told instead to sit a few rows ahead, In the Business Class Section! My longer connection was thus spent drinking out of actually glass glasses and with actual food on the flight.
My seat mate was a tradesman who was flying out for another job. Friendly guy, who mostly kept to himself, it was interesting to hear him tell me about this one time he had had to fly back right after completing a job. It meant he boarded, still dressed in his work clothes with their marks of hard labour. Trades are a more reliable field these days, and so he always makes a point to fly business class. This time however, his seat mate felt the need to question him, even asking outright if he was “certain” her was in the right seat.
What made the story particularly entertaining was that this young buck then went on to start bragging about his salary, which turned out to be less than the tradesman he was trying to impress. He was so convinced that him in a suit and tie had to be better off in multiple ways than someone wearing the clothes of a workman.
The stopover in Calgary was pretty quick, as was the flight the rest of the way to Abbottsford. I arrived so late at night that the car rental place was closed. I had to spend the night in the city before I could continue on my way. Between it being Victoria Day weekend, not to mention the touristy nature of the area, and my own limited finances, I ended up at a motel called the Alpine Inn.
Don’t be fooled by the potentially picturesque name. The locals call the area where this motel exists “Scabby Abby” and while I didn’t witness any scabs – picket line crossing or otherwise, I can sort of see why. The Inn advertised Wi-Fi – which didn’t work – as well as Cable TV – which also didn’t work. The Piece de Resistance though had to be when I discovered several hairs in the sheets.
Still it’s all worth it to be here, in this province that feels more like home to me than places I’ve lived.