Here’s a taste…

The gentleman behind the airline counter, located approximately 20 feet from me, is the hottest thing I’ve seen since I’ve crossed the Canadian border. Dressed in his finest WestJet attire, sporting a leather messenger bag and a gruff beard, he looks as sharp as a Harvard Law student. He speaks now, “Hello, everybody. Welcome to WestJet Airlines. This is our first boarding call for flight 540 to Ottawa, Ontario. We will now board seats 24-30, so please have your ticket and photo ID ready for checking. Thank you.”

I watch him as I gather my things to prepare for my next flight. I haven’t been in Calgary more than 45 minutes before getting on the next plane. Quickly, I make my way to the ticket counter, ticket and photo ID in hand.

“Hello,” he smiles through his young whiskers. I hand him my driver’s license and after first glance, he asks, “Washington?”

“Yes…” I chuckle a bit at what he must be thinking. “Seattle, actually.”

He smiles a bit wider, rips my ticket and hands them both back to me, “Carly.” He pauses. “Thank you for flying with us.”

This morning at 5:15 AM, after hugging my brother and father “goodbye”, I took the shuttle bus from the hotel to Vancouver International Airport. With me, I had several pieces of luggage. My laptop bag and backpack would accompany me on the plane. But I also brought my guitar and a huge case full of clothes and miscellaneous necessities. Those I checked in Vancouver.

I love airports. They are perfect for people-watching and unique experiences. I love the culture and the diversity that comes with going to an airport. And today has been no different.

Now, while I love airports and enjoy traveling, being in the air tends to make me a bit sick. I’ve traveled by car, ship, and train, but none of them make me feel quite so ill like airplanes do. When the lady at the ticket counter asked me if I’d like an aisle or window seat, I promptly said, “Aisle.” In the past when I’ve had a window seat, I fear I may have ruined the flight for those sitting next to me due to how often I had to use the lavatory.

So I took my aisle seat this morning, put my laptop bag in the overhead compartment and stuffed my backpack underneath the seat in front of me. Making myself comfortable, I watched as the rest of the passengers boarded the plane, while waiting patiently for the two others who would take the seats next to me.

A very nice flight attendant patrolled the plane, checking to make sure no one was using their mobile phones and that every tray was put in its upright position. As she passed me, she spotted by backpack jutting out a bit too far behind the seat.

“Would you mind pushing your bag all the way under the seat there, love?” She spoke with a British accent. It didn’t matter what she said; everything sounded like a song.

“Absolutely,” I said, readjusting the bag.

“Thank you very much. Just squish it on down there,” she smiled and proceeded down the aisle.

By the time she left, a man came to take the seat next to me. He wore a business suit and a long black pea coat. He put his bag and coat in the overhead and took the seat next to me. I adjusted myself to give him enough room. After we both settled in, he asked me, “So where’re you headed?”

“Ottawa,” I replied. I have always felt that conversation is a great way to pass the time.

“Oh really?” The man pulled out a comb and used it to part his tresses. He looked like a stockbroker to me.

“Yes. Where are you going?” I asked.

“Winnipeg.” He put the comb away.

“Oh, neat. Where is that?”

At this, he laughed heartily and looked at me. But he quickly realized I was serious and he felt a bit awkward. His face was asking, You really don’t know?

I realized that every Canadian must know where Winnipeg is and decided to clarify, “Well, I’m American. I really don’t know Canadian geography.”

“Oh… Oh…” The man laughed a little and sat back in his seat. My question appeared to make him a little edgy. So I decided not to press for an answer.

My flight to Calgary, Alberta, was no longer than an hour. And neither was the layover. I was able to make a quick run through the airport before making my way back to Gate D48 to admire the sexy Alberta man who would rip my ticket. There is a very interesting feature in the Calgary airport and they are the large toy airplane mobiles that reach halfway to the ceiling, which is pretty high. At first glance, I thought they were indoor carnival rides for the small children who may fly in and out of the airport. But they were, in fact, large model airplanes swung from a large centerpiece; merely a decoration.

We have just passed over a large area known as “The Prairie”, located in the Alberta province. We’ve been in the air for a little more than an hour. This plane is less crowded than the one this morning. There is an empty seat between an older man and me. He currently sits reading his Canadian newspaper by the window light.

Just a moment after the plane lifted from the ground, he said, “The room here is nice.”

“Yes, it is,” I smiled.

“You wouldn’t mind if I put my paper in this seat, would you?” He rested the paper in the empty seat.

I shook my head. “Oh, no. That’s just fine.”

After a moment, I continued to try for conversation. “It’s nice because we won’t have to fight for elbow space.”

“Exactly.” He is a older man, with white hair and hairy arms. He wears a sweater vest and a bow tie and his prescription glasses hang around his neck.

I felt a bit anxious so I asked, “Would you happen to know the time?”

Rotating his wrist, he looked. “It’s 10:10.”

“Okay. That must be Calgary time.”

“No no… That’s Vancouver time. You were on the same flight as me coming from Vancouver.”

The seat I was assigned in Vancouver was the same for my flight out of Calgary. Since we were both coming from Vancouver, I found it interesting that I didn’t remember him. But I couldn’t have because he obviously wasn’t assigned the same seat as the other flight.

“Oh! You’re coming from Vancouver too? I don’t remember seeing you.”

“I was in the seat behind this one,” he smiled. “And you’re very pretty, so it was easy to remember your face.”

“Oh… Thank you,” I blushed. “What was your name?”

“I’m Dick.”

“I’m Carly.”

And we’ve been sitting here, chatting off and on ever since. He’s still reading his newspaper and I’m documenting my travels in hopes to pass the time. Presently, it’s 10:39 AM Pacific time and I won’t arrive to Ottawa until approximately 1:10 PM. Still have a ways to go.

But thus far, I’d say I’ve had a fabulous start. I’ve met a very nice man who knows a lot about Canada and the cookies they’ve handed out have been really tasty. But as usual, it’s really just the beginning.

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