Friday, October 23, 2015

Day 1: Separate Vacations

You hear about it as couples grow tired of one another - choosing to take separate vacations.  It's been over a year now that Mindy and I have been dating, so I guess it's only reasonable to expect that we would start getting tired of one another's company.  Consequently, as Mindy got ready to fly to Paris after work today, I packed my bags for a trip to Montreal!

I worked from the Via train as it trundled through Ottawa and then onward to Montreal (I opted for the circuitous route in order to get in a full day's worth of work on the train).  Once I got to Montreal, I started my crazy adventure as a single man on vacation! I headed to Montreal airport to (ahem) join Mindy in Paris. Mindy got us deals on flights, but it required that we travel through different airports. After dropping her off at work this morning, the next time I will see her is in Paris. How often does one get to say: "See you in Paris!"?

Like any good Via trip, mine was uneventful. Pretty forgettable, aside from three moments of full attention:

1. As we approached Odessa, I looked out the window and saw a football-field sized solar array to the north of the tracks.  I hadn't thought the outskirts of Kingston were a stronghold of green energy...?

2. I had to get involved in a rather frustrating issue with work. Whatever.  Good thing I'm off the next two weeks!

3. Mindy and I were interviewed over the phone by Ned Morgan, Editor of Mountain Life Magazine, regarding a photo spread of us that will be published in the winter edition.  Very cool!! 

Part of the deal Mindy got us on the flights was an upgrade to Business class. While the service, seat, and food on the plane are the bulk of the upgrade, the Maple Leaf Lounge (in both Pearson and Montreal airports) turned out to be a major perk!  The free food and open bar are great to get ready for a flight (where, in Business class, there is a virtually endless supply of food and booze). I feasted on quinoa salad, kale salad, roasted root vegetables, cookies, and far too much port as I caught up on some work and explored tours from Munich and Frankfurt. Not a bad life!

Eventually, I made my way to the plane, bypassing the crowds of plebeians waiting their turn.  Having seen photos of Mindy's Business class setting - individual pods and mood lighting, I was a little underwhelmed to see mine - "merely" a spacious seat that folds flat for sleeping, a large monitor for entertainment, and a glass of sparkling wine to help me get settled.

The food and booze continued unabated pretty much the duration of the flight. I actually wanted a reprieve so I could get some sleep! (Unfortunately, the excess of alcohol didn't help me sleep, as hoped.  It just made me feel funny when lying down on the plane....) As I drifted in and out of sleep, I was vaguely aware that I was counting down the hours until this European odyssey. 

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