For some reason I booked the flight to Vancouver with Air Canada
rather than Canadian Pacific -- I think they came first in the phone book.
It seems that anyone, had I asked, would have warned me against this folly.
Peter Edick took me out to the airport, and we arrived in good time at
Terminal 2. This had been built, many years before, as a temporary
structure intended to last about 5 years. Governments being what they
are everywhere it was left standing, but the airlines all refused to use
it. Air Canada, however, are state-owned and have to do as they're told.
I bought my ticket in one place, after a long wait, and then had to go
away off to the other end of the building to unload my baggage. Fortunately
I looked at my baggage tickets, because they said WINNIPEG! Unfortunately
my bags had gone, and the woman had to telephone the other end of the
conveyor with appropriate instructions. Then I had to transfer to an airport
wheelchair because they couldn't arrange to take mine away at the last
minute as is usual. Then the place was 25 minutes late taking off - they
had a problem with the electrics. It was an uncomfortable old DC8.
Needless to say I was seated at the front of economy and the toilet was
located right at the back. The flight was very bumpy, as the pilot tried
unsuccessfully to climb above the rain. I was seated next to a young man
of about 20, who was taking his little sister, aged about 12, to a wedding.
Clutching the seats we engaged in light conversation about everything except
the weather. Had it not been for the child I would have been clutching
him. The pilot gave up climbing in the finish, and just flew through the
weather. When we finally emerged from the clouds the charming French-
Canadian steward offered the passengers free drinks. I was content with
coffee, which was served with real milk for a change.
DC8's are not terribly well pressurised, and the steep descent once
we were over the Rockies gave me such dreadful pains in the head that
I really couldn't admire the scenery. I had long since run out of the little
capsules of eucalyptus oil that Australian airlines give you for your sinuses,
and which are apparently unheard of elsewhere. To avoid the stairs I was
conducted through the bowels of Vancouver airport. I was unable to spot
Susan Wood in the crowd, so I had her paged. They sent her upstairs to
the desk, and then down again, but eventually she found me!
Susan had sensibly hired a hatchback car, and she wished it to be
recorded that she had cleaned the house especially in my honour. The house
was old but comfortable, with healthy looking plants in all the windows
-- Susan's "cat substitutes". We talked for several hours, mostly gossip about
Melbourne fandom, and I retired at the respectable hour of midnight, which
of course was the unheard-of (for me) hour of 3 a.m. Toronto time.
The next day -- Saturday -- Susan took me out to the nearest hill to
see the sights, but a layer of smog had rendered them almost invisible.
Consequently we returned to downtown Vancouver, to a part of town full
of trendy little boutiques. We ate at a place called "Mozart's" which specialized
in coffee and Viennese-style cakes and pastries. I treated myself to crab
salad and sachertorte, and then decided to visit the loo. The lights didn't
seem to be working too well, and it wasn't until I was inside the darkened
cubicle that I realised that the floor was about an inch deep in water.
It was clean I suppose, but as l was wearing gym-boots with the little
ventilation holes in them I was not pleased. As soon as I emerged a little