Nantes to Ottawa: Thoughts from the Greyhound Bus


“A man! My Daddy! I go like that with my hands! I have to put this up and look out of the window! Everybody has two lights—oh my Goodness! That’s funny! Two lights… and two lights… Mommy, I want a light too! Five… and six persons. Not one. I’m three, but I’m…”

If Mark suddenly starts sounding like a Pink Floyd song, don’t look for a hidden meaning or the name of the drug he took. He is just overtired, and so am I.

It’s 7 p.m. Montreal time, but it’s 2 a.m. in France and none of us slept in the plane. As I’m writing this, we are sitting in the Ottawa-bound Greyhound bus that should have left half an hour ago. I’m exhausted too, I wish I could sleep but it’s probably a bad idea because I will feel even worse when I wake up two hours later, in Ottawa. So I’m writing. Go figure.

Mark is sitting by my side and he find it hilarious. He finds everything hilarious right now, like a stoner suddenly finds his bedroom/his hand/the sky fascinating.

“There are no seat belts… be careful.”

Okay, Mark is wise even when he is tired. I couldn’t care less about the lack of seat belts in the bus. I just want the damn bus to actually leave the airport. Gosh, what’s taking so long?

Everything is taking so long…

The TAN bus from Commerce to Nantes’ airport was efficient. It left on time and less than twenty minutes we joined the giant lineup of people checking in for Montreal on Air Transat. But even then, we didn’t wait for long.

We did wait in the lounge. We were supposed to start boarding at 1:40 p.m. but passengers were called much later. I don’t think we took off late, though, and we landed on time. Plus I scored a really cheap and really nice Nuxe gift set at the duty free shop in the waiting lounge, so I can’t complain.

The seven-hour flight felt long because none of us slept. We were hungry too and, once again, we were served the same shitty tiny sandwiches. Air Transat definitely said “au revoir” to hot meals. Not a big issue per se, but it’s still a transatlantic flight and you can’t really travel with your own snacks.

I finished watching Deadpool (I missed the end on the way to France) then I got into Mr. Robot, a new (newish?) series. I kind of like it. I wish I could find a series I’m looking forward to watching every week, like I enjoyed Friends in high school, or House, M.D. a few years ago. Maybe I got old but I can’t find anything cool these days. Game of Thrones isn’t for me—I don’t like fantasy and I’m not a big fan of “historical” settings.

Eventually, we landed. And apparently, half of the world landed at the same time, because the immigration control hall was completely packed. Even for us, Canadian passport holders, it took a while to be cleared.

Then we waited for our backpacks… for two fucking hours. Seriously.

“Here, Mark. Take a sip.”

I’m drugging him with my Coke Zero. Mark can’t believe his luck.

“Where the fuck is our bus driver?” Feng sighed.

No idea. We still haven’t left the airport. It’s 7:08 p.m.

Anyway, the luggage. Montreal’s airport kind of screwed up the process. Bags were being delivered on the carousel, but since most passengers (presumably tourists) were stuck at border control, they weren’t being picked up, so the same bags were going round and round until an employee set them aside. They did it for the Beijing flight, then the Frankfurt flight. Meanwhile, bags from various French cities started to arrive sporadically.

Then we had to queue for the final custom check. Fuck me.

Actually, don’t fuck me. I look like crap right now. Mind you, so does Feng, so…

“Eh, we are leaving! Bye bye airport! I say bye bye to airport!”

Okay, the Greyhound bus is finally heading toward the freeway.

“See you tomorrow, airplane!”

Over my dead body. Seriously, Mark, we aren’t flying everyday.

“Bye bye, trees! Bye bye, flowers! Bye bye, signs! Bye bye, flowers!”

I’ll break the news to him sooner or later, along with the fact he has to go back to school.

Not tonight, though.

Mark in Montreal, waiting for our bags

Mark in Montreal, waiting for our bags

Waiting for our bags

Waiting for our bags

Plane at the gift shop at Montreal PET Airport

Plane at the gift shop at Montreal PET Airport

Waiting for the Greyhound bus at Montreal PEI Airport

Waiting for the Greyhound bus at Montreal PEI Airport

Feng boarding the Greyhound bus to Ottawa

Feng boarding the Greyhound bus to Ottawa

Mark being silly when boarding the Greyhound bus to Ottawa

Mark being silly when boarding the Greyhound bus to Ottawa

Mark being silly when boarding the Greyhound bus to Ottawa

Mark being silly when boarding the Greyhound bus to Ottawa

In the Greyhound bus to Ottawa

In the Greyhound bus to Ottawa


About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.


    • Thank you!

      Yep, I made the mistake of talking about school when we came back from Brazil last winter… turned out this perspective wasn’t an happy one for Mark 😆

  1. Mark is looking super cute 🙂

    I had the same notion before I watched GOT (Game of Thrones); I love it, read all the books and watched all seasons (the last one, which drifted away from the books and technically advanced in the story, was merde!). Try first episode, and I have a feeling you will like it.

    We also watched Stranger Things on Netflix; loved the show!

    Have you ever watched Frasier?

  2. Martin Penwald on

    Welcome back. From what I see, the weather in Eastern Canada is still warm (already some tenperature around 0° in Red Deer 2 weeks ago).

    There is already one complete season of Mr. Robot (12 or 13 episodes), and the second season started in June, it should be almost finished by now, but I have only seen the first one.
    I liked it, even if there is some gruesome moments. And avoid any discussion about it, big risk of spoilers (even just checking the Wikipedia page can be problematic). But Rami Malek is awesome as the anxious drug addict Elliot and Christian Slater in the role of the anarchist Mr. Robot.
    Moreover, the technical part is relatively correct, which is noticeable.

    • Yep, I glanced at the Wikipedia page… major spoilers :-/ Ooops. Oh well, that’s fine, I think I’m still going to watch season 1. I found the acting believable as well as the technical part (from what I can see as a nonexpert). This is rare enough for a series to be noticed.

      Anything else you watched and enjoyed?

      • Utopia, a BBC show with a dark and somewhat unhealthy background, violent and creepy.
        Luther, from the BBC too, starring Idriss Elba as DCI Luther, of which I probably already talked.
        Sherlock, with Benedict Cumberbatch, again from the BBC, and another another another version of Sherlock Holmes, but the main actor and Watson the hobbit are great.
        And maybe Lucifer.I have only seen one épisode, but there was some interesting ideas.

  3. Try Orphan Black. Tatiana Maslany is from my city, Regina, Saskatchewan, and she is amazing.

    I remember when I was a child going back to school was something that i dreaded. Summers used to last forever until I learned to tell time. Suddenly I knew how many days of freedom that I had left. I went barefoot all summer, good shoes were for school, and I hated having to wear shoes. I grew up on a farm and riding bareback on horses wasn’t too pracitcal with shoes on so I didn’t have much use for them.

    Mark looks so cute and so tired. Sometimes it is best to not know what the future holds, especially when it involves school.

    • Same here, even though I actually *liked* school and I was generally a good student, I dreaded the end of the summer (and Monday mornings…). And I agree, sometimes it’s best to know what the future holds… I wish I could keep myself in the dark sometimes :-/ We adults plan too much.

  4. Mark looks so big! Also I’m a tad jealous of your bus + 7 hr flight + bus to Ottawa from Nantes… flying “home” is always such a trek for me — next time I do it will almost certainly be with a small baby. Though I shouldn’t complain, there are certainly farther places!

    • I know, we have it easy!

      Traveling with a small baby is actually easier than most people think. Seriously! I found there was a tricky stage around 1-2 years old (old enough to try to stay awake yet too young to entertain alone) but it’s not that bad.

  5. high five! I’m also the one who do not watch GOT :))
    Jon Snow ….who?
    welcome home! good luck for your scholl, King Mark.
    In Indonesia, most of the school has started mid July. only +/- 6 weeks of long break

      • Most of the school (public, private, religion-based school) start from second-third week of July, final test on early June, and Holiday on Mid June. Yes, we have shorter school break here. But we also have have Eid Holiday (it is mostly up to 3 weeks). Meh, still shorter break =))

        • Martin Penwald on

          Summer holidays in Europe and North America have been set for two months in the middle of summer initially because children could then help their parents during harvest time.
          It is probably different in Asia, culturally and meteorologically.

          • China still have a fairly long summer break, and another long break around Chinese New Year.

            Damn. I should have had Mark help with harvest in France. Totally miss the memo.

          • well, in Singpore and Malaysia, school year starts in January – December. If I’m not mistaken. But I have no idea how long the long break is.

        • Oh right, makes sense you have longer holidays for the Eid! I don’t know much about the Muslim calendar, totally forgot this major holiday 🙂

Leave A Reply