Can I still speak French?
Will my back get better if I don’t shovel snow for a while?
Am I a French in Canada or a Canadian in France?
I have plenty of time to reflect—I’ve been stuck in Montreal airport for 24 hours by now. And I’ve just decided to splurge on a Wi-Fi access code (can you believe we have to pay for Wi-fi in this bloody airport???) hence the live update.
It all started about a month ago as a joke. Although I usually go visit my parents in France every year, Feng has never come along. At first, we couldn’t afford an extra plane ticket, then we operated a business so one of us had to stay in Ottawa, then we both had side jobs and couldn’t take time off, etc. Conclusion, Feng has never met my parents… and we’re married!
This winter, we finally decided to go to France together. Trust me, my parents couldn’t believe it—they almost suspected Feng didn’t actually exist and that I had made up a boyfriend/husband. It had been a while since my last visit in September 2006. We booked the tickets about a month ago and we are supposed to be in France from February 25 to March 27. That is, if the fucking plane ever takes off.
Flashback to yesterday (Sunday) afternoon. We packed everything (a 16 kg backpack for me, Feng only carries 12 kg) and took the 3 pm Greyhound bus to Montreal. We arrived the airport at 5 p.m. We dropped off the two backpacks right away, then went through security, took off our shoes and turned on electronic equipment after throwing away bottles of water as instructed and we started waiting at the gate. Many bags of Doritos and half a book later, I realized it wasn’t going to be a smooth trip.
The plane was supposed to leave at 9:45 pm. At 7 pm, we were told it was delayed with a new planned departure at 11:30 pm. Then, we learned the plane was cancelled. Or rather, that it was “cancelé” in québécois.
We had to go downstairs to “Arrivals” to pick up the luggage as if we were indeed arriving from the shortest international trip ever. Then we went through immigration and customs. Once free, we walked to the Zoom airlines counter where a bunch of angry French women were already yelling at the employee.
Problem, solution. All passengers were now staying at a hotel by the airport instead of flying to France. I’m not sure how big the cancelled flight was, but there had to be at least 200 passengers now going to the hotel. We were told to wait outside the airport for the shuttle, which turned out to be a large SUV and it took dozens of trips to take all of us to the hotel. Of course, by the time we got there, the hotel was full. We were lucky though, we had the last room…. but they didn’t have a key for it, so every time we needed to get in we had to call the manager and his master key.
The next day, we woke up around 9:00 and all gathered in the lobby. We were sent to the airport once again with the can’t carry-more-than-six-passengers-at-the-time shuttle.
We were told the plane would leave at 6 pm. It’s now 6 pm and last time we checked, the plane was actually delayed again—new departure time, 11:50 pm. We were granted two $15 food vouchers (cheap bastards!) and didn’t get any other info.
I really hope we’re gonna leave tonight. I’m exhausted and so is Feng, we’re dirty, hungry and well, quite sick of all the BS.
Now, next time, if you’re nice, I’ll tell you more about French women (are they really that sexy?), French workers (are they really always on strike?), French politics (is the President really that stupid?) and French society (have French realized they’re not the centre of the world anymore?).