Getting There Is Only Half The Fun

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La Maison Pas

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?).

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About Author

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

24 Comments

  1. Wow. That sucks. Good thing you have one full month of travel. If that were one week of travel, then it would really suck to have one day shaved off it.

    Why is Zoom Airlines canceled? I don’t think the weather was the cause. That’s the thing with charter airlines, they’re unpredictable…

    Hopefully, your vacation goes well this time. By the way, you kept referring to Feng. Who is s/he?

    Linguist-in-Waiting’s last blog post..The Reality of Pay

  2. i saw an adult movie from france once…i didn’t understand anything.

    oh well.

    I will have to visit France and/or Canada (the French side) someday.

    sir jorge’s last blog post..Michael Clayton Dvd Review

  3. Hi Zhu,
    Oh, what am I doing?
    You’ve gone through all the difficulties and I’m sitting back here laughing, I’m sorry Zhu, the only blog which makes me laugh is yours, I really like the way you put your experiences into words.
    Anyway, I’m sorry for what you’ve been through.
    Hmm..I wonder if anybody has used before that room without the key..

    Zunnur is still away 🙂

    zunnur’s last blog post..When I was away

  4. Another crazy travelling experience? These things are never easy for you. At least you aren’t being delayed due to a U.S. bombing campaign. Or maybe you are. I can’t keep up with who we are bombing these days.

  5. Holy crap. I don’t believe I’ve ever gone though that much hell at an airport … tell us when you arrive!!

    Ghosty’s last blog post..The Advancement of Culture (conclusion)

  6. Wow, sorry to hear about your odyssey. I once spent 37 hours trying to get from Chicago to Regina, SK and as a result, I feel a deeply emotional bond with the Minneapolis / St. Cloud airport.

    But on to French women: I don’t know how sexy they are as compared to, let’s say, British or Chinese women en masse, but I know that the French language is perhaps the most beautiful that I’ve ever heard. Italian comes in a close second. Chinese, as you might imagine, ranks wayyyy down the list. Just above German.

    Anyway, please give my regards to all the French girls (and all the people who make charcuteries in France amazing) and better luck to you and Feng with the rest of your trip!!!

    Gary’s last blog post..This is but one reason why I absolutely must see Allison Krauss & Robert Plant in concert

  7. Salut Zhu,

    T’es en Europe maintenant? Mon Dieu j’ai du mal á croire 😉 ! Alors, comment ça va: tes parents et Feng?
    La France me manques tellement…il fait beaucoup de temps depuis que je y ai etait!

    Back to airport episode: what a bloody nightmare! I can’t believe it…you had to pay for wifi connection? Ça fait honte á voir lol…*nodding*…I don’t think we charge it here; wait..I don’t think our airport has it yet lol *nodding*…but MacDonald’s does and it is for free lol…

    I wish you the best holiday month here in Europe: Welcome back!!! 🙂

    Je t’embrace

    Max Coutinho’s last blog post..About Satan…

  8. What a mess on for you! I had enough trouble being stuck in an airport for 4 hours but it certainly sounds like you two have had a right old ordeal! All you want to do is go and see you parents – it isn’t that much of an ask is it!?

    I hope that you manage to get there eventually and hopefully have an uninterrupted flight back with no problems – you deserve it!

    Oh and by the way from my understanding and my French teacher (who is indeed French) French workers are always on strike 😉 .

    Anyway good luck and have a nice time 🙂 .

    Aidan L’s last blog post..Earthquake in England?

  9. @Linguist-in-Waiting – I’m still not sure why the flight was canceled… apparently, stuck in Toronto because of some mecanical problems. Lucky us, we got another plane!

    @Spyder – We made it!

    @Froggywoogie – Thank you! I wasn’t in the plane when I got your email/ comment but I now am home. 😉

    @sir jorge – French movies aren’t usually made to be understood.

    @silverneurotic – I did!

    @diesel – Yeah… surprising too considering it’s *only* a Transatlantic!

    @Art – I absolutely hate Montreal airport now!

    @zunnur – It’s fine to laugh, I actually laughed too, it was so unexpected and weird! Hope to see you back blogging soon!

    @Mme. Meow – We made it and food is good. I sampled way too many stuffs in one day!

    @Johnada – Yep, another one! I used to fly through Philadelphia when I first moved to Canada and eventually stopped because going through the US customs was way to annoying. I got sick of being yelled at mostly.

    @Ghosty – I’m here, I made it! 😉

    @Gary – I do feel some kind of bond with Montreal airport and I know it so well… yet I’ll prob. avoid it for the rest of my life! 😆 I’ll have charcuterie and will try to check girls out for you. Doing my best at least!

    @DianeCA – It was hell but hey, we’re laughing about it now! More about France tomorrow I promise 😉

    @Max Coutinho – Oui, je suis là! Tout se passe bien, même si on n’est arrivé que mardi soir au lieu de lundi… happens! More to come about the adventure!

    @Shantanu – Oh, I’ll compete with you for the food posts now! At least for a month 😉

    @Aidan L – It was a lot more difficult to get there than I thought it would, but believe me or not, the train workers weren’t on strike and we were on time! Amazing, isn’t it? Just the plane was screwed up!

  10. thanks for the comment; recommend a french film for me, and I’ll watch it.

    The last one i say i think was “Love Me If You Dare” about a couple of romantics that go back and forth daring each other to proof their love…i think it was french…not sure.

    OH wait! CQ was set in France…maybe that counts.

    sir jorge’s last blog post..Aqua Teen Hunger Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters Dvd Review For Blog X On The Internet

  11. Oh poor you! I’ve never been on a plane for at least 17 years, i think. imagine that!

    So can you understand Quebec French? Is it really different from Standard French? I think the Canadian version has more English influences, ya?

    Happy holidays back home! I really really wish to visit there one day. Hopefully I can win a trip there in some contests, heehee!

    kyh’s last blog post..Gone rural

  12. That is so crazy stupid!!!! How on earth did they expect to shuttle you all to a hotel in an SUV? What were they thinking of. You must have been sooo frustrated.

    I look forward to reading all about your experiences in beautiful France.

    Have a very happy time!!!!

    Graham’s last blog post..March Photography Challenge

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