Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Living: Official arrival in Montreal November 2015

     So  I  got  off the plane with a pounding sinus headache and I  felt  like  I was going to faint.  I had my backpack on, my small purse, a big jacket from the company Columbia  with a faux fur  trim on the hood, and  my rolling carry  on luggage.  I  approach the ascending escalator and I freeze.  "Really!",  I thought.  This  is  the  second  time today  I  don't  know  what  to do with an escalator.  I  kept  looking at it moving and it seemed so fast, I  put my rolling carry on the moving step  and away it went  so  I step on after it.  I  chalk up the escalator weirdness to slow brain function due to sinus headache  and  I'll  leave  it  at  that.  Once  I approached the top of the escalator  I was cool.  Then  I realized  that  the  walk to  customs  was long.  The  head  for  pounding the nausea was coming and  I  just  knew I  had to press on.  Get to customs was my goal.  I saw an airport worker  and  asked desperately, "Is there any water here?"  "No," was the reply, "You'll  have to  wait  to you get through customs."  "Really!  Really!"  I shouted in my head.  "Thank you," I replied and  moved on feeling weak and like  my head was going to  explode.  I  know  it  was all  going to be ok, if  I just moved on and  acted  like  a trooper. 
   RESTROOMS.  Yeah,  a mini oasis.  I  entered.  It was a small  restroom with three stalls. Yes, the  first stall  was  empty.  I took  what seemed  like forever in there. Everything was like in slow motion and when I reappeared on the other side of the door a  line had formed. Faces were staring at me as I opened the door.  Back to the mission, get through the customs line.
     I saw a  group of over 80  people in front of me rushing to customs.  I guess their  plane  just arrived.  I step on a moving sidewalk.  I  just  stood  there, letting the sidewalk do all the work.  I saw a small child giving his mother a hard time by not following her.  I said aloud, just loud enough for him to hear," I am going to turn in the dinosaur on your backpack and I am going to eat you."  The child  ran as fast as he could to his mother.  Headache induced shock value  tactics, maybe.
     Customs.  Finally in sight and I was fading fast. I just need to taste  water and I will be fine.  As  I get to the bottom to actually enter  the queue, a lady guides my section to the shortcut  line. Yes, I was loving me some shortcut right about now since I totally needed it.  The line was the manual line.  You didn't  have to use the machine or fill  out the questionnaire.  Bonus.  It was my turn to go to the counter and I was feeling pretty green and apparently  I was looking it also.  The  customs agent  asked if  I needed emergency help.  I said, "No,  I'll  be find once  I get  some water."  She  directed me to a water fountain in immigration.  I walked to the office that was empty located right behind the customs desk  and  drink from the water fountain. First a sip and  then  I  drank to hold as much as I could in my mouth.   I walked out the sliding glass doors with the water still  in my mouth. I still needed to go claim my luggage.
     What another escalator! I stood at the top and told  myself you really need to figure this out.  I awkwardly placed my carry on luggage on the step  and  it  started  moving quickly  away and again  I  stepped on to chase after it.  "This is  ridiculous!." I thought. "How could I forget how to use an escalator?"  That being the least of my problems and I remembered that my head was pounding.  At the bottom, I saw the information monitor .  The carousel numbers for the arriving flights are there.  I walked  to carousel  number 7.  People were gathered around the snakelike conveyor belt.  Within a few minutes I saw my luggage. Happy because this meant I was closer to the outside where I could get a bottle of water.  Mission: focus and get water.
     I  walked through customs and something familiar, the STM machine.  I did not  however recognize the rest of the airport.  I purchased my bus ticket and  then went over to the bus counter and asked how to get to the bus. She said to the right. She  pointed to a corridor  and  I looked  in the direction of  her finger.  Then  I asked about water.  She  said  there was a water fountain down there as well.  Then  I saw the words " Mrs. Fields" in bright red neon lights.  "Is  that a mini  market?", I  thought.  I  walked inside.  I  saw the  refrigerator wall with Gatorade, juice, WATER!!  glorious water.  I  grabbed an Evian and deliriously walked to the counter knocking over my luggage.  I  asked the clerk.  Do you have this unrefrigerated?  I  had walked past the  room  temperature ones. He went back  for  me  and  grabbed one from a hundred lined by in neat rows rom the  first shelf  I had passed on the way to the refrigerated section.   I  paid and opened the bottle, spilling  some water on my luggage and started drinking.  I felt  a little better just  knowing  I had access to water that  I could  drink.  I  started heading for the bus. I put the cap on the bottle and dragged myself and my things to the bus that was waiting there on the curb.
   On the bus, my  head  was pounding.  I  was trying to hold off the  nausea  so, I kept drinking water.  I was taking a moment, focusing on my breath and  blowing my nose a lot.  Okay  I  can do  this  I  thought.  "Next stop  six," the  bus  driver  said and  stopped  only  a few seconds  later to pick up a man.  "Next stop seven," the  bus driver announced.  I  blurted out, "What  that was six?"  "I just missed my  stop, can you drop me off here." The  bus driver replied with a firm," No."  Now  I  calculating  how much  further I  would  have  to  walk in the  cold  with this headache, dragging my luggage.  Really  doesn't  matter, I  am  just  going to have to do it.  As the bus driver steered the bus to the curb to stop, I gathered my bookbag, my purse, and  my two  pieces of luggage.  I stepped off the bus and onto the sidewalk.  It was dark and cold and  I  knew  I  just  had  to keep moving.
     Strapping the grey 17.5 pond carry on bag on top of  the lighter black checked luggage with a new green and blue luggage strap was a difficult  task  for  me.  Why  was  I  not  getting this?  Oh  I am tired, have a headache, and  now I  am  cold.  I  managed to get the two  pieces of  lugguage  to  merge into one unit  so  I  would  only  have  to grab onto  one  handle  to  navigate  the  streets.  Immediately  I looked a few feet ahead on my  on the sidewalk and I started to move forward.  I  saw several cracks in the  cement pavement, it  looked like the  end  of  the sidewalk  would  just  fall  in  the  street it  was so  badly  cracked.  No  use thinking about it, just  navigate  around  it.
     I had  to  walk an  extra  3to  4 blocks to  make  up the distance of the two bus  stops.  As  I  got  closer  to  figuring out where I was  I  decided  to turn  up  Phillips.  Ahead of  my  I  saw empty wooden benches in a courtyard of a church.  I  decided  to  stop and  tie  my boots  and  close  my  eyes  and  take a deep breath.   When  I  opened  my  eyes,  I  noticed  it  right  away.  My  sinus  headache  was instantly gone.  Like  it  just  dissipated out of  my  forehead.  So  happy,  I  turned to  walk up  Phillips Street  and  saw  the Christmas lights and  the  people gathering  to  go  out for the night  and  the area  was  all  a glow.  I  officially  arrived in  Montreal at  that  moment.

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