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.