Misadventures with Miso

Misadventures with Miso

Friday, October 7, 2016

Oh Canada

I won't write much about the kid that was screaming, climbing over the seats, hanging in front of our video monitors, crawling down the aisle and more that was in the row in front of me. All nine hours of the flight. Or how unhelpful the customs agents were to everyone. One was downright rude to this one Japanese family. I'm not talking the usual serious look they have and I know they don't have to care at all. But this was beyond that. With no sleep I was stuck in the US Terminal at Vancouver Airport for hours before my flight to Portland. Along with the fact that it's a US Terminal but no one there will take US currency so if you want anything you either have to exchange and pay a fee just to get something from a vending machine or find a place that takes credit cards. Thought I would ask Information about it. The woman rudely laughed at me. Sorry lady but I've never been to Canada before and it's a US terminal (went through US customs even) so it's not a dumb question. Everyone working in that terminal made me never want to come back.

So with hours to wait and being extremely thirsty I ended up at Canuck's Bar and Grill. There aren't many food places in the US terminal, mostly crowded fast food sites. I was not feeling up to being jammed in with more people. I preferred a little space after nine hours of that.

Ordered an ice tea. Except only ice tea they had was sweetened. I normally don't sweeten my tea but the menu was limited. Not sure if the lemon was skewered because it was a bar and grill or if that is a thing in Canada.

Canucks signed hockey stick. I did say the name of the place was Canucks.

Even though I wasn't hungry I ended up ordering food because I was having to use my credit card. It was that or pay a big fee to exchange for a couple Canadian coins for a vending machine. The Blueberry french toast with real Canadian maple syrup wasn't bad and service at Canucks was decent.

Since there wasn't much to see in the US part of the terminal and I couldn't leave because then I would have to go through customs to go out and then again to come back in, I finished the one book I brought with me and accidentally fell asleep for about an hour. Flight back to Portland was good, excellent volcano viewing again. Mount St Helens from the air is amazing. Got my cats from the nice boarding lady, Kenji hollered the whole drive home.

Just want to say that I am sure Canada and most Canadians are very nice. Just don't think I will ever connect through that airport ever again.

So some final thoughts on my trip. Really stood out how Tokyo is so not ready for foreigners. While the JR Rail cars are good with providing station information, other private lines are badly lacking (Hibiya Line I'm looking at you). Some cars have no video screens. Announcements are only in Japanese and so low it's difficult to hear. When the cars get crowded it's impossible to see out the windows as to what station you are at. Narita Airport was pretty difficult to navigate this time even though I've been there before. They have a lot to do to prepare for the Olympics. The heat and humidity at that time is pretty extreme and a lot of people won't be use to it. I know after experiencing it.

There were good things.
meeting friend
getting to see new beautiful Moi meme Moitie & gothic clothing in person
finding surprises while wandering around
Japanese food (Hiroshima okonomiyaki definite highlight)
getting umami readjusted especially with katsuobushi
vending machines (can't count how many bottles of water I drank. it was a lot)
watching baseball (go Carp!)
riding trains

So compared to my other trips I have to say this was better than the March 2011 (no nuclear radiation to worry about). But it was difficult and there were places I didn't get to and others I wish I could have spent more time at. So I'm back to thinking about what I can fix. Also wanting to go to more concerts/lives. So back to hoping I can experience another trip to Japan or some place interesting.

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