So we’ve touched down here in Canada. Here’s what I’ve logged since we left Changi:
Our flight was out of T3 at 5:35am in the morning, which means we reached Changi (by cab. It was slightly under $30 from Bishan) at 3:30am. The cab driver was really fast about it, and got to the airport in about 15 minutes.
Grabbed a bite from the BK there – there are really little food options in T3! At least stuff seems to be open round the clock. The BK staff at Terminal 3 were pretty slow and incompetent and there were only 3 types of sandwiches that could be prepared at 3am (all chicken).
On board SIN -> HKG:
United actually served fried carrot cake with shrimp for breakfast. We tried that (it was weird) and had the more regular scrambled egg option. Their breakfasts are not bad but still taste like airplane food :S
On board HKG -> O’Hare
Lunch was stewed beef and mashed potatoes, and the chicken option was really weird. I don’t much like the food on United.
We lost the Trafalgar traveller’s wallet at HKG containing our passports and tickets; actually we only left it about 3 feet behind where we were seated waiting for our flight – at the internet kiosk (which is utterly useless because you can’t log in to gmail/facebook there without going through a bunch of security tests. I have no idea what number I gave to gmail to register as my first number. They made me identify my friends, and zhi hao’s ID photos are really hilarious. Anyhow some guy found it at the desk and returned it to the United desk so all was good! Anyway our passports are biometric so pretty much useless for anyone else.
Breakfast on board HKG -> OHR was beef fried noodles – weird! Tasted like american noodles. I think real american food is much better.
So we deplaned at O’Hare at 12:20pm with boarding time for our Toronto flight at 12:40pm. It doesn’t take a genius to tell we weren’t gonna make it, but the person at customs continued to assure us that we had plenty of time. What a crock of bs. This is one thing I really don’t understand about the Chicago airport – why do I have to go through customs if I’m not staying in your country? Same as the HKG airport, but HKG had the decency to keep it short. Here’s another thing I learnt in the HKG airport – they check your bags twice, even though you just came from a freaking plane, and have obviously been checked before that. The arrivals are one floor below the departures, so even though you’re reboarding the same plane, you have to get off and go through their checks. It’s not customs though. And then at the departure gate they check you again (where we misplaced our traveller’s wallet), and if you happen to buy a bottled drink inbetween they make you throw it away before boarding. One wonders what will happen if you buy alcohol at duty free. At Chicago, you have to go through customs. Even though you are not going to the US and are just transiting to Toronto. Speaking of which, why do planes to Toronto depart in the domestic airport and not the international one? It’s ridiculous! Anyway if you want to enter the country illegally all you need to do is to buy a ticket to Toronto and transit at Chicago and then get out at Chicago and go wherever you like.
Anyway obviously we didn’t make the connection because of the damned bags that took forever to arrive on the conveyor belt. So a 1 hr 32 min layover became a 3 hr 32 minute layover. We had a sausage and pepperoni deep dish pizza (real pepperoni! And not beef pepperoni)
with a couple of seafood rangoons from Manchu Wok. I never thought those would grow on me but I like them pretty alright now! Couldn’t believe a chinese restaurant would stock any cream cheese products in the past. They were only $5+ with a drink but they accepted my check card – I love cashless societies. There’s no M&T atm anywhere around here, that’s for sure. I’ve actually really missed American food (hence our automatic embracing of crab rangoons and thick crust pizzas). Even the airport ones are alright.
At 4:10, the flight gate handler announced and oversales of our flight. Our tickets happened to be the sort that read *** for the gate and *** for the seat number, i.e. they were unassigned, even though I sort of demanded for seats when they rebooked us to Toronto. The person at the counter handling united screw-ups said there “definitely were seats” but the one at the gate said they were overbooked. The lesson in all this is not to trust a single thing airport ticket agents say. Nobody really volunteered to leave the flight even though $400 vouchers were offered. In the end another connecting flight missed their 4:18pm connection so we managed to get 2 seats on that plane. They were sending a freaking Embraer to Toronto. Isn’t Toronto a big city? The plane was arranged such that one side was single seats, the other side was pairs of seats. It’s even smaller than the planes that fly into Ithaca. So while they had a tube thing from O’Hare to this cute little toy plane, we had to deplane onto steps at Toronto because all the gates were full when we reached – is that even a thing?
Everything that was possible to screw up really got screwed up – I was hugely stressed about not getting a seat on the 4:18pm plane because I don’t like the idea of Liangze driving in the dark from Pearson to Waterloo at all. On potentially snowy roads. It wasn’t too bad, we made it to Waterloo in under an hour and the highways and freeways were dry. Currently I’m putting our Colorado and Boston addresses into the GPS we picked up from Target on our second night in Waterloo, after all the festivities at the university club. It’s a Tom Tom, which even the Target salesperson didn’t really push on us, because he’s a Garmin guy, and technically so are we, but the Tom Tom has worked out pretty well for us so far I think. Just that you kinda need to know exact addresses, or else find points of interest near you only after you’ve reached a place.
More on UWaterloo next!