How the Cookie Crumbles

Life and scribbles on the far side of SIXTY-FIVE


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Rocky Mountaineer: An Unexpected Bonanza

Time to leave this little piece of heaven. The sun leaned low and bright, too hot to wait outside for the arrival of our bus. Some people wore jackets. Why? (unless they ran out of space in their bags—a longshot?). I’m usually the lone chicken in the crowd who complains I’m cold.

The short bus arrived (also called a minibus). Mary and I, and one other female boarded. Goodbye, sensational Lake Louise; goodbye spectacular mountains. No, we weren’t done with them yet. They followed us all the way to Banff, the young lady’s stop.

Talk about luck. The original plan had been a direct transport from Lake Louise to Calgary airport. This stop was a huge bonus and not just a passing one. Banff is tiny—population under 250— about a third of the way to Calgary from Lake Louise. The driver dropped the woman off in front of her apartment. Yeah, I know. Imagine that. He had business to attend to, something about a package, and parked behind a mini-mall on the main street. He’d be back in about an hour. We had a crowded Tim Horton’s at our disposal, a gift shop, a large sitting area, a few businesses, and a substantial ladies’ washroom.

I’d heard stories of the mind-blowing mountains here and we aimed to explore. When would an opportunity like this come again? Brilliant and majestic mountains surrounded Kamloops, too, but these seemed closer.

Someone announced we were leaving. From nowhere, a handful of passengers boarded behind us, a few from the large sitting area inside the strip mall. The mountains disappeared into the horizon one by one. Once we passed the exit for Kananaski, I noticed how the landscape flattened into the level, unexciting fields, and grassland, less interesting landscape I’m used to. I’ll be the first one to confess I felt something had been snatched away from me—something that left a hole.

The traffic increased but no real congestion. As we grew closer, a couple signs for the airport popped up.

The airport was easy to maneuver, unlike the one in Toronto. I no longer remembered lunch or even breakfast. We disposed of our luggage and proceeded to check out the food situation such as it is in airports.

We had time to kill. The sun burned hot through the glass wall of windows in the waiting area. I huffed and puffed till I turned my chair around. It was heavy. Another passenger decided to redecorate as well. Though my iPad held a dense library of books, I wasn’t up to screen reading. If need be, there would be time enough on the plane. A snooze sounded enticing but not yet.

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Next on October 26th – Rocky Mountaineer: What Now?

© 2018 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

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North to Alaska: Bye-bye Vancouver

I took one last look around before we left the Lookout Tower. So much to see here. Magnificent Mount Seymour hovers over the city, regal and imposing.

On a clear day, Mount Baker exchanges salutations with Seymour though miles and miles away.

Vancouver is widely known for Chinatown, its history, food, and people.

I love Granville Island Public Market open seven days a week.  The food markets and smells, the custom crafts, artsy shops, and live music make it a fun destination on shopping day, or any day, I haven’t been there for years but it’s a definite must-visit destination while in Vancouver.

Time to kill before Jean picked us up at the Lookout, Mary and I took our time and browsed some of the shops. Even she wasn’t tempted to shop seriously. We did have the upcoming cruise and who knew what temptations might overpower our good intentions.

Spotting a jewelry store, Mary beelined toward it. I picked up my pace to catch up. She had questions about precious stones. Our timing couldn’t have been better. No customers clambering for his attention, she had the jeweler’s full attention. The impression we were a welcome distraction on this slow business morning was unmistakable. We were impressed with his in-depth and animated answers, but he soon began name-dropping: whom he skied with, sold to and with whom he’d rubbed elbows. Mary had her information and the jeweler had been entertained out of his stupor, it was time to skedaddle. Now we were bored. Time had slipped away; it was time to leave to meet Jean.

She had gone around the huge block a couple of times and had to park almost a block away. We waited on the appointed corner. She saw us and honked but we did not see her. Finally, she ran up the street to get us and we headed to the harbor, luggage already in the car trunk. Traffic slow and congested, time for boarding loomed.

No sooner had we arrived at the Port of Vancouver, our bags were tagged and carted. Port personnel indicated our way toward the building for processing. I could not believe the mindboggling long lines. One line for this ship, another for that one. Though we were nervous about getting into the wrong line, agents were plentiful and pleasant, the process was clear and well manned. Finally, inside the building, an employee directed us toward the next available seat in order of entry. The first people seated got up and approached the bank of clerks with passports and boarding information in hand. The lines moved quickly. Green cards were given to Canadian and U.S. visitors. The majority of visitors did not have them so we worried what they were for. Did they have anything to do with the two bottles of wine I had in my luggage? Allowed only one each, I had two stashed in my bag since Mary had no room for even a Kleenex in hers.

Asking a directing agent what they were, she said, “You are pre-approved.” No other explanation. We moseyed along as directed.

“Approved for what?” Mary and I eyeballed each other, following a smattering of visitors. Where had the processed masses gone? We had no time to wonder as we exited the building and gaped at the huge floating hotel we were about to board.

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Next on March 16th – North to Alaska: All Aboard!

© 2018 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles