Yesterday I started out on a little adventure. I took a trip to Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. “How lovely!” I hear you thinking. Well, it may be lovely eventually, but yesterday was a bit of an ordeal.
My first flight took me from Edmonton to Vancouver, and then an hour after I landed there I took a second flight to Nanaimo. The second flight was on a much smaller and noisier plane (a Bombardier Q400). I’m sure it was perfectly safe, but all the same I was very glad when we landed.
By that time I was very tired and hungry and, as my children will attest, I can sometimes get hangry when that happens. But, I first had to wait for my luggage to be delivered to the carousel, and then I had to wait in line for a rental car in the hot airport car rental space with glass walls like a greenhouse.
For some reason known only to the Covid gods, car rental costs have gone through the roof, and cars are hard to get. I was glad I booked ahead; not all of those in line had done so. But, thankfully, everyone was stoically polite about it, even through gritted teeth. When it was my turn, though, I was given the key to a nice new white Toyota Corolla which is costing me only slightly less than my flight and Air BnB costs put together.
I thought i wouldn’t take me long to whip down the highway, find my AirBnB, and then go out for dinner. Oh, how wrong I was.
First, it took me a while to figure out how to open the car’s trunk. Then, I couldn’t figure out why turning the key didn’t start the car. After several attempts, and after grinding my teeth a little, I figured it out.
Then I put the address of the Air BnB into Google Maps and I thought I was all set. But, no. Google Maps had lost its voice. “Why won’t you talk to me, Google?” I shouted at it. It did not respond. It had talked to me with no problem that very morning but now, when I needed it most, it had gone silent. You don’t realize how much you depend on Google Maps until you are driving an unfamiliar car in an unfamiliar city while you are hungry and tired.
I got onto the main highway but, because I didn’t have my gizmo to hold my phone on the dash, I couldn’t see the map and, as I said, it was not in a talking mood. So, I pulled into the first rest area to try to solve the problem. I fiddled with the settings, I raised the volume, I wondered if it was because I was not in my usual phone service area, I thought perhaps Apple hated me, but nothing seemed to solve the problem. So, I did the only thing I could think of and that was to try to memorize the road I needed to turn off on to and then stop again.
I did that twelve times.
Yes, I got lost in a city that only takes twenty minutes to cross end-to-end. It took me an hour. And, even when I got where I was going, I wasn’t sure I had got there. The house I was staying at didn’t have a number on the outside. The map told me I was at the right place, but I didn’t feel comfortable driving into a stranger’s driveway, taking my bags out of the trunk, and casually walking into their back door. But, that is exactly what I did. Fortunately, it was the right place and there was a key for me in the place they had told me it would be. Phew. And, to greet me, a deer bounded out of the garden beside the house! I like to think that was a good omen. I take my omens wherever I can find them.
I put my bags into the suite, and changed into some cooler clothes. (It was hot. Did I mention that?) Then I went back out to go and find some food. First, though, I had another go at getting Google Maps to talk to me, but failed. Then it dawned on me that I have another map app on my phone, and so I tried it out and right away I heard the mellifluous tones of the lovely lady whose voice animates it. I don’t know if it is Apple Maps or some other brand name because it is just called Maps on my phone. Anyway, it works and it talks. Yay! There is hope that this trip might not be a complete disaster.
In my hot, weary, cranky state, though, I had left the charger for the phone in the suite and the phone was down to about 8% power, so once I had set out I knew would have to be quick. I found the nearest grocery store, bought various food items to get me through the next twenty-four hours, bought a new gizmo to attach the phone to the dashboard, and returned to my Air BnB suite.
Once there, I realized with dismay that the suite does not have the microwave that I had anticipated when I did my shopping, so I couldn’t heat up the deli-meal I had bought. But it’s ok folks. I didn’t starve. I had a banana and a pastry for supper, and a small glass of wine. Actually, it was wine in a mug because the suite does not have any glasses, but I can adapt. It’s a vacation, after all. It will all be worth it when I finally get to see the sea. Right after I buy some wine glasses.