July 13th, 2009

LaA drums

Made it to Montreal!

We got an early start at 4am, which thanks to my taking a shower, repacking my stuff and a couple of other last-minute bits turned into a late departure. Thanks to shrewd choices of road on Mum's part, we made it to the baggage check line just before it opened, and way before anybody else. We had a cooked breakfast in the airport with Mum, then headed through security (they didn't even check longpig's shoes! Apparently they usually do...) and sat around waiting for our flight to board. Once our gate was open, they just ushered us straight onto a little plane, for our rather uneventful first flight.

We had an hour and a half in Charles De Galle, which, incidentally, is the other direction from where we were going. Most of that time was actually spent on buses getting to the right terminal, and then in the slowest security line I've ever seen. When we finally made it to the gate, it was overrun! The gates weren't separated out, just all in a big lounge, like a few airports I've been to, but there wasn't nearly enough seating by our gate to accommodate the flight, and the speakers in there were so crappy that they might as well have been saying "Madames et Monseurs, wah wah wah wah wah. Ladies and Gentlemen, wah wah wah wah wah wah." I remarked at one point "Congratulations, Charles De Galle, you sure had an airport with a shitty departure lounge named after you!".

By this point, I was clearly starting to get a little stressed out, as evidenced by increasing pain in my stomach and shortness of breath. I kept it in check most of the day with painkillers and anti-spasmoidics, but the second (longer) flight was significantly less comfortable than the first.

The flight had on-demand movies in the headsets, so I used it to catch up on animated films that people keep telling me I should watch. I enjoyed Coraline some, but Monsters v.s. Aliens much more. The visuals for Coraline were obviously stunning, but it all felt a little predictable, a little safe and tame. There were one or two points where I caught myself with a wicked grin, but less than I'd have liked. Monsters v.s. Aliens was just another of the run of CGI kids movies - all enjoyable, none breaking the mold too much. I mostly liked it because it was full of Monster movie references.

I also watched "Sunshine Cleaning", which started off pretty slow, but resolved nicely later on.

While we were landing, Hazel got some kind of flash migraine, worse than usual, which terrified us both. It subsided after a little while.

Immigration did not exactly go to plan initially - we got to the immigration office, and were told that while I had the provincial authorisation for a work permit, apparently I didn't have the federal version, and they would check some stuff, but basically I couldn't come in without it. Eventually, they worked out that I was to be writing software, which is one of the jobs for which there's a blanket federal authorisation, as part of the skilled workers plan. That resolved, they sent me to pay for my work permit. Another minor panic there - the guy asked me for I.D., and my passport was still back with the immigration officer! I showed him my driving license, and that was fine. Back at the immigration office, the officer guessed that the guy on the cashier's desk just couldn't read my name from his bad handwriting!

My IBS had gotten super-bad by now, due to the terror of possible deportation. But we were home free... or so we thought. Customs had other ideas. We needed to give them a list of all the things that we were shipping behind us. Luckily, we'd already reclaimed our luggage, and I had the movers' inventory in it. So finally we were allowed to leave the airport.

We got a taxi to the hotel (both on my new employers' tab) and checked in to our apartment. It felt really weird when the guy said "Ah yes... for one month" - I've never stayed in a hotel this long. When we found our room, we discovered that my contacts from work had gotten here first... and left all kinds of food an a welcoming note, which really took the edge off of the journey.

Now, there's a Boston Cream from Tim's waiting for me...

Immigration, paying for work permit, back to immigration, customs

Taxi to hotel

Time to relax