...or: Beating a Dead Horse.
I honestly did think that my trip was over after the last post, since all that was left was going home. However, considering that this trip was one of "those" trips. You know, those trips where things happen that years down the road you laugh at? Only I started laughing before i was even done with things happening to me. It was only another minor thing, but in the spirit of full disclosure and complete documentation I felt obligated to, well...document and disclose.
When I woke up in Peggy's Cove there seemed to be little left to do but make the less-than-an-hour drive back to Halifax to drop of the car and then make for the airport. Actually, I changed my plans a bit and paid an extra $20 so I didn't have to drive back to Halifax at all, and just dropped the car off at the airport. I had plenty of stuff to keep me busy for a few hours so it seemed worth it to save the hassle and cost of getting from the city center back to the airport. I made use of the time at the airport by catching up on current events, editing and at least uploading pictures to Facebook (next post on here should be the same pictures), and grabbing a bite to eat before take off. All seemed to be going well until about 30 minutes before we were to board the plane when we were told the flight was cancelled. I didn't even have to hear them announce the flight number to know, know, that it was my flight they were about to cancel. After all, it had been one of those trips. This time the flight was canceled due to maintenance issues with the plane, which considering the alternative of crashing it was probably best. I found it entertaining and in turns annoying that other people on the same flight seemed to think they were being inconvenienced more than others on the flight. Some getting agitated and irate with the girls at the ticket counter like they had been the ones to screw up their travel plans. There was one group of guys that kept trying to cut in front of all the different lines we ended up in; from getting refunds on their duty free purchases, getting their checked luggage returned, and getting travel and hotel reservations. Their ring leader, an obviously well-traveled businessman who kept making sure his compatriots knew he was calling "his girl" to get better arrangements made, kept trying to make extravagant demands of the people. He wanted someone to mind their luggage so they could get up to the counter faster to get better accommodations, wanted a taxi allowance because the hotel shuttle buses weren't good enough for him, and better hotel because the Hilton wasn't good enough, a larger and cash-based food allowance (as opposed to the vouchers everyone else got) because he was not eating in the hotel restaurant. Much to his chagrin and my delight he didn't get anything more than anyone else. One guy did manage to trade his hotel and food vouchers in for an upgrade to first class on the next flight, but that was his choice and I didn't grudge him that.
I was easily transported from the airport to the hotel less than a mile away with my luggage and vouchers. The hotel got me a room without a problem and I enjoyed a decent meal in the hotel restaurant on the airline's dime. I slept like shit because for some reason the curtains in my room didn't close all the way - by design no less - and the lights made the room unnaturally bright. I woke up at 5am to make the shuttle to the airport and make it on my flight without delay or luggage issue, on a different airline though. I do believe that my parking ticket to get out of the parking lot in Atlanta fell out of my suitcase through one of the rips it earned while in New Jersey limbo, which made getting out a little more expensive and a pain in the ass than it should've been, but that was minor on the whole. The day delay of getting home did cause some minor headaches since I got home around 3pm and crashed only to wake up and go to work that night.
Since I've had a few days to let the vacation simmer in my mind and a chance to retell the tale to friends and coworkers I do have a few things I would like to say after the fact. First off, I don't understand why people seem so surprised that I didn't flip my shit at not only the first cancellation, but at each snafu along the way. Just about everyone has mentioned how they would have been cussing people out and demanding this and that. To what end? That kind of thinking is exactly what ruins vacations. By just rolling with the punches and admitting the humor in all of it as it happened I managed to still enjoy the Nova Scotia part of my vacation. Which brings me to my next point - the Nova Scotia part of my trip was great. Halifax is an extremely clean and friendly city that I could have easily spent several days exploring. I was a little put off by how tourist-oriented the harbor section of Halifax was. with it's rows of whale watching tours, boardwalk touristy gift shops each with the same mass produced crap as the other, and the clearly tourist geared dock side restaurants with bland Americanized menus. But it was a beautiful harbor, and off the harbor there were great restaurants and opportunities to see Halifax in the raw. I also want to give Halifax kudos for its rather progressive attitude; from it's gay friendly neighborhoods to it's obvious dedication to being clean and environmentally friendly. I found out only after my first night that street my hostel was on turned out to be the gay neighborhood of Halifax, in the heart of what they call the Gay Village, but it never felt like it was a walled off ghetto or that it was exclusively gay. Of the half dozen people in the hostel that I talked with, only about half of them were obviously or admittedly gay and neither seemed standoffish towards the other and that attitude extended outside the hostel into the streets. The city's dedication to being a good steward for the environment was evident on every street corned with solar powered, trash compacting waste bins - almost all of which were divided into various recyclables and general refuse. Although I couldn't see myself moving to Halifax, if I were to end up stranded there somehow it wouldn't be horrible. If I were to ever move to Nova Scotia, it would be as a retired man of leisure living in a small seaside cabin up on Cape Breton Island. Much like Iceland, it amazed me how beautiful it was even in less than ideal weather. The chilly, windy, rainy day that I drove back down to the mainland was equally as beautiful as the pristinely cloudless, blue-skied day I drove up there.
Speaking of Iceland, there was a downside to this trip. It really made me miss Iceland all over again. To the point that I've decided that my next trip will actually have me stopping off for a few days in Iceland before or after I make it to my final destination (which I've only just decided for certain is going to be Ireland). The upside to this trip was that I didn't have that weird, month long partpartum funk I did after coming back from Iceland. It was a good trip, but it didn't leave with a longing to go back before I had even left. I was admittedly ready for this vacation to be over when it was. True, part of it was because it wasn't exactly the smoothest vacation, but I had seen and done what I had gone there for so "mission accomplished", time to go home. I still wouldn't take back the vacation if I knew before hand the issues I would have. For the sentimental reasons alone the trip was necessary and worthwhile. Oh, and because someone asked below is a picture of roughly the route that I took during my drivings across Nova Scotia. It's not exact, but it gets the point across of how scatter-brained the destinations and my thinking were.
Legend: A - Halifax, NS • B - Pleasant Bay, Cape Breton Island, NS • C - Truro, NS • D - Maitland, NS •
E - Joggins Fossil Cliff, Joggins, NS • F - Lunenburg, NS • G - Digby, NS • H - Peggy's Cove, NS • I - Halifax Intn'l Airport
Not shown is my short escapade after Joggins into New Brunswick for shits and giggles and the side trip to the airport between Digby and Peggy's Cove to get my luggage. Until next time...