Tuesday, August 14, 2007

All by myself

Still waiting to regain control of my time- really must speak to the Universe about scheduling three months worth of important events in a 10-day period- but I found a little space to continue the Canada Saga.

I have to say that in the 6 years or so that I’ve had regular internet access & began booking all travel arrangements online, I’ve been quite fortunate- you are essentially “buying a pig in a poke”, so you need to trust in the honesty & integrity of the vendors. I haven’t been bitten by the small print, been charged more than the quoted price, or ended up with questionable lodgings; that is until this trip.

After leaving the Chinese banquet & my family, I drove down to the motel I was staying at that night. A steady rain is falling; I’m driving along a dark, fairly deserted city street at 11:00 pm, looking for the address. At last, I see a neon sign, hanging crookedly on the post, three letters missing, & randomly blinking; I’m thinking “Please, Lord- not that one!”, but of course, that is my destination. I pull into the dimly lit parking lot, past rows of little cottages & a huddled group standing by one door passing a bottle around, & stop in front of the office. As I sit in my car, still dressed in my party finery & keeping my eye on the silent drinkers, a mist starts to rise from the ground; I begin having doubts about staying here. I stayed there for nearly 5 minutes, carrying on a spirited mental debate:

This place is creepy

“You read too many novels”

No, it really is sinister

“It’s just the rain & the mist- in daylight, I’m sure it’s perfectly respectable”

Pfft! Look at the winos

“Well, they are minding their own business”

Yeah, until you get out of the car

“This is silly- it’s 11:30 & I need some sleep”

It’s the flipping ‘Bate’s Motel’ without the gothic mansion

“I’ve already paid for it & I’m not looking for another place this time of night!”

Who cares? I can sleep in the car

At this point, I see the shadowed outline on a man, looking out the office window at my car; it is time to (pardon the expression) “piss or get off the pot”, so I screw up my courage & go inside. I have to admit I nearly bolted when a rather tall, thin, effeminate looking man, with a crew cut, came out of the back room, calling back across his shoulder “I’ll be right back, Mother- we have a customer”; but Scot’s stinginess won out over too many late-night “Creature Features” & I checked in. Norman- uh, I mean, Mason gave me a $10 discount because Expedia had booked me for a double instead of a single bed, & offered to carry my bags into my cottage since I was “all alone”- I politely declined & practically ran out of the office. I’m not proud of it, but once I got my stuff in the room, I triple locked the door, moved a table in front of it, propped a chair & my suitcase up against the closet, & slept with the light on.

I had to get up very early in the morning, as I needed to be at the ferry by 8:30 & I wasn’t certain what the traffic would be like driving through Vancouver. After taking the quickest shower of my life, with the shower curtain drawn all the way open, I threw my things back into the car & virtually peeled out of the parking after leaving the key in the drop box. It is a good thing I allowed an hour to travel 15 miles- the traffic wasn’t heavy on the surface streets, but the 3 bridges I had to cross were all one-lane in the direction I was headed & had horrible bottlenecks. I also took one of my rare wrong turns of the trip- I was headed the wrong direction on a road with no exits or turn arounds- I had to drive nearly 7 miles before I could get off the highway & backtrack, all the time hearing my internal clock ticking away the minutes. Oh, did I mention it was still raining buckets? I made it to the ferry landing right at 8:30 to claim my reserved spot & was the Very…Last… Car loaded, all the time needing to find a restroom in the worst way.

As soon as my car was secured, I scurried off to find relief, some breakfast, & a seat inside. The first two were easily remedied; the last was a no go, except one seat next a man smelling strongly of onions or another in front of a family with 4 small, screaming children. I decided to take my chances on deck & headed outside; I found a sheltered area on the sixth level, pulled up the hood of my raincoat & drank my tea. As soon as the boat started moving, the rain began to ease & sky became lighter; by the time we were three miles out, little patches of blue sky were peeking through & the rain had ceased. I stood alone at the aft railing & watched Vancouver disappear into the mist, then went inside to make myself comfortable before starting the next part of my adventure.

Next time: Houses, Gardens, and, Oh, my aching feet!


Mrs. Darling said...

Thanks for visiting my blog. This sounds like a nightmare! You're braver than I would have been. There is now way I could have brought myself to stay there!

Lets be friends, shall we? lOL Ill book mark you and return.

She'sSewPretty said...

Oh my gosh! Creepy! I am going to have to come back and read all of your posts. I thought you were still on vacation! Thanks for the nice words on my blog!

Marilyn said...

OMG, I would probably cried myself to sleep if I slept at all. I'm sorry you had such a bad experience.

Tulabell said...

That is spooky and had you not been alone it wouldn't have been so bad...I have been on a bout of vacation also and haven't kept up on blogs so I may not know the whole story, but congrats to your brother! He does look so happy! Don't you just love weddings?

Becca said...

Meg, you write so well, I hope that you don't mind that I added you to my RSS feeds that I read! You weren't supposed to tell me that it was you that was sending to me, but I am looking forward to it! :-)

~~kattz*cottage~~ said...

Hi Meg!
I want to call that "fascinating" but I can imagine how scary it must have been for you! That is truly an amazing story! Glad you're safe & sound!


Ka said...

So SCARY! I probably would have slept in my car! Thanks for checking out my blog. I appreciate your comments. You are too brave!

Daisy said...

Argggh...Sounds like something form "Fargo", a very funny scary" film. I'm sort of with you on the getting your money's worth though!!
See if you'd had Mr.Scrappy, he would have kept you safe and seen away the baddies....Lol, yea right. He'd have been under the bed "blowing off" just like any other cowardly man dog!!
Glad you'r back safe honey. xxx