En route

The following was written at some point before i went to sleep last night:

It’s been a long day. A really long day in fact, however you wish to look at it. Since my last little update, I’ve driven down to Heathrow, boarded my eight-hour flight toToronto, and then enjoyed a five-hour layover before boarding another five-hour flight to my focal destination. When I land the time will be approximately6:30pm, with official sunset time being9:14. By my calculations, considering it was practically daylight when I left Birmingham at 4am, that’s going to equate to a 26.5 hour day of constant daylight, not to mention the 47-hour wait to actually get anything other than broken sleep in an uncomfortable airline chair…

Downtown Toronto This may seem a little stupid, but it was highlighted by the snazzy computer screen in front of me on board the Boeing 767 on which I currently sit (this will undoubtedly get posted later) which points out that it’s now the middle of the night in  London. It also tells me we’ve travelled495 milesso far, with1542 milesto go before we touch terra firma again, giving us an ETA of 6:48. I’m currently cruising at36000 feet(and let me point out that blogging at this altitude is probably nowhere near as glamorous or enjoyable as the famous Mile High Club, but as is becoming increasingly common for me, it has become a willing substitute as it’s substantially more achievable…) and our Ground Speed is477 mph. The outside Air Temperature is -63.4 deg F but with no converter I have no way of knowing what that means, other than it’s quite cold.

So why am I bothering in telling you all of this? Well, to be honest, the geeky side of me is rearing its head once again, as this technology is quite impressive (it’s temporarily crashed as I typed that, but we’ll let that slide) giving me multiple maps with various points of interest and our current position. However, that’s not the whole story, as quite frankly, I’m pretty bored. Yes, I could watch a film, or go to sleep, or strike a conversation with the pretty girl next to me, or whatever, but it doesn’t escape from the fact that international travel, especially over the larger distance, is dull as sin! Well, at least until you get there.

As such, I tend to try and take every opportunity I can to enjoy the experience along the way, and once landed in Toronto, and baggage was checked in for Stage 4, I hopped on a bus and headed for “Downtown”. Now, five years ago, we travelled to Switzerlandand managed to arrive on their National Day of 1st August. I did start to wonder if I’d done this again, in a manner of speaking, as it turned out I’d stumbled across the Philippine quarters Independence Day. Yes, I know I’m not in the Philippines, but this does go to show the cultural diversity of Toronto, its urban sprawl being populated by dozens of ethnic minorities, to such an extent they don’t seem to be minorities any more. In many ways it reminded me ofLondon, with a Tube railway (that I’m supposed to call a Subway) and people from almost any possible cultural background you could care to think of, all going about their daily business with little awareness of those they probably see every day.

But please don’t think that I am complaining about this, quite the contrary. The busy hustle and bustle may not interest those in the villages where I live, but the thriving beating heart of a city will always bring a slight smile to my face, more so on this occasion as I am suddenly reminded of where I am: I am in Canada; a nation that seems to be incredibly similar to the stereotype of its more illustrious neighbour, while keeping a strong sense of independence. While these are still city folk, and consequently not the most engaging, once approached I have so far found the people to be more than pleasant, and I have been repeatedly told that I will loveVancouver. In a few hours time, I will find out. Preconceptions are often built from truth, and things like the roads, big cars, tall buildings, and exotic yet fast-food are there in abundance, you wouldn’t think for a second you were in the States.

The hills from Vancouver

Every large building has a Canadian flag hanging outside it’s front door in a mark of patriotism that you would never see inBritain. In fact, I would go so far as to say if you did try something as outlandish as this back home, you would probably lose more custom than you would gain! Nevertheless, for these cautious but lovable people, you know there is a sense of National pride that I wish we too could aspire to, but know that we never will. Even the plastic cup I’ve just finished my water from has a Maple leaf embossed in the bottom…

The climbing will hopefully begin tomorrow, depending on the effect that jet lag decides it will take on me. I will try and keep updates coming thick and fast, but for the time being, rest assured I am enjoying the company I  find myself in. Might even talk to this girl for a few minutes…


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