Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Chasing The Setting Sun

Leaving Ireland was never going to be easy, but boarding the British Airways flight direct to Vancouver was less daunting a task that I had built it up to be. My mind was on other things than the adventure that lay ahead.

It was my first time traveling through Heathrow Airport that I can recall, and all the warnings and stories of long walks between terminals had been forgotten about thanks to a speedy and clear internal transport system that got us from place to place with time to spare. Thankfully, that allowed us to enjoy the sushi restaurant we stumbled upon after clearing customs and we boarded our flight with full stomachs and happy thoughts.

On boarding, Claire and I discovered that we were seated in separate rows, but thanks to a lovely fellow traveler, I was able to move forward and join Claire before take-off. The sun was setting slowly over London, and the sky was still bright and blue with just the subtle hint of approaching dusk.

The flight was entirely uneventful. I played my DS, Super Scribblenauts helping the hours pass until my battery finally gave out and I was left alone. Claire typed on her laptop, listening to music or somesuch on her headphones. The rest of the journey was passed either watching parts of movies on the in-flight entertainment system, or catching a quick nap, wrapped in my warm jumper, my head resting on a kindly gifted cushion of air.

As the end of our nine and a half hours in the air drew near, the plane banked softly and we were met with a brilliant orange, red and yellow. We had raced the sun across the Atlantic, and the winner was undecided. At 33,000 feet, we could still see witness the setting sun, but on the ground it was probably dark already.

Regardless, our two hours standing in the line for immigration and customs meant it was well past sunset by the time we got outside. A taxi took us through thick fog, across the bridge into downtown, and we were greeted with our first glimpse of Vancouver. Towering skyscrapers glowed orange behind the fog, and here and there we got a break that opened up a wondrous view. Soon we were in the heart of downtown and unloading our bags at the hostel.

We had arrived. And we were too tired to start panicking now.

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