part I - FLYING TO MONTREAL
There's no danger of anyone ever being late for anything when they stay at the Comfort Hotel near the airport, that's for sure - a good pointer for the return journey when I need to be up at 06:00.
At about 05:30 everything seems to kick off at the airport and you have your morning alarm call. Rule number one - make sure you sleep with the windows closed, even in the height of summer if you are planning on a lie-in.
After breakfast, I went outside to wait for the shuttle bus - which seems to run every half-hour or so to the airport. This gave me an opportunity to have a quick look around.
In case you are wondering any about me criticising the Hotel, by the way, just let me point out that it's the cheapest realistic option for an overnight stay close to the airport. You can see how close we are to the airport just here. The hotel right at the end of the runway and the planes are taking off right over the roof of the building. The Novotel, which is probably amongst the most expensive, is built into Terminal 3 and so while it scores on closeness, the racket must be indescribable.
While I was in the queue to check in my baggage, I heard them call a flight to Québec - 11:40 if I remember correctly. That has to be worth checking out. It's about an hour and a half earlier than mine with 20 minutes less flying time. And with Québec being a smaller airport, it might even be a quicker passage through Customs. I could be up in St Simeon or even Tadoussac on the first night if I were to make an effort
There's also an earlier flight to Montreal as well - at 12:25 I reckon. That has to be worth checking out.
When I finally arrive at the check-in, I find to my surprise that my luggage is just within the weight limit. That includes all kinds of tools and the like that I'm taking over there, not to mention Strawberry Moose who is curled up quite comfortably in the suitcase. And thanks to Bill who has lent me this cavernous suitcase but I'm really going to have to build my own out of aeroplane-gauge aluminium.
I hate airports - totally thoroughly stressed out, argumentative people, almost having a full body search yet again because because something rings on their blasted bell and I don't know what it is. It's getting on my wick.
All you get in airports nowadays is a bunch of aggressive thugs pretending to be a "security service" full of people whose reasons for joining up include
i.... so that they can exert unopposed power over a herd of powerless people
ii... so that they can legally grope other peoples bodies in all of the intimate places where, if they had tried that in the street, they would be banged up in choky (where they all belong anyway)
iii.. so that they can gaze at the unclothed bodies of children through a body scanner.
Frankly I would rather run the very minute risk of bring blown to atoms by a hijacker than to go through all of this - what we have gone through with security and the like and the freedoms of which we have been deprived ever since the Fascists took over in the Western World.
If anyone on board the aeroplane really wants to fly an aeroplane into the Government offices of whichever people have let the Fascists take power, I would probably go and give them a hand. Think about it - alcohol kills and injures thousands of people every day and if they were really serious about saving lives and preventing deaths, they would ban that straight away.
But two reasons prevent them from doing that
i.... Governments levy taxes on the sale of alcohol
ii... the Population would revolt almost immediately.
But here in the airport, the Western Government use fear as a weapon to control the population, a weapon well-recognised by the Nazis. As Goebbels once said, to control a population all you need to do is to frighten them sufficiently. And when anyone speaks out against the controls, to denounce them as traitors. Anyone remember the Dixie Chicks?
It's all total hypocrisy all of this. It's high time all these passengers in airports started to revolt against the Fascists in control. I could lead it too - it's been said before that I'm quite revolting.
Yes, I'm waiting waiting around at an airport again, aren't I? Can't you tell?
It seems that the airport terminal charges are beyond the reach of Air Transat and our plane is parked up right out at the far end of the runway. This means a bus ride from the terminal and that's quite depressing.
And we are delayed taking off because of what seems to be an issue about the toilets not flushing. This doesn't surprise me in the slightest, for what is happening at airports these days is a huge load of the kind of stuff that belongs in a chemical toilet if you ask me.
I manage to talk my way into a window seat on the aeroplane and quite rightly so. Not only do I like to see what's going on outside, I like to be able to photograph it too.
The only trouble is of course that I don't usually know where I am when I'm photographing things, such as this impressive viaduct to the north of Paris somewhere. I wish that they would give us a clue. Back in the inter-war days there was some kind of discussion of painting the names of the towns on the roofs of railway stations to give bomber pilots - I imagine by that they meant friendly bomber pilots - an idea of where they were. They should do that today as a guide to the passengers.
But going back to this thing about making the signs useful only to friendly bomber pilots - it does recall the Brain of Britain who during World War II, when confronted with the problem of communicating the name of a town to a subordinate over a tapped telephone, came up with the ideal solution.
"Listen very carefully" he told the startled subordinate. "I'll spell the name backwards"
The Germans must have been pretty awful if they lost the war against people like that.
Meanwhile, back in the 'plane, I'm enjoying my window seat and taking full opportunity of the view. Luckily, the weather is nice enough for me to be able to do that. With my kind of luck, we usually have a cloud base of 100 feet all the way across the Atlantic and you can't see a thing.
Where I am now is right at the far edge of Ireland as we head off into the Atlantic. Time to batten down the ship for silent running.
Air Transat is akin to flying Ryanair across the Atlantic - pay for this, pay for that - pay for something else. However, I might look into Air Transat's Club Class and for two reasons too
Firstly ...I'm sure that there must be much more legroom for the seats. The most comfortable seat that I had on this flight was the 5 minutes that I spent on the Elsan
Secondly ...the baggage allowance with Air Transat is 25 kgs and I was perilously close to the limit. In Club Class however, it is 50kgs and when I consider the amount of stuff that I had wanted to take and had had to leave behind, 50kgs would have been useful, to say the least. I wonder though if Club Class includes accommodation for your native bearers. It's bad enough struggling on the trains with 25 kgs of baggage.
What is important though is that I don't give anyone the wrong impression. Air Transat is a budget flight of course - I need to stress that. It's the cheapest way to fly to Canada and for many people, including me of course, who have to pay their own air fares, the price counts for everything. Although I'll pass comment on the facilities, I'll certainly put up with them if it means saving €100 on my flight. I can do so much more in Canada with €100 extra in my pocket.