TRAVEL

A few helpful tips for travel. Lots of folk are moving across this world, but as a senior I no longer want to sleep on the floor in a tent (oh the struggle to get back up), carry a backpack (much too heavy),  or share a dorm room with youth. The last one thought  nothing of snapping the light on at 1:00 am in the room  when I was asleep.  It happened in a hostel in London, England and a Japanese girl in broken English told me she had just arrived from Russia on a train ride across Siberia.

Image result for photo Russian train

I easily found the bus in Edinburgh, waiting at the bridge outside the main train station, which took me to the airport for my flight to Ireland. I had to pay something like $200 CD one way to Dublin, booked a few days before over the Internet at the hostel, while a local told me he paid around $40.  I had tried to book from Canada, but the wizard wouldn’t work to let me. A travel bureau in the city wanted to charge me $300 for the same flight.

A week later,  in Sligo, Ireland the guy who carried my luggage to the room said he’s be back to settle in a bit later.   What???? oh me who didn’t know there were coed dorms.  I went back downstairs to pay a bit more for a private room, and luckily there was one. I enjoyed private rooms in hostels more than bed and breakfasts during my Great Britain trip, especially in Scotland. Heads up to both Glasgow and Edinburgh with a thank you. I had prebooked and paid for these rooms from Canada over the Internet and had no problem when I arrived.

At the Sligo hostel I shared breakfast with a  teacher and his student who had arrived from Germany,  and who were walking across Ireland that spring.   A slower pace to ‘find themselves.’ People travel for all kinds of reasons, and I was impressed. Great conversation.

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Need help planning a trip? My recent discovery:

The Man in Seat Sixty-One

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I learned a hard lesson on my last trip to Mexico/Belise. I was asked to bring a large supply of medications to a Canadian  senior I know living there, whom I planned to visit. It was a long day trip to Orillia here in Ontario to get them from his pharmacy.   I made sure to pack the bag of pills  in my open carry-on bag so customs could check them more easily.  I was expecting lots of questions, but no, they didn’t seem concerned. But somewhere in the two airports  of Toronto International and Cancun, Mexico, or on the flight with Westjet, someone else stole them all. The person must have been close behind me in line when I discussed the medications with officials,  to know I had them. I discovered the loss when I had paused in Cancun to buy currency in the airport for Belise, but they don’t sell any– another surprise.

I hadn’t yet left the airport so I returned to Mexican officials who spoke with the woman who had scanned my luggage. I made an official report of the loss with both  Mexican customs and Westjet. When I got home, no report had been received,  not even by the airlines.  I now think my mistake was putting that bag in the overhead compartment above my seat. So be aware what you put up there in the airplane bin, and make sure it is locked.

Image result for Photo Mexican bus

I couldn’t get a bus to Belise from the Cancun airport and had to find my way downtown to the bus station to do so, but on the way back, the bus dropped me off right at the door.  By the way, be aware if travelling overland in that southern direction, the bus stops at Mexican border. There are two officials in a little hut, and you are brought inside one by one.  The man charges everyone $25 American to  leave the country. He accepted my Canadian funds. Of course people protested but if you don’t pay, you don’t proceed. I had read about this before my trip on the Internet but didn’t grasp its upset.

On my return trip,  again at night, at Belise customs, a couple and a single American on the bus were stopped.  I saw him walking away into the darkness on the station platform. It took quite a while to have everyone’s  luggage examined and passport stamped, but we finally reloaded. To my surprise the others were back with us.   I leaned forward to ask the American guy what happened. He told me when everyone else had left, he put $100 American in his passport, returned to the official, and was stamped through with no problem.

Memories of an earlier time: Northern Canada

Flying into Assumption in Northern Canada to deliver pay cheques to workers building homes for the Indians. I was working for the Department of Indian Affairs, the Federal Government,  based in High Level, Alberta. The moment our plane landed on the grass, the mud splashed on the windshield so we landed ‘blind.” All the children rushed out to greet us.  About 40 years or so ago.

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