A Travellerspoint blog

until next time...

semi-overcast

My plane ride back to San Francisco was mostly uneventful, and gave me an opportunity to reflect on the past couple of days.

Eventhough I wanted to do a longer trip, I am not quite ready to embark on that yet. Baby steps... I do want to say that coming home felt a bit surreal...especially knowing that San Francisco Giants is now playing Texas Ranger for the World Series title.

During the five hours flight, I was able to work on some assignments from my volunteer job and read a bit.

While flying over some mountains, I noticed that their caps are already blanketed in snow, so took a few pictures from my window.

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Hours later, we finally landed at SFO.

Thankful that it was not raining, I decided to forgo the cab ride (I usually grab cabs because it's easy), and instead took BART to downtown, and then took a cab from there to home. Easy, fast, and cheap.

Drop stuff off and went out to dinner.

Concluding a short but sweet five-day adventure.

This is definitely not au revoir but jusqu'à la prochaine fois (did I say that right?)...

Posted by 4kitten 17:56 Archived in USA Tagged san francisco Comments (0)

chance meeting, flight connect, and hot dog lunch

semi-overcast

Yesterday, I broaded my flight from Montreal with a connection in Detroit. In some way, I was a little sad to leave Montreal so soon. Just when I was really starting to really get to know the city, I was out of there. Something about that city seems strangely familiar to me even though I have never really been there. I remembered feeling the same way when I visited Victoria years ago. Maybe I just need to travel more...

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Once I boarded the plane, by sheer randomness, I happened to meet S on the plane. S is connecting his way from Detroit to Shanghai. By tomorrow, it would be his 42nd birthday and he will be celebrating it in Shanghai! Born in Quebec, he is a running enthusiast and love to travel. He's pretty much been everywhere, and ran every marathon he can qualified for... And when he found out that I live in San Francisco, he told me he ran the SF marathon months ago, and he wanted to move there. He also told him quite a bit about himself, his medical history, and family stuff. I am not going to repeat those, but I found it odd that people (not just S) find this is okay to do? With a random stranger no less...

On the other hand, it made perfect sense... Who else can you talk to sometimes if not a stranger, who probably don't know you enough to really judge you. And what if they do, chances are, you will never see them again...

What it did reaffirmed for me through our conversation is that there are still a lot of trust in this world, and that we each hold a piece of that fabric...

After we got off the plane, I thought about offering to buy him a drink or lunch to celebrate his up-coming birthday, but it seemed inappropriate somehow to suddenly know so much, and yet nothing at all really about that person, so we just said, "bon voyage" to each other and left separately. Besides, both of our connections were pretty tight, and neither of us wanted to miss our next adventure.

I had 45 minutes in Detroit before I board my plane back to San Francisco.

In that short span of time, I briefly browsed through the gift shops, and brought myself a Chicago hotdog made "Detroit style". Basically, a hotdog with stuff on it. I had no idea what some of those stuff are, but heck, it was interesting. I was finally back on U.S. soil and with a hot dog in my hand, yo.

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More on my plane ride back to SF later...

Posted by 4kitten 11:06 Archived in USA Tagged detroit Comments (0)

hotel breakfast, early checkout, and montreal traffic

semi-overcast

I awoke at 5 a.m. this morning and finish packing. Not that I had anything to pack because I brought so little with me. However, with the little bit of souvenir I brought, my luggage is now quite heavy.

Went down to breakfast and watched sports news recaps as I ate.

Afterwards, I went back upstairs and looked at clock. Hm, should I leave now? It's 7:45 a.m. My flight doesn't leave until later, but I do have to give it two hours due to customs, etc.

I decided to leave.

Went downstairs with luggage and checked out. And then walked out and merged with all the Montreal commuters.

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My walk to the bus stop was about a couple of blocks, and since I located it yesterday, I had a pretty leisurely walk toward destination.

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By the time I walked to the bus stop, it was about 8:00 a.m. And the airport bus pulled up right in front of me. Perfect.

The 747 Airport Express accepts exact cash in coins ($7) or the monthly, or day pass(es).

I deposited my exact change and on we went.

The bus weaved through Montreal morning commute traffic, making constant stops to pick up more air-bound passengers. Some with almost no luggage and some with excessive baggages. Just saying...

It took us almost 45 mins to arrive at airport.

Aside from the traffic, the airport seems a bit farer than I remembered. Good thing I allowed myself so much time. By the time I arrived at the airport, I promptly went into customs (I have already checked-in on my flight from hotel last night) and declared..etc.

That took 15 mins because the guy in front of me was taking forever and then because I didn't fill out the declaration form, I had to go and do that before coming back to the front of the line. Note to self, good job in coming to airport early.

I went through customs and then directly into sephora (?) Actually, it's the duty free shop. I brought a bottle of ice wine for our next fab gathering at Cindie's house. ;) Hopefully it remains intact during flights.

Currently waiting until later to board and then have to connect in another airport before coming back to SF.

More later...miss you guys! Hugs!

Posted by 4kitten 06:41 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

tummy aches, metro, and a really nice note

rain

Some time during my walk in the rain and after my drink at Starbucks, I had a tummy ache. I am not saying that the drink at Starbucks triggered this, but it's just embarrassing when it happens and just so uncomfortable. I hate it when it happens at home city, and especially so during travelling. How does one deal?

By now, I was searching for a restaurant to go to in Chinatown where I can have lunch, so I ended up going to a noodle place and using their restroom, too. I have to say that their restroom is really clean. So glad 'cuz I usually don't use public restrooms due to the eek factor.

I felt fine after and ordered some food, thinking that I will take the leftovers home. But then even before the food arrives on the table, I started to feel nauseous, like I was going to throw up...

Oh gosh, I don't want to get sick...what's going on.

I decided that I was not going to get sick until I was back in the hotel room. It just can't happen. Right then, I ask the restaurant to pack everything to go. And then instead of walking back to the hotel, I decided to take the metro home. (So much for no metro today.)

Here's a picture of some of the food...(before it got packed for takeout)
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I was at Station Place-D'Armes and took the Cote-Vertu train to connect the Honore-Beaugrand at Lionel-Groulx station, and got off at my downtown stop. One thing I was so happy about was that I had experience taking the metro in the past couple of days that I knew exactly where I needed to connect.

After I came back to the hotel, I felt better, and made tea to calm myself. I am now resting and hoping this (whatever it is) will pass and that I will feel better tomorrow. Don't want to be sick on plane, you know...not cool.

I did get a very nice surprise on my hotel bed when I came back though.

The first thing I noticed was that the tip I left for the room service lady for today was still on the night stand. What happened? Did she forget to take it? And then I noticed a note was left near my pillow.

The note reads, "Merci de nous avoir visite et que Dieu vous benisse" which means "Thank you for visiting and God bless you."

So sweet!

I have been leaving the hotel room very early everyday except today, so never met her. But this morning, I met her while I was preparing to leave for my walk, and she was very motherly telling me to button up because it's cold outside, etc. And then we talked about how I was going to leave tomorrow, and she was like, "oh, already...I will miss you." I didn't realize that she was serious. Afterall, I didn't meet her until today. Wow, such a nice woman I thought. And to see that note when I was coming back really touched me.

Who gets wonderful notes on their pillow while travelling?

Wow! Another wonderful experience.

Merci beaucoup Canada! Je t'aime!

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Posted by 4kitten 19:25 Archived in Canada Tagged montreal Comments (0)

walking in the rain, a bit of a rant, and food matters

rain

The weather in Montreal turned as expected, and we are seeing showers...

I contemplated about staying in, but as this is my last "real" day in Montreal, I wanted to feed my adventure spirit one last time. So after a hearty breakfast (I made my own waffles using one of the griddles at the hotel!!! so much fun! flip it over, and then over...), I decided this will be my walk day. No metros.

I had a half-baked idea about visiting Chinatown (Quartier Chinois) this morning. In the past, when travelling with my best friend, she would insist that we go to every C-Town in any city that has one. And we always pose by the gate. It's funny that it's usually her idea, and not mine eventhough I am Chinese and she's not. But then again...maybe that's not so odd.

I walked out of my hotel and walked down toward Place Du Canada (this is a public square), but before that, I checked out the bus stop that I should be going to tomorrow when I check out and board the bus to airport. Gosh, I can't believe that 5 nights passed so quickly.

By then rain was a heavy drizzle. Good thing I had my NF jacket on because it's water repellent and got the hood.

Walking, turning, walking, I ended up at Square Victoria.

Hm...went inside the very nice looking and warm metro station, and consulted my map. Oh, I am a few blocks off...

So off I go out again and ended up at the edge of Chinatown.

By then the rain really started to pour, enough so that I found it very uncomfortable, so I took the nearest familiar building and went in. I spent the next 30 minutes inside a Starbucks. I love that I was able to order a The (Tea) with an accent on the "e" in french in Starbucks of all places. LOL.

People at this Starbucks were just zoning out and enjoying the moment....

One of things I noticed on this trip is that Montrealers usually pretty mellow and don't have this obsession with checking their e-gadgets. Sure, they have their smart phones, iphones, etc and they check them, but not so obsessively that they are out in the open on all occassions. For example, on the metro these past couple of days, I saw people either staring off in space (omg!), reading a book (omg! 2x), reading a newspaper (omg! 3x), and/or listening to music on their headphone. Quietly. (omg! 4x)

And not to get too side-tracked here, but I do want to point this out now that I am on the subject of metro that I saw metro employees actually cleaning the train and picking up garbage at the end of each station before the train turns around again. (omg! 5x) And they actually say "Bonjour" to you also which is kinda of amazing. Of course, some are more friendly than others, but it's kind of nice and refreshing to see this.

Anyway, after my little detour at Starbucks, I walked over to C-Town. The rain stopped, so I was able to see that the Holiday Inn here have a cool Chinatown theme thing going on. After admiring it for a minute, I walked over to the little C-Town streets.

It's typical, they have restaurants, pastry shops, herbal shops, etc.

I saw a noodle shop and went into eat.

Later-

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Posted by 4kitten 16:21 Archived in Canada Tagged montreal Comments (0)

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