Trains, and boats, and planes

26 03 2008

… but without the trains!

I was up at 5:30am and said my goodbyes to Jill and Brian just after 6:00am. I was on my way again, this time to catch the 7:45am ferry back to Vancouver from Duke Point (south of Nanaimo). I had a reservation so had to arrive between 6:45 and 7:15. I got to the terminal at 7:00am, which was a tad longer than expected as the drive was a little hairy.

It was dark and raining when I left and the windscreen was partly iced. The roads were wet and there were warning signs for deer, icy bridges, and aquaplaning. It was very cold (about 1 to 2C) and my biggest concern was ice on the roads—especially black ice! So I took it slow and arrived at the ferry terminal safe and sound.

It’s now 7:15am and the sky is getting lighter. I’m at the head of my queue for the ferry  (Queen of Alberni) which hasn’t arrived from Vancouver yet, but I expect it’ll get here soon. The trip takes 2 hours.

After I arrive, it’s off to Vancouver Airport (refuelling on the way) to return the rental car and then to check in for my Cathay Pacific flight to Hong Kong, which is due to leave around 3:30pm. I lose Wednesday night (tonight) and much of Thursday, arriving in Hong Kong around 9pm Thursday night.

Update 1: The ferry left on time and my car was the first in one of the lines, so it’ll be one of the first off. Guess that reservation was worth it! Actually, it was the peace of mind that was worth the $15 booking fee (which is deducted from your fare—I didn’t know that, so it was a pleasant surprise!). Without knowing anything about the schedules, the capacity, and the usage, I didn’t want to risk being stuck on a ferry vetween Vancouver Island and the mainland when my flight took off.

Update 2: I’m now in the Cathay Pacific lounge. I got fuel, but only just. There was not a single gas station from the Tsawwassen ferry terminal to the airport, except one on the other side of the busy highway. I thought I’d have to pay Hertz’s exhorbitant fuel charge, but luckily there’s a gas station on the airport land just before the parking area and the rental car return place. Its price was higher than outside ($1.217 per litre compared to $1.179 on the Island), but it was cheaper than the $3 per litre Hertz were charging!

Vancouver Airport, like SeaTac, is undergoing some major construction to put in a rail line. So it was quite a long haul from the rental car return to the International Terminal—at least, when you followed their detour signs. I think if I’d ignored those and gone straight across the road to the domestic terminal, I’d have been able to walk through to international anyway. And the signage in the terminal! Don’t get me started!! You walk in to the International Terminal and there are NO signs as to what to do next or where to go. A red cap guy told me I had to go up a level to Departures. When I got there, there are no clear signs to tell you where to go if you AREN’T travelling to the US. I eventually found the correct place, but only after asking someone else who worked there. After that it was all very painless.

So now I have another 3 hours before the flight is called. Next post will probably be from Hong Kong unless something grabs my attention that I feel like writing about!


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