~~~~~ Here’s the link to “Adventure Day in Vancouver, Part 1” ~~~~~~
After some good food and some well deserved rest, we left the restaurant in high spirit. It was only 2:30PM, and our flight back to LA was 6:05PM. We decided to head to the airport a little before 4PM, because I didn’t think Vancouver airport would be very busy. That meant that we had an hour to sight see. We packed the kids back into the car and drove around the neighborhood till we found a Toys-R-Us to play for a while.
Between drooling at interesting toys and pulling kids away from doing dangerous stunts, we didn’t get back onto our way till nearly 4PM. We weren’t too worried though, the airport was only 15 minutes away, and there can’t be long insane lines at the gate anyway.
Luck was not on our side. I misused our GPS and ended up in some remote back alley without sight of a single soul! The first sign that we were in trouble. It took us another 15 minutes to finally returned our rental car and arrived at the Air Canada terminal (as indicated by our airline ticket), only to find out that our real airline carrier is United, which is not written anywhere on our itinerary! The lady at the desk told us to “run as fast as we can!”, as United will be closed for boarding withing the next few minutes. At this time, the clock has just strike 5PM, and I sensed that things are about to get really crazy.
The United Airline terminal is located on the other side of the airport. With two kids and 2 large suit cases, I didn’t know how we were going to get there on time. But failure was not an option; there was no way we could spend a night in the airport with 2 kids. So I ran ahead carrying Maxie and a backpack, while Mario ran behind me rolling two suit cases and hurrying Ravi along. It was a long way across the airport. There were so many moments that I was out of breath and feeling desperately lost, but I couldn’t stop, I had to keep going. Finally, I arrived to the check-in desk and got in line. The couple before us are also in the same predicament. The gentlemen at the desk was just making a call to obtain permission to allow us to check-in. After some begging (my poor little boys, tired and sad…etc) and bending of regulation, we were let in. As soon as we got tickets, we began running again! Next stop, bag check-in. We had to wait in line for nearly 10 minutes. As soon as we handed over our suitcases, we ran again, this time toward the security line. There were two couple with infants and strollers in front of us, chatting merrily blocking our path. Forget about being polite! I cut short their conversation to asked if we could go pass them, as we were about to miss our flight. I could see that they faces froze over and were in shock, then they stepped aside to let us pass. We waited 25 minutes to get through the security screening. We picked up our speed to run again only to be stopped at the migration check point. The gentleman asked: “Disney cruise?” “Yes. Did you see a lot of us coming through today?” “Yes…” So the man has already seen much chaos.
We were finally let into the gating area. A quick scan of the map showed that our gate is all the way at the far end! I grabbed onto Maxie tight and began running again, this time for the finish line. It was considerably harder for Mario and Ravi to follow closely behind, so our strategy was for me to get there first in order to secure our boarding privilege. It was such a long way and I was already tired from running and worrying for the last hour. It seemed we made dozen of turns and I had lost sight of Mario and Ravi, but I kept running and look forward to our terminal. Finally it was in sight and at 6PM exactly I handed my tickets to the man at the gate. All of us boarded, seated at separate locations, seat belt fastened at 6:05PM. I breathed a long breath of relieve. We are almost home.
But we haven’t arrived at our beloved yellow house yet. Out of 4 seats, only 2 were together, so Ravi sat with Mario while I carried Maxie the whole way. Though Ravi had no problem with the entire flight, the take-off and descend were extremely painful to Maxie and he cried with all his might. I was extremely thankful that my neighbors looked over at us with sight of pity rather than animosity. The flight was 3 hours long, while iPads were great to keep them entertained, it was very hard to keep the kids in their seat. Ravi loved to crawl under the seats and ran through the passageway, much to the dismay of the flight attendant.
I must have checked my watch every other minute! Finally we touched down and arrived in LA! But my cell was out of battery despite being recently charged. After a quick re-charge, I called my dad to correct our arrival information (United instead of Air Canada). 10 minutes later he arrived at the curb. So close to home… but the drama is not yet over. We couldn’t find our luggage check-in receipts, even though we had them in our hands just minutes ago. Without them the TSA personnel would not let us out of the door. At this point, it was almost too much for us to take and we were on the point of breaking down. I decided to hand the kids to my dad so they could go home first while Mario and I stayed behind to sort out this disaster. Just as I finished putting the kids into their seats, Mario came out with the suitcases beaming. It turned out that they fell onto the floor so he was able to locate them when he looked around. At the same time, the TSA personnel had moved on so it didn’t matter anyway. I didn’t know if I wanted to cry or laugh. But we loaded up the car and finally headed home.
We arrived home 9:40PM and felt instantly at ease. The kids were so happy to finally see their toys again and disappeared to play on their own. I gladly told our adventures to my mom who was preparing for us a late night dinner. The scent of familiarity and sounds of laughter welcomed me home. Home at last. Home sweet home. There is nowhere I would rather be but here.