We had a good landing and I was out at the bus stop by 20 to 11. I was aiming for the 12:45 ferry from Tswassen, and was to call Marc to come pick me up when I arrived at the ferry terminal. He promised to be hovering around the phone so that Mum or Dad wouldn't pick it up and spoil the surprise. I spent a few moments concocting a cover story just in case they did answer. The bus arrived, but the driver told me that he wasn't leaving again for 20 minutes. I took refuge from the sun in the terminal building and came back out when he opened the doors to let people in. Got off at the Ladner Exchange and found that I had to wait another 20 minutes for the bus to the ferry - it wasn't to leave until 12:23. I got nervous. Two people who'd had their bikes carried on the front of the bus they were on took off to ride to the terminal. Another man walked over to the McDonald's and got a coffee. I shifted around to get away from the smokers and ended up talking with a woman who was going over to Victoria for the day. I have a feeling that I might know her son who goes to Ryerson in Toronto, I have to check if the person I'm thinking of is really him. She recommended a few vegetarian restaurants in Vancouver for my return trip, and also reassured me that we were only about 15 minutes from the ferry. The bus arrived and then sat waiting for another bus to arrive so they could get the connecting passengers. I got even more nervous - the next sailing to Nanaimo wasn't until 3:15. A man from Montreal was chatting with a few of the other passengers and commented on how odd it felt to be speaking English on the bus. We took off and it turned out to be an express, and I got to the ticket booth just 10 minutes before sailing, ran up the ramp, checked my watch and decided I could spare a minute to call Marc to confirm I'd made the sailing I said I would. Luckily he answered and I gave him the info quickly then dashed onto the ferry proper. Of course it didn't sail for another 15 minutes.
The crossing was smooth, and since the weather was nice, I decided against dozing in the big comfy chair by the window and instead walked outside to doze. I spent most of the trip on the sun deck, watching the mountains go by. The water looked a bit more brown than I remembered, but Marc suggested that it was from the Fraser River spilling out into the Straight of Georgia. We actually passed a line in the water where the sea weeds started growing, and the water became a darker blue colour. I settled in the shade and watched the mountains, the sun bathers, and the kids running around the deck. A group of girls followed a pair of guys around for a while, with much giggling and hiding. It was amusing. :) We turned to make the approach to Duke Point and the ferry nuzzled up to the dock. I had moved to the forward cabin and debarked in the middle of the cloud of foot passengers. I spotted Marc hiding behind a group of guys and forced a hug on him. :) He then forced me to submit to his music on the drive up to Comox, about an hour and a half or so. His CD player was quite neat in that it transmits so the radio can pick up the music, no wires but for the power connection.
He kept to the speed limit since there were lots of RCMP speed traps on the North Island Highway, but we made it to Courtney eventually. We turned there to go out onto the peninsula that Comox lies on, and stopped in front of the house. I'd only been here in winter since they 'retired' here, and it was nice to see the rose bushes in bloom, and the ivy edging the steps. Marc subdued Duke (a 140lb Lab-Newfie cross who's quite pleased to greet strangers with lots of slobber and whacking with his club that masquerades as a tail) and kicked him outside to calm down, and I fell down on the couch and didn't move for a while. I eventually grabbed a muffin and we waited for our parents to get back from church. I lay down on the couch to read so that they wouldn't be able to see me through the living room window, but sat up when they were at the door. Mum walked in and was talking to Marc, and walking towards the kitchen, not looking at me at all. I convulsed in silent laughter and must have waved or something, since she finally looked up. She almost fainted and dropped the groceries she had in her hand. It was priceless. :) After she picked up her jaw from the ground, she ran to give me a hug and sat in shock beside me for a while. Dad merely gave me a raised eyebrow and widened eyes then came to give me a hug. He wasn't quite so surprised since he knew I was off work and had thought about suggesting that I come out for a visit. I reassured Mum that I'd eat the supper she had planned and we decided I'd take over my sister's room since she was currently in Australia. I'd talked to Sue earlier that week, and another part of my visit was to reassure Mum that she did in fact have daughters still. Only Marc is still living in BC right now, going to UNBC in Prince George and living with them while he works in Comox for the summer.
We ate supper and then I brought out the photos I'd taken of my trips, giving Dad doubles from the visit to Saint John. I barely lasted to 9pm, due to the time change and having woken up at 3:30am PST, so headed down to the basement and just crashed.
As the show was finishing up, we decided to start walking back to the bus stop to beat the crowds. Dad ran off to see if he'd won the raffle draw and we panicked a bit as we lost each other. I'd set a meeting point by the stairs up to the hanger line, and planted myself there to wait. Dad found me and we managed to stop Mum from having them announce a message for him. I ignored their continuing bickering over who's fault it was and led the way to the bus stop. :) We walked back to the house from where they let us off, and did a quick change for dinner. They took me out to the Kingfisher resort restaurant right on the water. There wasn't a ton of seafood on the menu, or at least the lobster and crab were conspicuously absent, but I enjoyed the trio of salmon, halibut and oyster that I had. I gave in and had a polar bear (hot chocolate with shots of kalhua and peppermint schnapps) with the mud pie to overload my system on chocolate. They rolled me out to the car and we drove home. I read for a bit then went to sleep early again.
I drove us down the hill to Courtney, and we had a gorgeous view of the Comox glacier on the way down. I dropped off my film for one hour processing, just to make sure that the picture I needed came out, and then home. Mum went to pick up Marc, we had supper, and I read for a bit until Dad took me to pick up the film. I showed off the pictures from my trip south and then labelled them and put them in my album. I read for a bit, then tutored Dad at the computer, setting him up with a hotmail account and stepping him through the accounting program that I'd bought for him, and set up his customer list in.
The flight wasn't very full, and I had two seats to myself. I ignored the movie, The Out of Towners, expect for the scenes with John Cleese. They played the same episode of The Nanny as they had westbound. I read the EnRoute magazine and my book. As the sun went down, the moon came out and the stars were very bright and clear. The sky slowly lost it's brightness, shading down into deep purple, with a hint of yellow left at the western horizon. I closed my book, turned off my reading light, and just sat looking out the window. There's something very magical about flying through the night, with moon and star light illuminating the cloud tops.
Eventually, we began the decent and bumped through a bit of turbulence on the way through the
clouds. I sat and waited for my backpack, swaying a bit with tiredness. It came out finally, and
I freed it from the plastic bag they'd placed it in to stop the straps from catching on anything.
I found the GO bus stop and waited. And waited. And waited some more. I'd apparently just
missed the last one, and when I found I had 20 more minutes until the bus arrived, I went in to
find a bank machine so I could get the cash to grab a cab home - I'd be home in 15 minutes by
car. The bank machine informed me that my balance was $29.95 and hence I didn't have enough
to pay for a cab (it had only cost me $30 to get there, but airport taxis are always more
expensive the other way), since it would only give out $20 bills. I ranted under my breath and
kicked things a bit, since I knew that three days ago I'd had a hell of a lot more money than that
in my account. I went back out to the bus stop and waited some more. When it arrived, it had
the wrong sign in the window, but I asked and verified that they were going to Toronto, not
Brampton. Caught the subway quickly, had a bit of a wait for the streetcar, but made it home.
Called my bank and found out that it was just an ATM glitch, probably due to updating, and that
my balance was what I thought it should be. Breathed a sigh of relief, sent email to my brother
and father that I'd arrived, and crashed. Now it's off to Detroit for an evening to see the
Cruxshadows play, finally! :)