Iceland 2009 – Entry 1

Where to start? I was thinking of posting as Roc, but honestly thus far I’ve had more of an adventure as good ol’ Marcus J. Dickinson than even the Colonel could imagine…

3:30 PM SUNDAY, TORONTO PEARSON INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

Finally got things sorted with my booking. Helluva way to begin my adventure.

I sat and enjoyed a pleasant meal with my lovely wife at Wolfgang Puck’s. $15 CAD for a burger, but you know what? It was a fantastic burger.

It was going to be a “chance in a lifetime” trip; CCP had invited me to Iceland for Fanfest, and to discuss business opportunities for Capsuleer, along with my partner Chris Whiteford.

Originally, my wife and I had planned on attending Fanfest this year since around March, but with the expense of the wedding, and other unforseen costs, we sadly gave up on it, which was ok.

She has always been incredibly supportive of my endeavours, and knew in my heart of hearts, I wanted to go to Iceland more than anything.

She prayed it would happen.

I had honestly resigned myself to the fact I wasn’t going, and with work as busy as it has been steadily, it wasn’t viable. However, I had previously booked the time off, and due to business, laziness, whatever you want to call it, I never “unbooked” the time allotment.

Then we started corresponding via email with CCP. We were asked if we would be attending. Chris was coming of course, but regrettably, I could not attend.

I made the joke that I’d be happy to come if they would be willing to pay my way.

Two days later, we get the email. We were going to Iceland.

My heart nearly dropped. I was close to having tears in my eyes. My wife was ecstatic and so proud of me.

Chris called, and my shaking hands could barely push the correct button on my iPhone. We were both freaking out.

We finished our meal in the airport, and checked in, walking that long hallway to our final goodbye.

It was bittersweet.

The line moved far more quickly than either of us wished, and instead of the romantic Hollywood passionate kiss with dip I was planning, I was shoved along in the line, and ended up barely able to give her a peck on the lips, then I was gone.

Sadness.

Alright, time to go through customs. No biggie. I took my shoes off, my jacket, emptied my pockets, ooh, my iPhone. I turned it to vibrate. Put it all in a grey plastic tub, then put my backpack on top.

It was just as the Customs lady was handling my backpack that my iPhone decided to vibrate. Without even having to look, I knew it was my business partner, Chris, and I wagered he was trying to prank me. He couldn’t have picked a single better moment.

“Step away from the bag, sir.” The Customs lady said sternly.

“It’s just my phone, I can show you, it’s ….” I replied.

“Step AWAY from the bag, sir.” She repeated, more firmly.

I was surprised how quickly the two burly male customs officials had seized me by the arms, and pulled me out of line.

Sunuvabitch, I thought. I’m gonna kill Chris.

After a chemical swab of all my belongings, and a near naked pat down of myself, I was allowed through customs.

This trip was just getting better and better.

I checked my phone, and sure enough, Chris had called. I called him back, relaying the tale, and he laughed hysterically. I’m sure even now as he reads this blog post, he has tears in his eyes recalling the incident.

I will get you back, bitch. Don’t ever doubt it.

I tried to stay optimistic. It was 6:30 PM. My flight was 7:20PM to Boston, with 90 minutes or so to catch my connecting flight to Iceland. Piece of cake.

I took a seat, and did some reading.

“Attention passengers, flight AC 366 to Boston has been delayed due to poor weather conditions in Boston.”

*grumble.

I hated Air Canada. Every time I had flown with them in my life, something always managed to go wrong, but who was I to complain? I wasn’t the one paying for this trip.

Alright, so the new time of arrival was 8:50 PM. My connecting flight was 9:30 PM. That left 40 minutes to do a transfer in Boston. Doable.

We finally got on the plane, only to experience another 20 minute delay on the Toronto side before lifting from the runway.

The flight was uneventful, though they did give us free drinks to compensate for the delay and potential missed connections.

9:15 BOSTON LOGAN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

The doors to the plane opened far too slowly. I raced out of the terminal, screaming for directions as I went, and found out I had to get to Terminal E. I was in Terminal B.

I ran out the outer doors of the terminal, and saw the terminal shuttle bus there, pulling away. I had been told they only come once every ten minutes.

I had to catch it.

I sprinted about 300m after it, 13 pound backpack bouncing away on my back. Thankfully, airport traffic is nuts, and the bus wasn’t moving when I caught up to it, slammed my palm against the door, and begged him to let me on.

He did, and I made it to Terminal E by 9:22PM.

I flew up four flights of stairs, and sprinted another 400m through the terminal. It was 9:26PM.

I had made it, with four minutes to spare.

I presented my boarding pass.

“We’re sorry, sir.” she began in broken English. “The plane has already departed.”

I waited to catch my breath, which to my surprise, took less than a minute (my personal trainer would be proud), then blasted her with full verbal fury.

It only made things worse.

Half an hour later, I was talking to the Air Canada representative. To his gay credit, he gave me a complimentary suite at a five star hotel across from the airport, an $8 voucher for breakfast, and a $12 voucher for lunch.

Score.

I then asked about my baggage, as I really didn’t want to be without it, you know, clean underwear and all.

I went back to the ticket counter for Icelandair. Nobody was there. Lovely.

I returned to the Air Canada desk for further assistance. Nobody was there. Lovely.

I finally found a general baggage claims area, and after dancing around the issue for about 45 minutes, I finally convinced someone to go into Icelandair’s baggage room and find my bag for me.

There were no bags there.

So, either my bag hadn’t left Toronto, was somewhere in Boston Logan airport, or had already made it to Rekjavik in Iceland to enjoy Fanfest before me.

Lucky baggage.

Finally, I called the shuttle service for the hotel. All I needed to do was checkin, go upstairs, and go to sleep.

“And we just need your credit card for a security deposit. Money will only be withdrawn for additional charges.”

Man…

My Mastercard had been used fraudently the previous week, dropping me to -$31 dollars, and I had been fighting all week with them to dispute it. Don’t get me wrong, the people at Mastercard have been very friendly; they just haven’t gotten any results for me.

Frankly, you can be the biggest prick you want to me, provided you get the results I want.

“I don’t have my credit card this trip, I’m afraid.” I replied, trying to be as charming as possible. My wife would’ve cringed at my transparent attempt, but hell, it worked on her didn’t it? (Sorry honey if you’re reading this).

“Well, we could take a cash deposit.” she said a little flirtatiously.

“That could work, IF I had any American currency. I wasn’t planning on being here in all truth. You take Canadian?”

Back in my youth, I travelled the States a lot. I had noticed that the further south you went, the less likely they were to take Canadian currency. But I was in Boston, in my mind, no problem at all.

“I’m sorry, sir, we don’t.” she replied, a little less than polite now.

“Look, I’m stranded. Icelandair only flies out of Boston once per day, so I have to wait until 9:30PM tomorrow night. I just want to go upstairs, collapse, wake up sometime around noon, then be on my way. I’ll be having a shower, might steal your toothpaste, as I have no baggage either, but that’s about it. Can you please cut me some slack?”

Her fingers glided over the keyboard effortlessly, and a few moments later, she was ready to talk to me again. I waited patiently, silently.

“You look honest, and I feel bad for ya. I’ll waive the deposit. Hope your trip gets better from here.”

I took the room key, flashed her my most charismatic smile, winked her way, then went upstairs to my king size bed.

1:15 AM Hyatt Hotel

I wrapped the warm duvet around me, lost myself in the 8 pillows on the bed, and collapsed into a deep, rewarding sleep.

7 responses to “Iceland 2009 – Entry 1

  1. Just goes to prove that nothing is ever really free! I hope you have a great time and look forward to more reports. Capsuleer is an awesome app and you guys deserve any and all credit that you get for having created it. Have a drink on me!

  2. AWESOME news about Capsuleer & CCP… whatever the news is. I’m just glad their willing to defer to you guys as the experts on the medium, rather than do what most companies would and rip the app off, making it obsolete.

    Have a good trip at the top of the world and keep the daily updates coming!

  3. Mate, I have flown in and out of Logan Airport for many years and this I can tell you. Flights incoming are ALWAYS delayed for weather, traffic and for the simple fact that it’s Logan Airport. I wished I had known that you were going through there, I would have warned you mate. On your way home, you will want to make sure you have a 4 hour window between your connecting flight.

    Trust me on this. I’ve spent many hours circling Logan Airport waiting to land on both domestic and international flights. I’ve had landing delays after we have taken off of 3 hours on a 90 minute flight. No air carrier going into Logan is any better than any other. It’s the airport, it’s cursed or something.

  4. Fun times. I’m going to try my darnest to join you next year. I might have to settle for PAX East. Wanna come with me to that?

    Gotta love customs eh? 😉

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