Hello again my dear reader,
where was I? Ah, yes, immigration and customs in Toronto.
Canada is usually a place known for its polite and helpful people. This was true to a large extent for us when we got to Toronto, except for one notable exception. When we arrived, we had to pick up our luggage. This is because our next flight was at 08:30 the following morning while we arrived at 20:00 on the 27th of December. There was some effort involved in getting the luggage since we had so much of it. Also, we had to pay for the luggage trolleys and one of them only turned in one direction. So, I mostly looked like an idiot performing outlandish turns to go where we wanted to go. On the plus side, everything arrived intact, even the Brompton bike so we were quite pleased about that.
Getting off the plane, the Canadian authorities had a pre-immigration check. They just opened the passports of all passengers and looked to see if they had a valid visa or were exempt from getting one. Because of the problem of gypsies with Czech passports trying to get into Canada, Czech people now require a visa even for transit via Canada. Luckily, we had the time to get this for Jitka so we were OK. Greeks don’t need one so I was OK too. They didn’t seem to mind about us having Athena, they just told us that she can’t come out of the bag until we clear customs. This was a little annoying since the poor dog had been in the bag for 10 hours by this point but we didn’t have much choice, so she had to suffer a little longer.
After picking up our luggage and having to manipulate the wonky trolley, we got to customs. Some dickhead at the passport check before customs got me really upset though. This chap saw the dog and asked whether she’s not too big for the bag that she was in. I replied that she’s not too big and that I have a letter from the vet saying that the bag is the right size so she wouldn’t be inconvenienced too much. Plus, Athena can actually turn around in the bag and stretch out. Then, this turd of a man had the audacity to say that it’s animal cruelty to put the dog in the vet-prescribed bag. So, I stopped for a moment, turned to him and said: “Why don’t you stick to your job and leave us alone? I won’t have you or any other person talk badly about the dog bag, OK? So, you just do your thing and leave us alone…”. I don’t know and don’t care what that sorry excuse of a man said after this, I was too enraged. So, I carried on to customs…
There we were met by the kindest and nicest man you can ever expect to meet. He was polite and professional, played with Athena a little, allowed me to open a window in the travel bag so she can stick her head out. He immediately noticed that I was fuming, there must have been smoke coming out of my ears. He enquired as to why and I mentioned that we had an altercation with that man at the gate. He wanted more details so he could take action but I decided to take the high road and say that we don’t want to officially complain. I don’t know why I didn’t feel like complaining, I guess I just wanted to get some sleep after the exhausting day and flight we had just come off.
It’s late in the evening by this point. So, I went to a travel information office and spoke to this lovely old lady who found us a room in a pet friendly hotel in the area and a free shuttle bus to the hotel. We stayed at the Comfort Inn on Airport Road in Toronto. Prior to this, we had our luggage stored near aisle A of the departure lounge because a luggage store also offers a storage service. This store was found after advice by the nice man at customs in Canada, what a helpful guy he was. So, a free shuttle bus ride later, 5 minutes for check-in and 20 minutes for both of us to shower and change, we finally made it to bed. Oh, and what pleasure it was… we had got up almost 24 hours before, suffered all the stress of travelling with Athena, got enraged by the small minded little turd at Toronto airport only to then be impressed by every other service we received in Toronto and were finally in bed. We arranged for a 5:30 wake-up call so we could get the 06:00 shuttle back to the airport and slept soundly until then.
But, look at this, I’m blathering again. I’ll finish this post now and write about the Toronto to Bermuda part in the next post. I hope that Jitka will also contribute some posts but I’m not sure if she can be bothered, as usual. Anyway, please check back soon!