Friday, March 29, 2019

Away for the holidays - New York to Vancouver

The flight from Newark via Air Canada to Vancouver is about 5:30pm so we are slated to be picked up by the limousine about 2:30.

We have to be out of our room by 11am so we decided the day before that on our last day in New York we'd go to the Times Square red lobster.
It gives us about three hours to get there, eat, and get back.

It's always fun packing bags the day you leave, so most of the hard work was done earlier.  This time it's particularly a trial because we have so much stuff to fit into a small space, and weight considerations are always paramount because of the 23kg limit.

Outside is has gone from minus four to minus two in the two hours before we leave the hotel at 11:30, but that's not so much of a problem because we have a long walk from 56th street to 41st street to warm us up.

At least today it's not so cold, as it has been previously.

At Red Lobster it's not difficult to make a decision on what to have, the mix and match special, with Lobster alfredo, filet mignon, and parrot island coconut shrimp, with walts special, though what that will remain a surprise until it is served.

To drink, it was the Blue moon beer, wheat type.

For appetizers, we had scones that are supposedly bread but to me are dipped in garlic butter and baked like a scone. Australian style.  They are absolutely delicious.

There is an expression a one drink screamer and we've got one, but the truth is the drinks are very lethal.  Pure alcohol and ice with a touch of soda.

The meals at this Red Lobster are definitely better than those we had in Vancouver, except for the pasta with lobster I had which was little more than a tasteless congealed mess after it reached the table.  This did not detract from the deliciously cooked and served seafood that accompanied it.

All in all, after such a great lunch and the thought of having to walk ten blocks the decision was unanimous to get a cab which took us back to the hotel by a rather interesting, if not exactly the most direct, route.  I think the driver guessed we were tourists.

We are picked up at the hotel by a driver in a large Toyota which had enough space for 3 passengers and all our bags.  The driver was chatty and being foreign, preferred soccer to the other traditional American sport.  Don't ask me how the conversation turned to sports, but we may have mentioned we went to the ice hockey.

At Newark airport, all I have room for is a glass of burned beer, whatever that means, though it has an odd taste, and a Samuel Adams 76 special which was rather tasty.

Today we are flying in a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner with a maximum of 298 passengers in three classes.

It looks very new even though it is about 6 months old.  It has seating of 3 x 3 x 3, and we are in row 19, just behind the premium economy cabin, and the closest to the front of the plane of all the Air Canada flights.

Engine startup is loud at the lower revolutions with the vibration going through the airframe.  Like all planes, the flaps being extended is very noisy.  All of the vibrations go away when the engines are up to speed.  On take off the engines at max are not as noisy and other planes and relatively quiet.  It will be interesting to see what the landing is like.

In flight when not experiencing turbulence the ride is very smooth and reasonably quiet which is better than the other planes with seeming continuous engine whining and the flow of air past the fuselage.

The seats are comfortable but still just a little small and the middle passenger can be tightly squeezed in if the two either side are larger than normal.  The seats fully recline but the seat back is not completely in your face, and bearable when you recline your own seat.

There are several seats by the toilets that would be terrible on a long distance flight because the passenger inevitably comes very close to the seat when entering and leaving.  As for the toilets, they are larger than any of the other airplanes, and so too, coincidentally, are the windows.

The plane also makes the same amount of noise when it lands so I'm failing to see what's so good about it.  I've also been in an Airbus A350 and those planes are nothing to write home about either.

I suspect the only advantages of having planes is for airlines.  Fewer costs and more sardined passengers.

It's something else I can write off my bucket list.

When we arrive back in Vancouver it's the same reasonably simple process to get through immigration.

Outside our driver is waiting and this time we have an Escalade picking us up. A very large SUV that fits us all and our luggage.


We were lucky because we were supposed to be picked up in a sedan and the baggage would not have fitted which would have involved one of us taking a cab with the extra luggage.

He was in the neighborhood and picked up the call.  His advice, called the service and request a bigger car and pay the difference.  We did.  It was going to cost another 20 dollars.

As for the hotel,  what is it with hotels and late night arrivals.  We get in, the check-in was smooth, we get to the room. Very large with a separate bedroom. But only a sofa bed.

It was not a desirable option, not before 24 hours in relatively squashed plane seats, so it necessitated a change of rooms to one a bit smaller, but a corner room with a reasonable view, and two proper beds.

Late night, need rest, but we have a free breakfast so there will be no tarrying next morning.  We have to be down by 9am being a Sunday.

Besides, we have a mission.  There is a toys are us nearby and it does have the toy we want.  All we need to find is a cab.

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