With a 5am wake-up we gave ourselves plenty of time to ensure we were all packed, the apartment was clean and ready for its visitors, and we could get out the door without feeling rushed. We had a mini-van taxi already booked and when we peaked out the door 15 minutes early it was already there waiting for us. Our neighbour Beverly watched as we found a way to load our bikes and bags into the van saw us off.
We arrived to the airport with plenty of time. Check-in was smooth though there was still some processing time and a fee of $220. This we were prepared for as we knew of the fee of $25 for the first bag, $35 for the second (the bike), plus $50 handling fee for a bike. All times two. The flight was relatively cheap so I won’t complain about the extra fees added for people travelling with additional luggage. However we hoped the baggage handlers earned their $100 we paid for the safe transportation of our bikes.
“It’s not good if you quit your job right before coming to the US” – American customs
Going through American customs in the Montreal airport we had quite a few questions to answer. Were we bringing in food? How long were we staying? What exactly is it you are doing? What do you do for work? I was told that saying I just quit my job was not something US customs appreciates when they’re screening new arrivals – though she said because she didn’t expect we were going to go live in the US it was okay and with a bit of a smirk she let us through.
A quick and uneventful flight to Chicago gave me a chance to see what the show The Good Wife (thanks for the recommendation Magda) is all about – realizing it has Mr. Big, Chandler and Logan was initially distracting but maybe after a few episodes I would get used to that, and then seeing that HBO’s Girls season 2 was also available to watch also helped the time pass quickly.
Chicago brought us the smells of popcorn, cinnamon rolls, and McDonalds. However we opted for two personal deep dish pizzas to mark our time in Chicago.
The next flight from Chicago to San Diego was also thankfully uneventful. It did however make me realize how great it is to be able to listen to music during take off (which is allowed if it’s the airline’s onDemand system) and specifically I discovered that Coldplay’s Every teardrop song is particularly good for this.
Arrival, baggage claim and the taxi service in San Diego also went smoothly. We had prebooked a taxi with Flex Transportation, and once I turned on my phone I had a text saying they were at the airport waiting. With no customs to go through, we were surprised to walk out of the arrival area and be right there next to the street. All our bags and boxes were waiting. We grabbed a United Airlines cart to shuttle our things the few meters to the road but the porter saw us and insisted on pushing the cart for us. He just wanted a tip and that worked better than the $4 cart rental option.
We found our taxi, a friendly driver who took us to our Warm Showers hosts Brad & Ann. They were waiting for us and set us up in a bedroom. We met their daughter who also flew in a bit later that night, then after Jesse did a quick visual check on the bikes we went to sleep – tired from the long day but relieved that everything had gone well.