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Archive for August, 2012

Olympic Rings

I’ve got the fever. I’ve spent the last week and a half trying to keep up with all this Olympic action. I really do enjoy watching highly skilled athletes competing in all these different sports, many of which I have never heard of before and won’t watch again for another 4 years.

This all leads to the question: Who I am supposed to root for? I’m an American living in Canada so where should my loyalty lie? I have to admit; I may live in the land of red and white, but my heart bleeds red, white, and blue.

I can’t help it. When I see the stars and stripes and hear the star-spangled banner I get all misty eyed. Whether it’s our recent Women’s gymnastics team gold medal or Michael Phelps record-breaking medal haul, I get a sense of pride. I can’t help cheering. Whether diving or track and field, I love seeing the USA come out on top. I think that’s what the Olympics bring out in all of us. It’s not so much the actual sports were glued to, but the athletes themselves. We follow the highs of their triumphs and the lows of their disappointments. It’s that feeling of Patriotism and believing in your athletes.

There is however, one arena in which the Canadians win hands down; their television coverage, this year on the CTV network. Imagine sitting down and seeing events, live as they happen and not, the pre-packaged NBC coverage. Every Olympics, it’s the same deal with NBC. They refuse to show events live in order to “save” them for their nightly prime time package. In this world of social media and 24hr access, I’m not sure what exactly they’re saving. I can somewhat buy it during the week, but on weekends? When Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte were having their first dual in the pool, it was live on CTV. What was NBC showing? Preliminary beach volleyball. The Mens 100m, considered the marquee event of the Olympics, with Usain Bolt trying to repeat as “the world’s fastest man” took place at 4:50PM E.S.T on a Sunday Afternoon. CTV carried it live while NBC was showing Water Polo.

For me in the Olympics its USA all the way! But I think I’ll watch it on Canadian TV.

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If you missed Part One,  and the exciting details of my outgoing trip, click here.

As promised, here is the account of my trip back to Toronto

 July 26

8:00 AM- Leave relative’s house for train station to take railroad to the city. Looks like it will rain.

8:30- Arrive at Huntington train station on Long Island. Buy ticket to Penn Station.

8:55- Board train to Penn Station. Take up more than one seat with luggage.

9:30- Mid-point of train trip. It is raining very hard right now. Train is getting crowded. Getting stares from wet passengers for taking up more than one seat.

10:10- Arrive at Penn Station. Have to walk about 8 blocks to Megabus stop. Still raining out. Have to navigate crowded city with luggage and umbrella.

10:45- Find bus stop. It is outside and uncovered. Glad it has stopped raining. There is already a line of people.

12:00- Estimated Departure time. We have yet to board the bus.

12:15-  Start to board the bus. Again faced with decision of whether to go upstairs or downstairs. Family with several children heads upstairs. Decide to sit downstairs.

12:30- Pull out to begin return trip to Toronto

3:00- Make rest stop. Decide not to buy any food at this time, but get off bus to stretch legs and use bathroom.

5:00- Make scheduled stop in Syracuse. Buy sandwich from Subway.

6:00- Enjoying my turkey Sub. Bus driver suddenly pulls off thruway and announces we have forgotten a passenger and are returning to Syracuse, 38 miles away. Talk with angry passengers about inconsiderate passenger.

7:30- Arrive in Syracuse, again. The forgotten passenger is nowhere to be found.

7:45- Forgotten passenger found inside terminal, an older, confused woman. We forgive her. Passenger anger now turned towards driver.

8:00 – Leave Syracuse for the second time.

10:00- Arrive at border crossing-customs and immigration. Once again, gather my belongings and pass through quickly. Canadian border agents not as happy to see me as American agents.

10:30- Two mysterious pieces of unclaimed luggage noticed. Turn out to belong to the forgotten passenger from Syracuse. Crisis averted.

11:00-Two passengers delaying us from leaving. Remaining passengers leave overheated bus to wait outside and yell at bus driver.

11:45- Leave border: Final destination Toronto.

1:15- Finally arrive at downtown Toronto bus terminal. Wait for luggage to be unloaded from bus. Grab taxi for home.

1:40- Arrive home almost 18 hours after leaving Long Island. Take anti nausea pill to help me fall asleep. (See first leg of trip)

Well that’s my trip. Would I do it again? I don’t know. It was a very long, yet interesting trip. It was extremely tiring but was a lot cheaper.
Are there any other bus travellers out there? Is there anyone who actually prefers this mode of travel to flying?

Leave me a comment and let me know.

 

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I try to get back home to the United States at least once a year. Recently, I took a bus round trip from Toronto to New York. I had once promised myself I would never take such a long bus trip again. But with rising airfares, I decided to give the Megabus (www.megabus.com) a try.

How did it go?

Here is an account of my trip:

July 14th

8:00 PM- Leave my house by public transit to arrive at the bus terminal with plenty of time to line-up early and board the bus to select my seat. Fall over my luggage and bruise knee.

8:45- Arrive at the Toronto bus terminal. Look around at the clientele. Nobody looks too suspicious. Sit and relax while waiting to line up for my bus.

9:15- Realize there is already a long line for the New York bus. Hurry to get in line.

9:45- Board bus and faced with decision whether to sit upstairs or downstairs on the Double Decker bus. Bus is very dark inside. I can’t see where I am going. Decide to sit downstairs so I don’t have to navigate stairs in darkness.

10:00- Bus departs. My plan is to tire myself until the border crossing in order to sleep better. Wi-fi not working on my iPod. Use music and Angry Birds to keep myself awake for the next two hours.

12:00- Arrive at Border for customs and Immigration. Gather all my belongings as instructed and cross over problem free. I’m American, they’re happy to see me and welcome me back. Return to the bus and hope that other passengers don’t delay the process.

1:00- Other passengers are delaying the process. Decide to call it a night. Eat a cookie and take an anti-nausea pill in order to fall asleep.

2:00- Pull out of customs to continue trip to New York. Feel myself getting tired and try drifting asleep. Bus is very quiet as other passengers also trying to sleep.

4:30- Jolted awake by bus driver loudly announcing rest stop. Make my way out of the bus bleary eyed to use public bathroom with other female passengers from bus. Get back on bus try to fall back asleep.

4:30-6:30- Sleep on and off, waking constantly due to uncomfortable seats.

7:00- See that it’s light out and consider myself awake. Eat breakfast bar.

8:15- Time of arrival in New York City. Realize we are nowhere near New York City.

10:00- Finally arrive in New York. Walk 5 blocks to Penn Station to catch 10:15 train to Long Island.

10:15- Arrive at Penn Station. Watch 10:15 train leave. Buy ticket for later train from surly agent.

10:25- Board train to Long Island.

11:25- Arrive in Huntington, New York. Look for relative picking me up at train station.

11:30- Find relative. Decline welcoming hug until teeth can be brushed and clothes can be changed.

12:00- Arrive at relatives. Brush teeth.

12:30- More than 16 hours after I left my house back in Toronto, finally ready to begin my visit with relatives.

To be continued…

For my return trip, click here

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