Just over a week ago, I had the opportunity to once again visit lovely Vancouver, Canada, a city I’ve frequently spent a day or so in for various grant-related review panels, strategy meetings, and the like. Always fly-in, fly-out, unfortunately – the last occasion on which I spent any time there was… actually I don’t remember the year, but it was in the mid-1990’s sometime.
I had grand plans in mind to meet up with Cath, since my last visit (yet another grant panel review) was another arrive/edit presentation/sleep/get up for early morning strategy meeting/attend panel/leave immediately jaunt, that didn’t allow even an extra millisecond for socializing.
Did these plans pan out? No, they did not.
One peculiarity of living in a country this big is that the time zones can really, really mess up your plans. On the way west, I elected to work a full day, and fly out at about 8:30 in the evening. The four and a half hour flight, coupled with a three hour time difference in the other direction (so to speak), means that the whole trip put only an hour and a half on the clock. 10:00 PM is still a reasonable time to arrive, although I was flagging pretty badly by the time I’d checked in to the hotel, my internal clock believing it to be nearly two in the morning.
East-to-west advantage: full day of work can be put in before leaving. Disadvantage: leaves no time for socializing with Vancouverites. I was staying at the airport hotel, which is wonderfully convenient to the airport, but not to anything much else.
The trip back, by contrast, takes nearly eight hours of “clock time”. Since airplanes don’t land in Toronto in the wee hours of the morning due to municipal noise regulations, this means either leaving Vancouver by about 4:30 PM, so as to land before midnight, or considerably later so as to arrive after about 6:00 AM. Which translates to option (a), spending most of the evening at the airport and arriving in Toronto dead-tired, early in the morning, option (b) staying another night in the fabulously swishy airport Fairmont, at taxpayers’ expense, leaving early in the morning and essentially losing all of the following day to travel, or (c) leaving right after the meeting, catching the last plane out and missing any opportunity to meet up with Vancouver colleagues – again. Not wanting to either wipe out my Saturday, or hang around the airport for hours, I opted for (c).
So the mini-Occam’s Typewriter meet-up that could have occurred was kind of a non-starter, and I hope Cath didn’t take offense at my lack of determination to come and say hello. Doubtless I will be back at YVR some time in the not-too-distant future, and maybe we can make it work on one of those occasions. Until then, we’ll have to remain twenty-first-century Twitter/blog/email acquaintances – as I am with the rest of OT’s bloggers.
If you’re wondering about the lack of pictures – the airport wasn’t exactly photogenic. And my photos of it were crap.