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Tuesday, 25 December 2012

#61: Bite-sized Chunks of the Big Apple — Part Two

This time I was pulled aside and asked if my backpack was my backpack?

“Yes,” I replied. They then asked me if I had a screwdriver in the bottom pocket? Oops. I’d clean forgotten I’d stashed it there to help remove my Shaw Cable black-box when I moved in September (even though I ended up just ripping the thing off the wall without too much of a fuss).

So I was forced to relinquish my $2 Canadian Tire (these guys are getting plugs galore) Philips special and smile nicely. After I finally got the green light to head to the Departures lounge, I removed about eight of my 15 layers of clothing (well, when you’re only Carrying-On and you have marathon kit to transport…) and headed to the gate.

We took off right on time around 9am from YVR. I shared a row with another New York marathoner, Jeff, and his wife, Christine. Jeff was frantically trying to complete his first First Half Half-Marathon registration attempt via i-Phone as we sat on the runway.

His luck was out then, but he received an e-mail while we waited for the connecting flight in Ottawa, saying he had first dibs on a spot, as his registration had been half-processed (before the system exploded due the number of people trying to enrol). So his luck was back in again.

I had KO & Rick doing the entry work on my behalf (thanks guys!) to avoid any extra franticness at the airport.  It was an Air Canada flight, so we had TV screens in the back of our seats.

Mine was on the blink, but Christine very kindly donated me hers, so I was able to kill time watching Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg’s comedy The Other Guys. An excellent flick and a smooth flight. Plus, blissfully, no screaming kids.

We were delayed in Ottawa a couple of hours, which was just as well as I got detained in immigration for not having an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) – part of the new US VWP (Visa Waiver Program) for foreign nationals (who aren’t Canadian Citizens).

The Air Canada guy at the YVR departure gate had said it probably wasn’t necessary, so I chose to ride my luck. Any mention of ESTA, just made me think of Esther… Rantzen (UK reference alert) – and, Sod’s Law, I did need one. That’s life, I guess... ;o)

I got released at just before 5:30pm – and raced...

To read the rest of this column, check out BC Johnny's upcoming book: Chilled Almonds.

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