Travel slowly, staying in vacation rentals (villas, farms, cottages, apartments)
Report 926: My Dream Trip To Italy and France
By BGE from Fox Creek, Alberta, Canada, Spring 2005
Page 35 of 38: A Little Bit Happy, A Little Bit Sad...
My alarm rings early, and I am up and ready to go home, at last. After saying goodbye to my lovely apartment, my taxi takes me to CDG. I have to find the refund place for my tax refund. It is almost invisible! Must be a good way to keep all us tourists from collecting, I think! After several wrong turns, I finally find the person and the place... getting the refund is deceptively simple, after how difficult it is to find the refund wicket. I promised my son that I’d call him from the airport, so I go to a payphone.
I cannot use coins.
I need a phone card.
I buy one with my VISA, and it doesn’t work.
I buy ANOTHER one on my VISA and it doesn’t work, either.
Finally, the owner of the shop where I am buying these cards shows me how to use them.
Air Canada provides an amazingly good flight home. Maybe in comparison to the wretched flight over, it seems extra-good. I have an excellent seat, good food and very attentive flight attendants. The movie is funny, the trip seems short. Eight hours and 20 minutes goes by in a flash and we are landing in Toronto.
On my way out of the airport with my luggage on a cart, a guy in a white shirt and black tie runs over to me, takes my cart from me and says, “You want a taxi, Ma’am? Come this way, please!” Thinking that this is a new service for the lines of taxis outside the terminal, I surrender my cart to him, and follow along behind him.
We go through the terminal, to an elevator, and I’m now getting a little uneasy with this guy. Once in the elevator, he stops it at the parking level. He pushes my cart outside of the elevator and starts running across the parkade.
“Stop!” I tell him. He stops and looks over his shoulder at me.
“Are you a cabdriver? And, for what company?” I ask.
“uhhhhh, I’m private,” he mutters.
Grabbing my cart back from him, I tell him I’m not interested in hiring him and I want him to leave me alone right NOW. He looks at me disgustedly, turns on his heels and runs back into the terminal. The last thing I see of him, he is taking a cart from another woman, telling her to follow him.
This is very scary for me. I’m thinking of all the permutations and combinations of things that could have gone wrong with this creep, if I’d not stopped him in his tracks. It was only my intuition that made me take action in the parking garage. Thank goodness for my intuition!
I am staying at the same hotel in Toronto that I stayed in before, on my way to Europe. It is a good place to stay, clean and comfortable and not too far from the airport.
Tomorrow, I will sleep in my own bed, hug my family, drink tea from my own cup and talk on a phone that works, whenever I want or need it to work. I’ll be able to get in my car and go wherever I want, whenever I want. Things I take for granted when I am at home suddenly seem so much more special when I am away from them. It will feel good to be back home again.
As much as this trip has been a delightful experience for the most part, I truly miss my family, my home and my life. Right now, all I want is a glass of ice water with lots of lemon wedges, a huge platter of salad and then a long soak in a hot tub before bed.
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