Mawlers’ Big Adventure ’04:
Harsh Reality - Edmonton to BWI

Sunday, 22 August 2004

It is sad to be waking up on our last morning in Canada. The only thing that would make it better would be… Flying first class! Strangely, we have actually been looking forward to a bit of pampering on the flight back home.

So, after the short shuttle ride, we drag our bursting bags to customs. The customs fellow asks what one item we are taking back with us that is the most expensive. Lea Ann picks the small carvings we bought in Tuktoyaktuk. While this is probably a good answer, it arouses suspicions, and the officer quickly asks what they are made of and, in a rare display of mental acuity, I return even more quickly "not ivory". The officer smiles and says "good answer".

Next comes security. Because we are carrying several hundred dollars worth of medium format film (just counting supplies, processing, and printing), we are going to ask for a hand-check of each roll. With the hand-check, the film does not ride on the belt. Contrary to what you might think, the x-ray machine is not the problem; it is the motor in the belt.

You are allowed to ask for your film to be hand-checked, though they are not required to be thrilled about it. They will claim, as these folks do, that there is no impact to film where the ISO/ASA is less than 32000, but other, more reliable sources like Kodak, disagree. We try to arrive at security a bit early on trips like this, so that we can go through the added hassle of having them check every single roll.

As it turns out, the two guys checking our bags are avid photographers, so they are more than happy to talk cameras and lenses. They correctly identify the Bronica 6x4.5 in the camera bag. In all the trips we have taken, no one has made any mention of the cameras, so this is kind of fun.

Beyond that, the trip is blissfully uneventful. I am able to read an entire book that I have been wanting to read since we bought it on our first day in Edmonton (The Time Traveler’s Wife). We have good food, some free alcohol. Yeah a good trip.

The trip is made even better because we know our friends are meeting us at the airport.

Doug & Randal surprise us by being at the baggage area ahead of us. They give us a basket containing a stuffed moose, a bag of organic trail mix, and three packages of all natural ramen noodles. This is to ease our transition back to "reality". Who could ask for better friends? Or a better welcome home, for that matter?

Sadly, the all-natural ramen noodles are not as good as the ones made with MSG.

Leaving the airport, we are short one bag, but they promise to send it to us because it got on the flight after ours. (They do send it to us, by the way.)

The cats are mildly happy to see us, but seem, frankly, more sad to see Barbara leave. We could not be happier about how the cats have treated Barbara; it goes to prove what a good choice she is to watch over them and the house. Thanks, Barbara.

I guess this reality is not all that harsh.

Now we just need to finish the travelogue.

The previous installment:
Jeep (part 2) - The Final Conclusion

The next installment:
Metaphysical Musings

Back to Great White North Trip main page

Back to Mawler Home

All materials © 2004 Lea Ann Mawler & Stuart Mawler