Greetings from Texas

Here I am with my good friends Kees and Sandy in Austin, Texas, after something of an adventurous journey from Wimbledon, England. I couldn’t for the life of me tell you how long the trip has taken but it is definitely TEA TIME here and probably something like Sparrow’s Fart at home.

I’d better start with an apology to all Canadians because my first encounter with their country was something that I’m going to have to work quite hard to forget. A cheap flight to the United States via Toronto had seemed like a good idea at the time (how often have you heard that  in my travel adventures before?) but I had completely reckoned without the ever-spreading tendrils of Homeland Security. Having to clear American Immigration, Customs and Security while still on the soil of an intermediate country was something of a surprise and, if a late arrival is factored in to an already short transfer, we are rapidly approaching Heart Attack City.

For the sake of both my blood pressure and my chances of being re-admitted to either country, it’s probably better if I change the subject at this point. Photography at airports is always problematic but my camera must have been set to autopilot because picture 01 (CN tower with maple leaf) has come out rather well. From this stage onwards all food and beverages were going to need to be purchased with real money but I still hoped that there would be plenty of currency exchanges open when I arrived at Dallas and made do with “complementary” water. Of course I had not calculated on being deposited in the United States in a domestic terminal and it was strictly “make do” from that point onwards.

Fortunately there was a free bus service to the International terminal but, not so fortunately, everything was closed by the time I got there. Somewhere around 3am the next day (local time) a chap arrived with some leftover sandwiches from a nearby hotel and you can probably imagine how much I appreciated this act of kindness. There was a free phoneline to the Supershuttle reservation desk and I was extremely relieved to hear a human voice at the other end. The staff must have thought they were part of some sort of emergency crisis counselling service as I called them up several times throughout the night for reassurance that someone was going to be able to find me and get me downtown in time for the Austin bus.

This mode of travel may all sound a bit unnecessary for a woman of my age but the comfort and efficiency of my first ever Greyhound ride made it all worthwhile. Here is a copy if the first e-mail from America:

I’m on my bus from Dallas to Austin. There is free wifi on the Greyhound, more legroom, helpful staff and even a loo at the back of the bus for emergencies. The security guy laughed when I went out to take a photo of the sign but I said “everyone has to have their first Greyhound experience sometime”. I doubt very much that it will be my last. This almost makes up for the nightmare that was the Air Canada transfer at Toronto but let’s look for the positive. I’m in TEXAS now. YEEE HAWWWW!!!!! 

When my friends met me at the bus station they remarked that my advanced-purchase, on-line, print-at-home bus ticket had cost less than they used to pay as students x$%&! years ago. Next stop breakfast.

In my next post I hope to explain precisely what it is I have been saving all my money up for.

Categories: North America

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