Friday, May 15, 2009

The arrival, Part 1: From Bucaramanga to Toronto

Our glorious arrival to Canada... wouldn’t happen before we said good-bye to our loved ones. And it was hard to do... actually, still is.

We prepared ourselves during a long time for things such as the weather, language, finding a job, but we never quite thought before what we were suppoused to do the day our mothers will be left behind, crying our departure. It’s tough!!! We barely caught the flight, the whole family was there and let me tell you: we are many people and quite loud.

Bucaramanga viewed from the airport.

After leaving our family... arriving to “el dorado” airport. To wait 5 hours to take our flight to Toronto. The trip was horrible! You just can’t sleep. The crew it’s actually over the top nice, food it’s balanced, you can watch movies or tv shows, listen to music, all planed to make your torture in those chairs human.El Dorado airport, Bogotá - Colombia

In Toronto... everything it’s so easy! We had 2 hours to do our paperwork before catching our flight to Québec and that was fine. We did it all in less than an hour. Everyone it’s nice, I guess speaking english was the key, we were asked fewer questions and truly those questions were simple... just routine questions.

People traveling with Air Canada: I highly recommend watching this video, you’ll know the whole way you have to make in the Pearson airport.

From Toronto to Québec, still in Pearson’s terminal 1, we took a Jazz plane. In this flight we got to see much better Canada. It was Wednesday the 29th april and nature was still recovering from the hard winter. I mean that seen from above that day, everything was brown. My eyes were familiar with green and mountains just the day before, this almost gave me a heart attack on air.

But it’s not ugly at all, there’s a lake or a river almost everywhere. Lots of lakes and rivers in that tiny plane window.

Landing at Jean-Lesage airport. Small, well organized, people it’s kind, in both airports bathrooms are easy to find, clean and free. (Why can’t they be that way in my dear Colombia?)

We didn’t stay long at Jean-Lesage. We traded some US dollars for canadian dollars, our first contact with the currency. The bills are larger than the pesos bills, they are pretty. Coins are collectible, mostly the 25 cents one. There’s a 25 cents coin for everything: Vancouver 2010, support for AIDS victims, hunters, bears, ducks... nevermind. Those are the ones we use the most calling from Bell phones everywhere. (But not yet Colombia I hope our mothers will forgive us one fine day)

Jean-Lesage airport, Québec city

Where were I? Oh yes, the currency exchange. Then we were ready for taking our cab to Orlean’s Express bus terminal. Something cool about Québec (the region) is that taxi charges are the same for all cities, you just have to look in google maps how many kilometers there are in one path so you can have the (almost) exact amount the cost you'll pay.

Round one with doors in this country. In the airports you walk and most of the doors open automaticly forwards. Sometimes they open to the sides like Colombian doors. Manually most of them most be pulled outside. So once in the bus terminal we stood like two idiots waiting the terminal to open.

What truly happened is that we couldn’t figure out how to open the door! Silly me! Once the “huge” problem of entering the terminal was over, we bought our tickets to Trois-Rivières. It was 11:30 in the morning in Canada, 10:30 in Colombia, we were exhausted, waiting the 14 h bus and thinking of our mothers, who probably were praying for us to call. The travelers, a couple of ungrateful children who wouldn’t call them nor that day, nor the next... I better stop, if not I’m going to get a good spanking.

Gare du Palais (Québec) Orléans Express.

Well that’s it for today, I’ll finish to tell how ended our journey in the second part of the story.

Hugs to everyone, I’m glad to be living in Trois-Rivières.

Friday, May 1, 2009

770 days later... here we are

That's what trackitt tell us. That we have been waiting 770 days this day. The one we could write you from Québec!

and how our arrival went.... actually we would like to write it down with all the details we can. So we are letting it for later.

Today we are more interested in telling you about the planning of the trip.

We arrived the last 29th april. And in order to actually make it we had to:

1. Collect the money. Nobody from our relatives, managed to escape the unconfortable question of: Can you lend me some money??? We were really ashamed to do so, but... we had no choice. Many things happened and of cours it's a little intimidating starting a new life with a huge debt. We took our chances and here we are.

2. Scanning family pics: I did it a long time ago but it isn't bad to remember to do so. I'm a true fan of pics and I have several gigas of memories!

3. Unsuscribing from the colombian social system. The money I have payed for my retirement will be back in a thousand years if I'm still alive, great.

4. Buying the tickets. In Colombia there's an organization called OIM. They pay half the ticket but only if you reserve with full fare. It means that as we traveled in april we got a better fare in a travel agency. I'm guessing OIM has to be a good deal if you are travelling in the summer season.

5. Selling our stuff. To be honest, you want to pack the whole country in your bags. But you just have the right to carry two bags never depassing 23 k. Our belongings where sold just in time for the big day (28th april).

6. And talking about baggage: buy the bags! At first we just bought two. Then my father in law gave us another. And in Bogota's airport we had to unpack a little bag to redistribute two kilos of overweight. We look crazy packing and unpacking our stuff in the airport!

7. Buying clothes according to your likes and budget. I'm not saying there's not good clothing in Canada, but we have to admit it's cheaper in Colombia. Just buy what you'll need, you have to remember the airline's limits and rules for your baggage weight.

8. Change the currency. You start to spend dollars in Bogota's airport. (Paying a fee to leave the country).

9. I'm a music lover. So add more gigas of colombian music to the gigas of pictures I brought! All my music is all the ID I need to let people know where I come from!

10. The art of saying good-bye. This one we leaved at last. It's really hard to say good bye to your family and friends. And I really suck at it, I'm a true crying baby. I don't even like people to see me cry. At the end everyone saw me cry and even my evil sister took pictures of the massive crying in the airport (my sweet sister... you are really something).

The flight took off at 23.40h. You have to line up for everything in Bogota. To sleep is imposible. the chairs are uncomfortable. The flight crew is a 100% canadian. One of the flight attendants (She was really really nice) was from Québec. The only thing it's that it was a nightmare to understand her english. We had to wait until she spoke in french to understand given her spanish was worse than her english.

So this is it. One of this days I promess I'll come back to read your blogs, reply emails and write as usual our stories.

Au Revoir!