Daryl Devore's Blog

Daryl Devore's Blog

Friday, 24 March 2017

A Fun Post About My Chaotic Weekend Adventure #travel #train

This is a set of Facebook  posts I posted on my way home after a fun weekend

The 6 part series of my weekend adventure.
First off – please ignore typos – it is very difficult to type on a moving train.
Decided a friend needed a girls' weekend, so hopped on a train to St. Catharines- except trains no longer go to St. Catharines.
Sitting on the westbound train, there was a large metallic clunk then we stopped. They checked the train several more times, but never told us what was up. Each stop delayed our arrival at Union Station, which shortened my transfer time.
If you haven't been to Union lately – it's a chaotic mess – renovating. Got off VIA and now had to find GO Transit, which if you live in Toronto is a piece of cake. If you live in Eastern Ontario and haven't been to Union in Station in.. .cough...cough…years – it a frustrating adventure.

renovations inside Union Station
My train was 933. It said that on my ticket – in clear legible numbers. The train number on the board said 24. After being assured by several orange dressed GO personnel I got on train 24.  As I sat, the announcer said the train would leave in a minute. I'd made it by 1 whole minute.
Train left station. Announcer stated all the stops and Burlington wasn't on the list. Hello rising blood pressure.
Eventually I realized I was on a car that had a GO Transit person. I asked him. He laughed and confirmed I was on the right train. We get to Burlington, I get off and like a properly trained lemming – follow everyone off. No Sandra. And soon after that – nobody else except a really creepy guy.
Call hubby. I'm here. Sandra's not. Fix it. After a crash course in how to use Facebook, Greg is actually in communication with Sandra. Now I have her cell number – yes, we should have thought of that sooner.

Now comes the Laurel and Hardy time. There were several communications between Sandra and I - Most hilarious -me -   I can see the parking garage. Sandra - What parking garage?!?!?! Me – the 4-storey parking garage right in front of me. Then walks through creepy tunnels with really confusing signs and dead zones which made us lose cell connection. Finally we figured out I was in P3 – she was in P1.
We met. We hugged. My blood pressure lowered.
The next day and a half were a blast. We stayed up Fri night until 2:30 AM. Saturday we went to Coras for breakfast then to Niagara Falls, then Niagara on the Lake and then out to dinner where I had really fabulous vegan mac and cheese.

overlooking Falls from hotel room on a previous trip

Sunday, we went out for breakfast then back to her place where Motown ruled the music – Wilson Pickett let his back-bone slip!!!
Sadly, the time to return had arrived. We drove back to Burlington – still chatting – we really hadn't stopped – we had 3 years to catch up on.
She pulls into GO Transit parking lot and stops in front of a large fence with a nasty – NO ENTRY sign.

After a quick and sad goodbye, I scurry to the entrance. Just to clarify – they are renovating Burlington Station and there is very little signage. But I was rescued by a wonderful young lady who happened to be going on the same train and she lead me back through those scary tunnels and up to the platform.
The train arrives. I take a seat. Next stop Toronto. What could go wrong?
Train arrives at Union Station. Announcer happily announces – Doors will open on the north side first. Then south side. If you know me and my sense of direction, I am now seriously in trouble. Leap of faith time – I followed a competent looking person out of the train and into the station.
Now to find VIA. Remember, I'm in GO Transit. Easy for me to say- but holy smokes has the place changed since I was here last. Like a mature rational adult, I read the signs. I swear to everything above – on the sign it says VIA and GO and then an arrow. How can both be that way when I'm already in GO!!!!!!!!!!!

GO Transit is a light rail transit in the greater GTA
I search out a GO employee -  not an easy thing in the day of modern technology – humans are unimportant. After getting it through his head I was done with GO and wanted VIA – he directed me down the hall, follow the ramp, all doors on left will take you to VIA. I did what he said and I ended up in Toronto – I mean out of Union Station and into the city. Numerous 4 letter words.
Turn around and try again. Somehow, I found the Great Hall – the symbolic part of Union Station – except it's being renovated and nothing looks the same. 

Great Hall before renovations

Then a miracle occurred. I found an information station with people at it, wiling to answer my questions. He said to turn around and go back to gate 21. I didn't want to. I didn't want to go back into that chaotic mess. Then he noticed I had a Business class ticket- :-) Have I ever mentioned how much I like business class?
He directed me to the business class lounge. I had over an hour to wait. I did what he said. Followed the sign. The arrow is pointing left- so I turned right. Ha! You think I messed up. Nope. Walked right into the business lounge – on the right.

Now, you have to prove you have the right to be there.  I handed over my ticket. She said at 5:30, she'd call for the train to Ottawa. I said – Cornwall. She said – Ottawa. I said – Cornwall. She got a bit testy and snapped – Ottawa! I pulled the ticket out of her hand and ran my finger under the letters C O R N W A L L. She shrugged. I bit back what I wanted to say and took an incredibly comfy seat in a fabulous room and connected to the wonkiest wifi I've ever been on. I got on FB to tell family and friends I'd made it. I got booted off. I tried to log back in and got told – insecure site- and I wasn't allowed in.  Fought wifi for an hour and then the train was called.
When Union Station was well signed and not at all chaotic, they escorted the business people to the gate. Now they say - go that way.  But luck was on my side, guess because I didn't verbally bite that snarky ticket person's head off – a woman passed me with a purposeful stride and I followed her through the chaos and straight to the train. She happened to look back and I told her I had no clue where I was going and I was following her. She laughed – an understanding laugh.
Now I am sitting here, having been fed pork medallions, cheese and fruit, dessert then chocolate.
Next stop is Cornwall with Greg waiting at the station. Cause – what else could possibly go wrong???

 Shouldn't have asked what could possibly go wrong – the whole train just went black.

8.  Final update
The train is lit and moving again. Next stop home and hubby. If I drank – I'd need a beer!

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