Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Back on Track!

Today, in a mad scramble that involved missed buses, frantic taxi rides, and catching the last ferry, we bid farewell to Victoria and said hello to our bicycle Perry again.

Bye Victoria!

We woke up bright and early (the ostrich's definition) with plenty of time to pack up and bid farewell to Max, Evie and the rest of the RALLC crew. We were planning to catch a morning bus back up to Sidney, where we would catch the ferry to bring us back to Anacortes, Washington, USA. Thanks to our excellent time management skills, we waddled out to the bus stop with all our stuff and still had 15 minutes to spare before the bus was scheduled to arrive.

So we waited for a bit and talked about some stuff. And waited some more. Several buses came and left. Cars drove by. But what were we worried about? The bus wasn't even supposed to come for another three minutes.

Two minutes. Nobody else was waiting at the bus stop. Hmm.

One minute. I started to have a feeling that I tend to get pretty often when dealing with complicated things like public transport. It's a bit of a talent I have, I guess. The feeling means: you're doing it wrong.

Zero minutes. This bus was the last bus for another hour. If we missed this bus, we would miss the ferry. If we missed the ferry, we would be delayed another four hours, meaning our day of bicycling would be pretty much over.

Panicking slightly, we ran back to the concierge, panniers flapping. Yup -- we'd been at the wrong bus stop. We ran out to the correct place, which was juust painfully around the corner from where we were standing -- the northbound stop, instead of southbound. But of course it was too late.


After a few seconds of gloomy fretting, we found ourselves facing the prospect of missing the day of cycling, complete with finding new accommodations, paying for them, etc.

We ran into Evie and her roommate Sheera, who was taking a charter bus up to a different port for a ferry back to Vancouver. After hearing about our problems, Evie very kindly volunteered to drive us up to Sidney to try and make our ferry. So our choices were: stay and give up the day of cycling, or take Evie's offer to drive us up.

We felt really bad about either option. But as we walked back to the hotel to look for Evie's car keys, we passed some idle taxis. Celine ran over and asked them how much for a ride to Sidney. They said around $60, which was about the same price as Sheera's charter bus to the other port.

On the spot, we decided to take the taxi. We dumped our stuff in, and off we went!

We ended up having a really interesting conversation with the taxi driver, Erfan, who used to be a doctor and was working as a taxi driver, trying to make ends meet while planning a return to university. We arrived in Sidney and made it on the ferry with literally minutes to spare.

The ferry ride was much nicer this time round. The sun was starting to come out, so we had a great view of the bay and the islands. And when we arrived back in the USA, right on schedule, Art was there at the dock to meet us.


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