A wire sculpture in the Montreal Dorval airport. (Deb Meissner photo)

A wire sculpture in the Montreal Dorval airport. (Deb Meissner photo)

How I spent my summer vacation: Part 1

Deb muses on the adventure of pandemic-style travel

Normally I love to travel. I love watching the people, I love the feeling in the air of anticipation and hurry, and I always find fun things in airports to see and do, and as I’ve said before, I love the actual flights.

Traveling during a pandemic, however, is a whole different beast.

I’ve been away and had to travel to the U.S. I have to admit Matt at McKenzie Travel gave me plenty of good advice and coaching for what I was about to embark upon. How he kept up with the constantly changing travel requirements, will remain a mystery to me, but he was absolutely correct in all he advised and warned me about.

Because it was a last-minute booking, I took a roundabout way to Washington, D.C., and back. The trip there took me through the Montreal Dorval airport.

The flight there was calm and beautiful, but we all noticed the thick layer of smoke that was making its way across the jet stream and country, courtesy of the B.C. wildfires. The flight was not crowded, thankfully, and everyone wore masks, no complaints, and kept their distance respectfully. Air Canada even handed out “personal health care” kits on every flight I was on.

When I went through customs into the US, they just asked if I had my vaccines and had taken a viral test within the last 72 hours. Of course, I had and had brought all of my documents, and even had my immunization records on my phone. They took a quick look at the viral test, and I was on my way. Easy peasy.

I had time in Montreal, so I explored the airport and found a great full-size wire sculpture of a moose, in a corner. I also found a wonderful walk-through display on the history of flight, which was interesting and fun for me to find. But it was the people watching that really made me laugh out loud.

When I began travelling years ago, it was a dress-up, fancy affair. These days it’s “anything goes,” and I mean that in the truest sense. I saw many folks in their pajamas or sweat pants and t-shirts.

I saw a few people in business attire, and others in just normal relaxed travel clothes. There were two that stood out from the rest and created quite a spectacle that was amusing to watch.

The first was a lady in, I would guess, her early thirties, who had long blond hair, full makeup on, a teeny tiny bikini, and cowboy boots! Now I’m not sure where she was headed, but she was in the wing heading to the U.S. I admit it was a very hot and humid day, but the airplanes I travelled on had air conditioning that bordered on being cold in the cabin. So, it made me wonder, and apparently,

It made others wonder too, as she calmly made her way through the terminal, as to where she was going in such a get-up, and maybe who advised her about travel attire?

Following directly behind her, although headed to a different gate, was a fellow dressed in polar thermals from head to toe, including a parka with the hood, pulled up over his head, and polar boots, the puffy kind.

I laughed out loud at the absurdity of these two, along with many others, which seemed to really confuse the fellow in the coat.

Honestly, I don’t think he could see the lady dressed in the exact opposite attire, not twenty seconds ahead of him, through the long tunnel of his hood.

I wondered about these two for the rest of the day.

The flight to the states again was not full, and pleasant enough, except the smoke had now made its way all the way down to D.C. and hazed over all the monuments I normally enjoy seeing.

I walked out the doors of the terminal building, and though it was now twilight, the heat and humidity hit me like a blast furnace. I started to sweat and never quit the entire trip, and I wondered about that lady in the bikini and thought well, maybe she knew.

Regardless, the heat, the noise, the smoke smell, the traffic, all assaulted my senses at once and I could not get over the mass of humanity there. D.C. has changed, and the pace was unreal to me.