December 7, 2007

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Thanks to LaughingSquid for pointage to 100 Quotes From 100 Movies Counting Down From 100.

So I’m supposed to be in Toronto today. Instead I’m back at home, writing from the Berkman Center. That’s because I forgot my passport. Used to be you could go to Canada and come back without a passport, but that hasn’t been the case ever since Canada has become a full-fledged foreign county, and not just one with prettier and more valuable money.

I forget lots of things in my life, but my passport was never one of them, until yesterday. As a result I not only inconvenienced the other folks in Toronto, but had to burn 25,000 miles to buy a ticket back to Boston. In the midst of that, I endured otherwise unhelpful interactions with people behind the counters at both United and Air Canada, on both of whose planes I was due to fly on the current itinerary. That unhelpfulness took the form of conflicting quotes on one-way Boston-Toronto ticket prices ranging from $700-something to $1500-something (U.S.), to list just two of the many prices I was ran out of patience trying to gather. That’s on top of the high ticket price I’d already paid for a trip I didn’t entirely end up taking.

Side question: Why would people behind airline counters at airports send you to “partner” airline counters, and/or their marginally-useful websites, rather than just give you the help you need? Yeah, we know the answer, but I just felt like asking it anyway.

On top of all that, I had to sit in seat 34A of a United 757, which is tied with 34F as the aft-most seat on the plane, as well as the most cramped, since the seat barely reclines at all. The upside was a relatively clear window, meaning I could get some nice photos, if I lucked into seeing anything other than clouds and darkness. Alas, the whole flight was clouded under the plane, except as the dark began to gather east of Lake Michigan. Still, I got a few nice shots in the gathering gloom as the plane began to descend toward Boston. Among those was the photoset linked to above — all featuring the Niagra River, with Niagra Falls marked by white mists. On the left, Canada; on the right, New York. I know they look similar, but sadly those who now traverse it must present their papers at the border.

Bonus link.