Our travel from Seattle to Gatineau was arguably one of the longest trips Simeon and I have ever done. Actually, the two days together were one of the longest stints without sleep we’ve ever done!
Every once in a while, Simeon and I either choose or are forced to do a crazy trip. Our first time was years ago, the first time Simeon took me to Bulgaria. We were doing a competition in Las Vegas, and we finished dancing very late. Of course, afterwards, we needed to go eat, so we all took showers, changed, got ready and went out to eat. By the time we got back to the room, it was already 3am, and we needed to leave at 6am, so we just stayed up, since we had to pack our bags anyway. We boarded our flight back to Seattle and arrived home in just enough time to throw in some laundry, repack our bags, and head back out to the airport. Then we boarded a plane for New York, then to Czech Republic, then to Sofia. We arrived in Sofia at 3pm the next day, Bulgaria time (which is 10 hours ahead of Seattle) and forced ourselves to stay awake until 5pm, when we could go to bed without causing too much jet-lag. In all, that still holds the record for our longest stint of no sleep, at 36 hours.
Our second crazy trip was last December. It doesn’t hold a record for no sleep, because technically we did get a night of sleep, but it was terrible sleep for reasons soon to be explained and still qualifies as Crazy Trip No. 2. Last December we competed in Leipzig, in Eastern Germany, at the World Showdance Championships. But because it’s very expensive to fly into Leipzig-Halle Airport, we flew in to Berlin instead. And because in that same trip we were competing in Paris, we decided to book our flight through Paris. On the day of our departure, we left Leipzig early so that we could arrive in Berlin before noon, at which time the car rental company was going to charge us 200 euro for an extra day of car rental. But our flight wasn’t until 4pm, so we dropped off the car and sat around the airport in Berlin’s admittedly pretty cool Starbucks. Then when we went to board our plane, we discovered our plane was delayed by 45 minutes. 45 minutes soon turned into three hours, and three hours after that we landed in Paris-Orly, the International airport in the south of Paris. Our connection to the States was in Charles-De-Gaul Airport, in the north of Paris. The airports offer busses that connect, but because our Berlin flight was 3 hours late, we missed the last bus. So we boarded a train that took us to a subway platform, only to find out that particular subway was out of order. So we scrambled to find another series of trains to take us to Charles-de-Gaul, running in between train platforms and leading an entire mass of people, all of whom spoke a large variety of languages but not one together, to finally arrive somewhere in Northern Paris, but not at the airport. It seemed like the end of the line. Then I heard a guy shouting, “Charles de Gaul! Charles de Gaul!” I ran up to him and, to my surprise, he spoke enough English for me to work out that there were busses loading up for Charles de Gaul. The mass of people we were leading followed us out onto a platform where there were four busses, all loaded down with people. It all seemed very suspicious, and Simeon and I almost expected to be transported into white slavery or something like that. But they took us to Charles de Gaul, where we had to wait for our plane the next morning, at 10am. All the hotel rooms were booked, it was freezing cold outside, and the seating in the airport has armrests between each seat that is impossible to circumnavigate. We slept on the concrete floor, huddled up against the radiators. Then we flew to Atlanta, and finally to Seattle. Yep, crazy.
This one is up there, though! Flying to Canada, and particularly Ottawa, is prohibitively expensive. Last year we flew into Newark airport and drove to Gatineau, so we know it’s approximately a 6 hour drive. But airfare to Newark was above our budget, so instead we flew into Boston. But we got a red-eye flight, and of course, because we’re crazy, we taught almost a full day before leaving. So, I got up early in the morning to dye my hair, clean up the house (as much as I could), and finish packing. Then we headed out and taught a near full day of lessons, complete with errands to post office, etc. All that after an 11-hour day the day before! Anyway, we zoomed out of the studio and drove to Simeon’s parents’ house to pick up his dad so he could take our car, then hurried out to the airport. Check, head to the gate, board the plane, and sit back. No dinner, and the problem is, being that we often don’t go to bed until 3 or 4am, we were too wired to sleep on the plane! At 4am Seattle time, we got off the plane in Boston and rented our car, then immediately started out for Gatineau. From Boston, with no traffic or stops, it’s an 8 hour drive! But of course, because we hadn’t eaten anything since lunch the day before expect plane snacks, we were starving by 9 EST, and ate a hearty breakfast at 10:30. Drive, drive, drive, really cool New England countryside, gorgeous little villages next to a massive lake, and even a Mohawk reservation later, and we finally crossed into Canada. We got into Cornwall just in time for a massive storm! It was so terrible we couldn’t even see the road in front of us.
And then, when we finally got to Gatineau, we went to the same hotel as where we were last year, since the organizer specifically told me, “You’ll be in the same place as last year!” Well, we were not in the same place as last year. We got back in the car with the map in our hands and drove across the city to another hotel, where we were booked. At last, with our luggage in hand, we trudged up to our room, but I still had to tan.
And at long last, after 36 hours, we finally got to go to sleep. I think this trip wins them all!
ps, pictures will be on FB soon!