by Lauren Mote
My current adventure finds me wandering through the security gates, a “shoeless jane” if you will, smiling while waiting for the xrays (and xray operators) to realize that my wallet holds plastic cards, rather then plastic explosives. As I eloquently attempt a light morning conversation about weather and sports teams, it’s clear that I am poorly received by the security staff, and frankly I wouldn’t want them to pull a muscle – when you don’t smile for long periods of time, it’s easy to seize… I’m guessing. Instead, a subtle stare, one word answers muttered under their breath, and the shrug of the shoulders while the index finger creeps up to point the way to the next phase of the International Security Obstacle Course. I rush myself through the metal detector, wearing almost nothing; I suppose this is their entertainment at 6:00am on a Sunday morning… gimme back my belt and converse fool. Now, I risk bending over to replace my shoes, beltless – in my super tight “fresh from the dryer” jeans, with a line of passengers behind me. I do a slight “ladylike” bow, and increase my straight leg flexibility 10-fold in hopes that my poor choice in underwear colour is not judged by the Pacific Northwest’s finest.
The further I move away from the brisk Vancouver mountains, the accents get weirder. No longer do I hear that familiar enunciated Canadian twang, but instead words are lazily blended together to form spaceless sentences, a rare and appreciated treat for my trained ear.
I am in awe. The secret differences between flying domestic and international at YVR. After all the times I would fly back and forth between Vancouver and Toronto, still the difference even down to the coffee choice is obvious. At a tiny magazine stand, right by the bathrooms in the domestic wing, “gas station” quality coffee is self-serve. A delightful woman looking after the station, smiles and says one of three numbers over and over again. “$2 coffee”, “$4 coffee + muffin”, “$5 coffee + muffin + newspaper”. The coffee is brutal, and the muffin worse – like chewing on Gandhi’s flip-flip, dry and unappetizing flavours and aromas.
Back to the story. So I was walking tall, shoes tied, belt buckled, passing through numerous hallways of popular store, food shops and newsstands. Duty-free shops are always my favourite part – it’s like a shop of all the things I would never use, drink or smoke. Cartons of Benson & Hedges and Players Light; 1.14L bottles of Bailey’s Caramel Irish Cream and Chivas Regal; facial products, Britney Spear’s perfume and Purdy’s Chocolates. The things I really gravitate to – the deals – $67 for 1L of Balvenie Double Wood Scotch, yum. Low-and-behold Lauren’s vice – wine & spirits. It makes zero sense to buy things in Canada for the US while I am attending a mixology summit, where the spirits will flow like a river, but on the way back – well, I plan to bring close to half a case of alcohol home with me on the plane from a local liquor store in Vail.
Boarding – all is quiet until the loud speaker explains safety features in English and Spanish (no love for the French….) and the high volume Texan behind me talks about some of his favourite things, “all I need is a beer and a marshmallow shooter, ain’t nothin’ better then that!” What the hell is a marshmallow shooter?
Land of the free, and home of the brave… speakers.