theengineer

The Engineer

The Life and Times of Donald F. Simmons


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theengineer

Visiting St. John's

My brother and mine's visit to see the family in St. John's went really well, once we managed to actually get off the ground.

We'd gotten tickets on a charter airline called Sunwing for a really good price, with an 8 AM departure from Pearson. I got up at 5 AM, caught the first train west to Kipling, and then the 192 Airport Rocket to Pearson, got there 90 minutes before the flight like you're supposed to, and found out that the flight had been delayed due to mechanical problems till 1 PM, when the replacement plane from Cuba came in. This is why you should always call the airport beforehand to check the flight status. Rather then wait there for six hours, Dave and I elected to take the bus back home to catch a nap before trying again. We did get a breakfast voucher good for $10 each, which at Pearson prices means we managed to get a coffee and muffin each. The flight finally got off at 2 PM, and they did provide us with a hot sandwich on the way, which is more than you get from Air Canada.

We were in St. John's for five days, and unlike at Xmas, there was actually time to hang out with Danny and Susan (older brother and sister), and their families. We got three nights of BBQ out of it (the brother in law Tim has the land battleship model of barbarque, and grills a mean steak), and a full Sunday dinner at Danny's with vegetables from his garden. And also that day Danny bought in Aunt Doris (the only other relative we're really close to) in for a visit as well from the retirement community she lives in. She's 85, still in very good shape, and it was great to see her.

Newfoundland is very green this year, it rained most of the summer, but August has been good and we had almost entirely great weather to walk around in while we were there. I'd forgotten just how changeable the weather is there. One afternoon Dave and I walked up Signal Hill (which is a nice hike), and while at 3 PM I was worried we were going to get rained on by 5 PM there wasn't a cloud in the sky.

The view up on Signal Hill is tremendous. You've got most of the city on one side, the ocean on the other (sorry, no icebergs in August but you can watch the supply boats to the oil platforms head in and out) and it overlooks the harbour entrance, the Narrows (which aren't as narrow as they used to be, they widened them slightly a year ago to better accommodate the giant cruise ships St. John's now gets.)

That week Cirque de Soleil was in St. John's for the first time, performing Saltimbanco. I've never seen that one, but by the time I found out about it it was just too late to get tickets for the additional shows (the original four were long sold out). Fun fact: the most expensive tickets in St. John's are the starting price for the new show here in Toronto, which I'm seeing at the end of the month).

And St. John's now has two first rate comic stores, where I gladly contributed to the local economy.

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