The bus arrived and then the delays started.
We called us for boarding a few minutes late, and then we sat for a few minutes before we got going. So we were already 10 minutes behind schedule. Then, every time we stopped to pick up passengers or drop off parcels, we got another few minutes behind.
When we stopped at Maple Creek, there was a scheduled driver change. But the driver who was taking over had been over in his daily allotted hours or something and we had to sit for another half an hour or so before he could drive.
Not much in the way of scenery, plus the bus windows weren't very clean. So you only get one photo from the bus ride!
Us! On the bus to Calgary!
Overall, the bus ride wasn't bad. We had booked it in August at a cost of $51 (US$46) each. Not bad, but for Greyhound bus tickets in Canada you really have to try and book at least 21 days in advance. The price almost doubles the closer you get to your travel date. Each seat has an electrical outlet, and the bus has free wifi but I ended up using our own cellular mi-fi connection because the one from the bus was too slow.
Not comparable to bus travel in other countries though. And a different clientele takes the bus in Canada. No children, mostly single men. And smokers. Couldn't believe the number of people scrambling to get off the bus for a couple of puffs at every stop.
At one stop, the driver announced that there was a bar opposite the stop and we would be there for 15 minutes or so. He said that if anybody was caught going to the bar, they would be staying at the bar!
We were scheduled to arrive at Calgary at 6:30pm. And we had made arrangements to meet a friend who we haven't seen for about 10 years, so we were looking forward to that. But with delays at every stop, the driver announced that he figured we would be about an hour late. Fortunately we did have internet access on the bus, so I sent our friend Kim a note to that effect, and she said she would meet us at the bus terminal.
We didn't really have any plans other than seeing Kim, and maybe wandering around downtown and taking some night photos.
Then, while I was online, I received a message from Bart and Sanna...the Dutch couple who couchsurfed with us at the park for a couple of nights in late July. It turns out that they have a short term apartment rental in downtown Calgary and saw that we were headed that way. And did we want to get together? Of course we did!
So, when our bus finally got into Calgary Kim was there to meet us and we all headed over to Bart and Sanna's apartment where we had a few drinks and solved all of the world's problems in only a few short hours!
Kevin, Sanna (with Mara the dog), Bart, Kim, and Ruth.
Had a great visit for a few hours and then Kim offered to drive us to the airport. We did have bus tickets, but the bus didn't leave for the airport until 12:30am, and we really didn't want to hang around the bus station. The airport is much nicer! Thanks Kim!!
And here we sit. At "Hotel Starbucks"! The website Sleeping in Airports gave Calgary International Airport their top award in 2012 for being one of the best airports in the world to have to sleep in. Free wifi, and comfy lounge type chairs that sit outside the Starbucks coffee shop have given this area of the airport the title "Hotel Starbucks" to people who think that it doesn't make any sense to get an expensive hotel room for just a few hours.
So we've got to hang out here for a few more hours. Our flight to Seattle leaves at 6:30am, so maybe we'll have time in Seattle to put another update. But if not, the next time you'll hear from us we'll be in South Korea!!
Yesterday's bus ride 520 kms (322 miles).