Friday, September 08, 2006

mama's don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys...

or people who work for the airporter shuttle express in calgary.

i went to to calgary for the 3rd annual tattoo festival on labour day weekend. thank you air canada for the flight sale. it's funny. everyone always says westjet is cheaper but whenever i need to fly anywhere, it's always cheaper via air canada. it was my first flight since the liquid ban. which in a way was a blessing. i ended up checking EVERYTHING which i never do and only had to worry about my little punk hello kitty messenger bag when i was on the plane. although i was so fuckin' dehydrated before i got on the plane and couldn't get enough water to make me happy. excuse me, stewardess? could you please leave the entire pitcher in front of me? :)

i arrive in calgary nice and early, having listened to outlaw country (dwight and hank III) all the way there. i always forget the flight is so short. i'm used to going to toronto and needing all this extra stuff. the flight to calgary is so short, i don't even have to use the plane toilets. even if i forget my book, it's no big deal.

i like the calgary airport. it doesn't take forever to walk from the plane to the baggage carousel. and i never have to wait very long for my luggage. usually i disembark, go to the bathroom and walk to the baggage claim and within minutes my luggage is there. but lately i've been leaving the calgary airport with bad thoughts which have nothing to do with the airport and everything to do with the airport shuttle. they used to be really good up until a year or so ago. maybe they got new owners or management. but their agents have absolutely no customer service skills any more. they barely acknowledge you at the counters, they can't wait to tell you they can't go where you want to go, and they never tell you what is going on. i needed to go to the hotel arts which i had already checked on the website and confirmed that that was one of the scheduled stops. the clerk was all ' i don't think we go there' and then proceeded to ignore me. what she was doing was trying to confirm that they don't go there. but since i couldn't hear her having a conversation with the guy in the back, i had no idea what was up. was i dismissed? do i need to get a cab? since she didn't ask me to leave, i assumed i should stick around. finally she gets back to me. 'yah, we go there but it's going to be 40 minutes. ' i'm like fine. then the guy is like well, you can catch a shuttle at 11 (about 1/2 hour away) to the palliser and walk two blocks. ok, i am not from calgary but i know that the hotel arts is more than two blocks from the palliser (i think it's like 5 blocks, which is a big deal if you have luggage to cart). plus i am not 100% sure where exactly the hotel arts is. i ask, but i can catch something direct in another ten minutes right? and she's like yah. so i said i would wait. the eleven o'clock shuttle comes and goes. the 11.30 shuttle comes and goes. finally at 11.42, i go back to the counter and ask about my shuttle. she again has a conversation i can't hear and does not bother to explain until she gets an answer. now, let me make this clear. this is not a 30 second wait until an answer comes. both times it was minutes later until she got back to me. is it to hard to let me know what you are doing? finally she says, yah, it's on it's way. umm, could you be a little more specific? on it's way from where? downtown? the parking lot? lethbridge? she said it would be five, ten minutes. i don't mind waiting but a) tell me how long i should wait because i've been up since 4am and if i had known it was going to be an 1 1/2 hour wait for a shuttle i would have gone for some food and b) could you at least offer an apology for the delay? is that too much to ask?

miraculously, the shuttle shows up in about ten minutes. the driver is not very pleasant and can't be bothered to call out our names, just destinations and grunts at us all. he apparently has gone to the non acknowledgement school of customer service as well. i slip mike ness on and try and go to a happy place. i am sitting next to some guy who reminds me of justin timberlake who has just got back from seeing journey and def leppard somewhere. shudder.

i arrived at the hotel arts and i have found my happy place. the lobby is funky, the staff are nice and i have gotten a free upgrade. my room is big and lovely and has a balcony. it is very brown. and it is 1/2 a block from the drum and monkey! which is where i had planned to have lunch. i unpack, walk down to the pub and order up a order of mac and cheese and spolumbo's sausage with a side of strongbow. calgary knows how to serve strongbow. not like bc. it's an english cider people! you do not serve it with ice and lime! i get tipsy off my pint of cider as i haven't eaten all day and it's after 1. the mac and cheese is even better than i remember.

life is good again.


Barbara Bruederlin said...

You showed a remarkable amount of constraint by not ripping one of several people a new one.

I hope the experience didn't sour you on trips to Calgary too much. I've always quite liked the Calgary airport as well - just the right size, I think, but then I've only had to deal with Park and Ride in terms of shuttle folks.

668 aka neighbour of the beast said...

i LOVE calgary. i'm going to try and add some happy stories later today.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Oh Good - I'd love to hear about the tattoo show.

Barbara said...

When you say Mac and cheese... are you talking kraft dinner?? In a pub? Thanks for explaining strongbow I had never heard of that before. Is it a regional brew?
How was the tattoo thing?

668 aka neighbour of the beast said...

no no no.. homemade mac and cheese! with three or four different types of cheeses and this really yummy spicy spolumbo's sausage which is some kind of calgary specialty. my friend doesn't even really eat red meat and she is all over spolumbo's.

strongbow is a traditional english cider. it's not sweet like bc cider but dry. and in bc, they always serve it like bc cider. with ice and lime. i have become known as the girl who sends back her drinks because when i order it here, i always have to say no ice, no lime. and if it's wrong (which it is many times), back it goes. however, in calgary (and toronto), they always look at me funny when i say that, because it would never occur to them to serve it any other way.

the tattoo fest was awesome. i'll try and give some details and hopefully pics later today or tomorrow.