Nom de Plumage

January 14, 2012


Filed under: Travel Journal — nomdeplumage @ 8:56 pm
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What am I thinking? The industrial and violent capital of America and I want to visit?? Not by choice may I add. One of my main priorities on this trip, was to try and visit some distant relatives and one of them just happens to live in Detroit. My Aunt Julie is the younger sister of my Dad and being in the same hemisphere as her, I thought it a great opportunity to visit. I made some telephone calls to her and we made arrangements for my impending visit. Initially I wanted to fly over and was astounded that firstly their was no direct flight and secondly how expensive it was. Almost eight hundred US dollars seemed very excessive and so I opted for train travel that albeit was long, but much cheaper.
Barely slept a wink in anticipation for my long journey. Dura drove me to the train station in Montreal city and dropped me near the main entrance and left me. Not a good start! The main entrance was closed early in the morning and I had no idea how I was to enter. I barely had half an hour before my train departed at 6:30 am and I was seriously lost. Walking back and forth along the main street, around the block and back again, my stress levels increased. My heart was racing and sweat trickled down my back as the minutes ticked by and I was no closer to entry. Walking down some stairs, I noticed what appeared to be commuters, entering a door and I decided to follow. As luck would have it, I found the entrance and had to now navigate through the underground corridors for the entrance to the station. Finally asking some directions from a security guard, I was finally able to find the platform and board the train with minutes to spare.
The journey itself was very comfortable and scenic. Listening to my ipod and watching the scenery before me change, it was a very relaxing four hour journey. But my luck kept running out and just before we reached Toronto, where I was to change for a connecting train to Windsor, the train suddenly stopped at Oshawa. With no communication for some time, the passengers where left wondering about the delay. Thirty five minutes later, we were informed of a signal failure and that the train was ready to depart. Pulling into Toronto’s main train station, my connecting train to Windsor was pulling out. Getting off the train, I walked straight to the main office for assistance, only to be told that there was a connecting train departing in five hours time. GREAT! The attendants were helpful enough to allow me to ring my aunt and explain the delay. So with five hours to kill, I decided to walk around the city of Toronto. But with a hitch. I had to carry my luggage the whole way as there was no luggage storage department. I can tell you, my shoulders and back ached and I really did not enjoy the city as much as I could have. I could still appreciate it’s beauty, modern architecture, culture and friendly people.
Finally, I board the train for Windsor on a not so comfortable train. We rattled and rolled the whole four hours, to arrive late. By now it was dark and all my plans of getting to Detroit in a safe and easy manner had all but deserted me. Not knowing what to do or where to go, I finally got into a taxi and asked the driver to take me over the border. It was a very expensive five minute journey and it got more interesting when we reached the US Customs Point. I had completed the necessary entry documents before my departure from Australia, only to be snubbed and treated quite rudely by the official. I was directed into the main office and had to complete more paper work and pay more money just so I can enter. My taxi driver was very patient and refused to leave me on account seeing me safely through, but I am sure his bigger motives had nothing to do with his meter ticking nicely away. Oh well, I was through and just now had to find my aunt. I telephoned her and told her were I was. Unfortunately, at this stage I did not realise that there were two entry points into Detroit, one being through a tunnel and the other over a bridge. I entered through the tunnel and my aunt was at the bridge. I tried waiting near the customs office because I did not feel safe on the main street, only to be told by two guards that I could not wait there. So very friendly and considerate of a single woman standing at 10pm on the main street of Detroit???? My aunt thankfully showed up five minutes later to my relief with some friends and it was then a twenty minute drive home.
It was late and we were both stressed and tired, but at no stage did we want to go to bed. We talked and talked and even rang my father in Australia to talk with him. My aunt is beautiful and so easy to talk with, that I discovered an instant bond with her and knew that my week with her would be wonderful. Eventually, all talked out, we go to bed in the wee hours of the morning.


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