Friday, August 14, 2015

#GPinCanada: From Dubai to Langley

Now that the shock of the unauthorized use of our photo has passed, I can now move on and share with you the details of our vacation in Canada. Let’s start at the very beginning, shall we? No, not the ABC’s (sorry, I just had to put that in ☺), but our flights to the land of maple trees.

It might not have been the best decision, but because of our tight budget, we decided to book ourselves on the cheapest flights available. Considering the fares on all options to the other side of the world were pretty high, the tickets still put a significant dent in our savings…to the amount of Dhs23,000! Aacckk!
Sorry for the grainy picture.  This was taken using Hubby's smartphone and the building's lighting clearly didn't help.
We arrived and checked in pretty early at Dubai International Airport for our late night flight but the girls were too excited to take a nap so they busied themselves by coloring some pictures and activity sheets that I had printed and bound together prior to our vacation.
Good thing I printed a lot so this also kept them busy during our stopovers at the other airports.
So anyway, we had to go on 3 different flights. The first was a 7-hour flight to Amsterdam which we took via KLM Airlines. Since the departure time was around 1am (waaay past our bedtime), the kids and I conked out almost as soon as we settled in our seats.
I can’t remember the food, but I do remember that I didn’t get to eat much of what was served, because except for the bread, butter, and fresh fruits, the rest just didn’t satisfy my taste buds. The plane’s children's meal was alright I guess, because Caila and Sophie managed to eat more than half of their food.

When we landed in Amsterdam, we let everyone else get off the plane before us. After all, we had about 9 hours to kill before our next flight, so we had plenty of time to waste. Finally, we got off. We happened to be walking just ahead of the crew, and seeing them, Sophie told me that she wanted to have a picture with “the driver of the airplane” (her words, not mine). Since there weren’t any other passengers around, I approached the man who I assumed was one of the pilots and told them exactly what my youngest daughter told me. Fortunately, he didn’t mind, and he and his partner were very eager to give in to the little girl’s request.
Thank you, Captains!
Unfortunately, she became shy all of a sudden and wouldn't smile.
Schiphol Airport had areas under construction, so it wasn’t exactly at its best when we were there, but it was ok. Unfortunately, it was too late (like a week left prior to our flight) when I thought of applying for Schengen visas for us so that we could go out and visit the sites of Amsterdam, so we just walked around the airport, browsed the net and watched videos (thanks to the airport's free wifi), and took quick naps to pass away the time.
Passengers just had to pay a couple of Euros for a relaxing 5-minute shiatsu massage in one of these
An Asian refreshment stand
This is an all-day diner and bar that had a Hollywood-theme to it 
Of course there were many shops that sold all sorts of items, mostly Netherlands souvenirs, like this one
One of them even had a cow statue and a huge pair of clogs that our youngest couldn't help trying to see if they fit
Our adorable, silly, little girl ☺
Finally, it was time to board. It was another KLM flight and the girls were thrilled that at least one of us was booked near the window. Caila immediately claimed that seat and Sophie settled down beside her. But before the plane took off, she decided to sit with me instead.
The flight took 9 hours to Edmonton. It was basically a smooth one, but we experienced turbulence as we were approaching the airport, causing most of the kids and babies to cry and/or throw up. Sophie did without any warning, so she made quite a mess on her jacket and pants. Hubby was ready with a sickness bag when Caila’s face started to look uneasy, so she stayed clean. It’s a good thing I managed to keep everything in my stomach until I was in the airport washroom changing Sophie’s clothes.

At Edmonton International Airport, we queued up for Customs. Earlier on the plane, passengers were each given a Canadian Customs Declaration Card which we filled and presented with our passports to the Canadian Border Services Agency officer. She asked us a few questions like where we were heading, where we were staying, where my brother worked, and how long our visit was before she finally stamped on our passports with our visas and returned the Declaration Card. There was no need for Secondary. Whew!

We then went to the carousel to claim our luggage, submitted our Declaration Card to the other officer, walked a bit to another area to hand over our luggage for our WestJet flight, and then headed up to the terminal gates. Supposedly, we had to wait only 3 hours for our last flight, but when we glanced at the information board, we discovered it was 2 hours delayed! Bummer! We didn’t walk around the airport anymore, though. Although it was about 4pm local time, our bodies were still following UAE time which was 10 hours ahead at 2am, so you can guess we were either sleepy, tired, or both. However, when the girls saw a small play area, they were immediately energized. 
Soon we couldn’t fight our sleepiness any longer so we all had a snooze. I woke up about an hour later followed by Hubby, who said he dreamed an announcement had been made that our flight was delayed again. Turns out he wasn't dreaming. We had to wait an hour and a half more! Oh, the agony! To compensate, passengers were given CAD15 food vouchers each to use at the airport which we used to buy drinks, sandwiches, soups, and some other snacks.
They gave us an extra voucher when Hubby happened to mention that we had travelled all the way from Dubai
While munching on our light dinner, we chatted with some passengers who were also booked on the same flight. They shared how far each of them travelled and kept complaining about the time; but when we told them where we came from and how many hours we had spent in 3 different airports with 3 different time zones, they realized their experience was nothing compared to ours.

Finally (again!), it was time to board our last flight. It took an hour and a half from Edmonton to Abbotsford so we took advantage of the time to catch up on much needed (and slightly deeper) sleep. Then before we knew it, the pilot announced that we were about to reach our destination. Hurray!!!

Tired but very excited, we were the last passengers who walked down the plane, across the field (is that what you call it?), and into the terminal where my eldest brother was eagerly waiting for us.
We have arrived!
After getting our luggage from the carousel, he led us to his car where a booster seat and car seat were ready for the girls. Once our bags were in the car, we all buckled up and headed to the place we would be calling home for the next couple of weeks.

His daughters had attended a One Direction concert in Vancouver that night and his wife had gone to meet them at the train station so the house was empty when we arrived, but it definitely wasn’t a lonely welcome that greeted us.
They had also cooked some rice and a yummy bowl of pork sinigang that we all hungrily dug into. While we were eating, my nieces and sister-in-law arrived, so it was another happy reunion with hugs, stories, and laughter.

Sometime later, we settled down in our beds…very tired, but very thankful that we had finally, finally! arrived in Canada after approximately 37 hours.

Technically, that's more than 1½ days.  However, we left Dubai on the 17th of July, and because of the 4 different time zones we went through, we still arrived on the same day!  Whew! Now that's time-travelling! ☺
Floorings (and my Skechers shoes) of the different airports
Stay tuned for more posts about our vacation.  I still have more stories and (clearer ) photos to share!

4 comments:

  1. Wow that was long flights sis. Waiting is really hard no. But if it's with the family naman, time flies so fast :)

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  2. That looks like a whole lotta fun for the family! And i love it that you took pics of your feet (Skechers, lol) on different airports, creative concept!

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  3. I salute you for being able to travel with kids in such a long flight. Well done (clap clap clap). I just nominated you for Sisterhood of the World Blogger Award.

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  4. whao..that was certainly a very long flight that you went on with the kids :)

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