I flew with Camren to Montreal last week so that he could arrive in time to participate in a 1500m race at Point-Claire.
We had hoped that the swim team would go up together. Team building exercises are important; lumping a group of kids together on a bus is one way to build camaraderie. Unfortunately, after a couple of meetings, it was decided that each parent was responsible for delivering their own kids to the meet, as the cost of renting a bus has quickly doubled. During the last meeting, a few parents offered to drive more than their own and stated a Thursday departure, which would be too late for Camren, the only swimmer who qualified for the Thursday evening race. To get Camren there on time, we decided to fly. Later, we discovered that everyone had changed their minds and left a day earlier. This meant that the flight wasn’t necessary, which was unfortunate. Flying out of Charlottetown is incredibly expensive and inconvenient.
I’ve never flown in or out of Charlottetown in December (or any time of the year, really) without a problem, so I was very pleased that our flight to Toronto, then to Montreal, went without a hitch.
We took the bus downtown from Montreal airport to get something to eat. A quick search for “all-day breakfast” led us to La Luncheonette, a local café where we had a fantastic croissant breakfast sandwich. We bought seconds. Their coffee tasted fine, but the steamed milk was sans art. A highly recommended spot, close to the subway.
It’s hard to fill Camren, so we went to another nearby breakfast spot, Bagel St-Henri, where breakfasts were about $7, depending on how many eggs one desired. We decided to buy a few bagels but will return another time.
From there, we took the subway to a shopping centre so Camren could shop, but I soon remembered how much shopping at places like these sucks. Unless you are looking for a specific brand store, like Decathalon, they are devoid of “interestingness.”
After walking a bit, Camren started complaining about sore legs, which I was surprised about, considering I felt great and he’s the athlete. He then reminded me that his bag weighed about 50 lbs, while mine just contained a change of clothes.
So we rested and got bored.
Finally, I realized that I had booked a hotel room for myself, the team was staying elsewhere, and we could check in early and have a nap. Camren had been up since 2:30am to catch our 5:00am flight.
Uber stated a 20-minute trip, which would have had us arrive in time for a one-hour nap. That 20-minute trip turned into an hour due to a truck losing its load on the highway.
When we finally arrived at the location of the Holiday Inn, there was no Holiday Inn. It was nowhere to be found. Camren and I walked to the nearest hotel and were told that they had moved a couple years ago and that they still get people arriving daily wondering where the hotel was. No one had bothered to update the hotel listing on mapping services.
At this point, we were starting to get anxious as the time Camren thought he had to be at the pool was approaching. The hotel staff graciously called us a cab that delivered us Fast & Furious style to the pool.
We arrived at the pool at 3:30pm to find out that he wasn’t swimming until 8pm and that his coach wouldn’t arrive until about 4:45pm. All the other teams’ swimmers were warming up while ours had gone to the mall. Camren started getting anxious again, so more walking ensued.
Ultimately, it was his weakest swim of the three-day event. But despite the cost and my on-again-off-again saltiness due to miscommunication and mishaps, it was one of those experiences we will talk about for years to come. Well worth it.
I arrived in Charlottetown late the next night and left the next day for Truro. He returned with the team.