Adventures in Labrador
Hello, Internet, today is Saturday, March 5th, and yesterday we did the show for 200 high school students at the Labrador West Arts & Culture Centre.
Because of the availability of school buses, our show was performed perforce at 9:30 in the morning, which was a bit of a mind shift for us, but it went over fantastically. You could hear a pin drop in there. Magical.
We hit up a popular fast food restaurant for lunch because it was the closest thing to the hotel, and Evan wowed us with his colouring skills. Unfortunately, the crayon selection was… somewhat limited. Binary, even.
The next bit of the tour is a bit weird, because I had to go back to St. John’s last night in order to pick up the van and all of the gear we need for school shows and drive out to meet the other three when they land in Deer Lake today.
So, yesterday afternoon I went to the Wabush airport with the giant boxes full of boxes – my portion of the checked luggage. I have taken these on purpose, because: a) I don’t trust that they’ll take these giant boxes as checked luggage EVEN THOUGH we’ve done it twice before; and b) if they DON’T allow them as checked luggage, then they have to go cargo, and I’d rather they had some extra time to get to Deer Lake (or Stephenville).
There is now a standard conversation with airport staff regarding these boxes. It goes like this:
Airline/Airport staff: Those are cargo.
Me: Nope, they’re luggage. The two of them together are 50lbs.
Staff: Well, they’re not going to fit through the x-ray machine.
Me: No, they’re not.
Staff: We’ll have to open them.
Me: Yes, you will.
There is no airport x-ray machine that can take these huge, awkward boxes, even diagonally, so they always have to open them. In St. John’s, they had us come over to look inside with them.
Staff: What’s in the boxes?
Me: Boxes. And bubble wrap.
Staff (opening first box and peering inside): Yep. Those are boxes.
In Goose Bay, it was a bit more complicated, but still a pretty seamless experience.
Staff: I don’t know if we can take them.
Me: You took them last time.
Staff: Mmph. Let me check.
(two minutes pass)
Staff: OK, we’ll take them. But we’ll have to open them.
Staff: (carts boxes to secure area out of sight)
And although we received them back barely closed and with a note inside that said “we had to open the box and are not responsible for damage,” everything was mostly OK. Nothing a bit of tape can’t fix, anyway.
In Wabush, things got just a little more interesting. Luckily, Wabush airport staff are all lovely and have a good sense of humour.
Staff: Put them up here and we’ll open them up and just swab them. What’s in these, anyway?
(angry mechanical noise)
Staff: Ummm, that box has set off the alarm. Have you handled any explosives recently?
Here followed a long process where they asked me some questions about my life and work, completely unpacked both boxes of boxes, put all of the contents – and my carry-on luggage and my coat – through the x-ray, went through every pocket and leafed through every book in my carry-on, and then searched me. It was very thorough and hilarious, considering that the thing that had caused all the ruckus was a flattened cardboard box, but I had tons of time and everyone was pleasant. Apparently, the nearby mine throws off plenty of the stuff that sets off that alarm, and it’s not uncommon for any old thing to do it. Security and I were chatting away the whole time this went on, and I think I even told one of them it was nice to meet her before heading on my way.
And then, PAL took those boxes into checked luggage and they flew to St. John’s with me, to be loaded into a van and driven to Stephenville in the morning…