I arrived in Canada yesterday. The 8 hour flight from London to Toronto wasn’t too bad as plane journeys go. I’ve never been fond of flying. Not just the actual sitting on a plane, but the whole thing of it. Airports, airlines, passing through security, it’s all so dull, an uninspiring way to start a trip. Not to mention that I always feel as though I’m missing a great deal of things and people by simply flying above and bypassing them, to get straight to the destination. The journey itself is often far more interesting than the final stop. Although, this wasn’t such a concern this time, knowing that I was primarily only flying over the Atlantic.Airports are depressing places. It’s a strange mix of excitement, anticipation, boredom and, seemingly above all else, stress and anger. Being a smoker I don’t like to head through security too early, but once I had made it through airside, I still had about an hour to kill before the gate was announced. I found an empty chair and sat down.
There was an Irish woman sat next to me, probably only in her early thirties, but looked a little older than she most likely was, if that makes sense. She asked if I’d like to read her magazine as she was finished with it. I declined. It was one of those tacky celebrity gossip magazines, not my cup of tea. I wondered where she was going, perhaps she was returning home to Ireland, it seemed like the most logical answer. I thought about how people probably found her quite attractive, though through my eyes she wasn’t much to look at. It was difficult to see her genuine self, through the makeup and fake tan. Her breasts were unshamefully hanging almost entirely out of her low cut, white tank top. Her dyed, dark hair was perfectly straightened, half draped over her left shoulder. I’ve never fully understood the male genders conventional perception of beauty. Although saying that, I’m not sure men are primarily attracted to beauty, there’s something else we seek, and this Irish women certainly wasn’t beautiful, though perhaps at a base level, even I couldn’t deny that she was, in some way, primordially attractive.
The plane was half empty. I was sat by the window. I was the only person sat on that row. No one to speak to, so I put my headphones in while we took off. Once we were in the air I ordered a can of lager, over $7, and sipped it while I read some Bukowski. About five hours into the flight and I was incredibly restless. I’d normally try and sleep on a long flight, but there was no chance this time. I stood up occasionally, to stretch my legs and glance around at my fellow passengers. There was nothing to do but read and listen to music, two things that I could spend hours engrossed in when my feet are upon the ground, but I felt trapped and anxious, and neither of those two passions could hold my attention for long.
We landed at about ten to 6 in the evening, local time, but it was another 20 minutes before we were off the plane and on the way to customs and immigration.
I was somewhat nervous about immigration, whenever I’ve been abroad before, it’s either been without the need for a visa, or I’ve already obtained the visa from an embassy, this time I merely had a Port of Entry letter, which would entitle me to a work permit, depending on the immigration officer. Customs directed me into another room, where I waited a few minutes in a line, before being called over to a desk. The immigration officer asked the purpose of my visit, “work”, she read my POE letter, asked how much money I had on me, where I’d be staying, if I already had a job lined up, stamped my passport and asked me to wait a few minutes while she printed my work permit, which she then stapled into my passport, explained when it would expire and that it would not allow me to work within the sex industry (which I wasn’t planning on anyway), and welcomed me to Canada. I was through in about 15 minutes. Much easier than I’d expected.