It looks like a quilt…

Back on Island soil just before supper today after a quick jet flight from Montreal. I finally figured out why sometimes it feels like teleportation getting to or from Montreal and sometimes it feels like molasses: the jet takes an hour and half while the old Dash 8s take an hour longer.

The approach into the Charlottetown Airport on this sunny day was stunning, and all the first-timers were agog, finding the aerial beauty of PEI awe-inspiring. Which it is, of course. The approach took us right over the bridge, over Hunter River almost to the north shore, and then around over Brackley Beach and down along the Brackley Point Road into the airport.

The primary obstacle to my grand “work anywhere” plan is turning out to be ergonomics: here in the office I’ve got an adjustable desk adjusted to the perfect height for my aging wrists; out there in the real world most typing surfaces are too high by about 5 inches, and I’m forever trying to rig up chairs with multiple pillows and towers of old Yellow Pages to craft a reasonable facsimile of a good workstation. It never works, and my productivity goes into a hole. I’ve got to figure this one out — perhaps some sort of folding desk that fits in a suitcase?

Working anywhere was one of my themes with Bill and Laurence during our day together on Tuesday: their artistic itinerance sees them often setting up in strange places for weeks at a time, and they need an efficient way of creating an “office in a box” that will let them bring email, phone, and fax with them. We’re hatching some interesting plans to this end, and the acid test will come in July when they’re in Cow Head, Newfoundland for a month.

Steve and I had a good time last night and this morning hanging out. Of special note was our lunch today at Byblos on Laurier. It’s a “middle eastern fusion coffee shop” that serves great food and world-class hot chocolate (among other things). On the next block we found Olive and Olives, a sort of olive oil head shop with a stunning array of oil and related products.

The “returning the car to Thrifty” experience was as depressing as the “picking up the car from Thrifty” experience, albeit with a nicer clerk. I’d filled the tank up at the airport gas station (tangent: kudos to the Trudeau Airport for having a centrally located and obvious gas station that’s reachable on the way to car rental return; that’s rare) but the clerk charged me $23.00 as a “fuel surcharge.” He took me out to the car and showed me that the gas gauge wasn’t reading full, so he wasn’t being evil; but my protest that I had, in fact, filled it up with gas two minutes earlier fell on deaf ears. So he wasn’t in the wrong, but he didn’t do much to win my business for the next time.


Derek Martin's picture
Derek Martin on April 27, 2006 - 13:48 Permalink

Last time I rented a vehicle I drove out to Sears and Greenisle from downtown Charlottetown and back. That was it. The gas refill came to $18.00. The rental people took no responsibilty for having given me a less than full tank — they blamed the previous customer. I told them it was hardly my fault if the gauge said full when the tank wasn’t. They knocked 4 bucks off the rental. So now, apparently, you have to fill your vehicle the instant you rent it to make sure it’s really full.

Jeff English's picture
Jeff English on April 27, 2006 - 19:35 Permalink

At some rental car outlets you have the option of purchasing the tank and gambling that you can guage your fuel mileage. It’s not a bad deal if you don’t mind playing the Seinfeld “See how far we can go below the line” game. It might be an option for you.