Hello citizens! Captain Hindsight here. Recently, the missus and I took the little hindsights on a trip across the border to Canada. Using my unique super powers, I now know many important travel tips that have come to me after the fact. And because I am a do-gooder, I will now share this important information with you!
Tip #1 – Always Update the Maps on Your GPS
Citizens, I have learned a crucial piece of information. Roads change! My personal Hindsight Positioning System (HPS) had been asking me for several weeks to update its maps, as they were over a year old. I did not listen. Roads are roads, right?! Wrong. When we got into Canada the HPS told us to drive onto a road that clearly used to be there, but was now blocked by concrete barriers and several yards of grass that had grown up between the highway and our turn. Normally one could just get onto the internet and plot a new route, but Captain Hindsight’s phone does not have international internet. Captain Hindsight had to follow signs. In French. Captain Hindsight was confused. Don’t make the same mistake I did! Update those maps!
Tip #2 – Do not Call 911 to Let Them Know You Will Be Arriving Late to Your Hotel
When we did finally arrive, after a very long delay at the border and slightly shorter delay shouting at the HPS, it became clear that our original plan of leaving the park to check into the hotel and then returning for the fireworks was not going to work. We were not going to be checking into our hotel until after midnight. Was this okay? We did not know. There was only one thing to do: call the hotel! I called the phone number provided to me by the good heroes of Travelocity, and the conversation went something like this:
Hotel: “Bonjour. *something in french*”
Captain Hindsight: “Hello? Hello?
Hotel: “Ahhh, hello?”
CH: “Yes, hello, I’m not sure what your policies are regarding late check ins, but we have had a bit of an issue getting here, and we’re not going to make it back until well after midnight and I want to be sure that our room is held for us.”
Hotel: “What is your emergency? Where are you?”
CH: “Well, it’s not really an emergency. We’re at La Ronde and we had planned to be back to the hotel this afternoon to check in, but now it’s looking like we won’t be able to do that, and…”
Hotel: “Sir, this is number for if you have on fire, or medical problem. Emergency? You have emergency?”
CH: “This is not the hotel?”
911: “No sir, this is for emergencies only.”
CH: “I see. Ummmm, do you know the number to the hotel?”
CH: “HA HA HA HA HA HA! How funny! Goodbye!”
And as you will recall, we did not have the internet, so we had to just hope and pray that the hotel would accept us at 12:03 AM when we arrived. Luckily, they did. Not sure why they gave us the number for Canadian 911 instead of their own, but that is a mystery for another day!
Tip #3 – Get a Sense of the Area BEFORE You Book Your Hotel
I say hotel, but as Captain Hindsight drove further and further out of town and into what looked to be the setting of an episode of Scooby Doo, it was clear that the Captain had not done his research and was taking his family to the sleaziest motel in North America. Captain Hindsight’s wife was not pleased. Next time, Captain Hindsight will do more research, although he would still like to point out that it was very, very cheap. And yes, that should have been a clue.
Tip #4 – Never Drink a Scaldingly Hot Beverage While Driving Around a Sharp Corner
Mrs. Hindsight did not want to stay in the cheap motel room one second longer than absoutely necessary, so we took off out of there in search of some Tim Bits and a hot beverage. Since we were short on time, Captain Hindsight decided to drink his hot chocolate in the car. He then decided to take a sip of the full and steaming drink at the exact moment that he turned a sharp corner over a bump onto the main road. Captain Hindsight got hot, hot chocolate all over his pants. Sad Captain Hindsight.
Tip #5 – Bring More Than One Pair of Pants
When travelling internationally, Captain Hindsight recommends bringing along more than one pair of pants. Sure, you are only going for one night and you can wear pants many, many days in a row, especially when you are on vacation, but you never know when you might spill boiling liquid chocolate onto your thighs. If this unlikely event were to happen, then you would be forced to spend the rest of the trip looking like a dirty idiot, and you don’t want that. Captain Hindsight says: Be Prepared!
Tip #6 – If You Don’t Speak the Language, Don’t Order Food
Our poor waitress. We had been there two days in a row for lunch, only because the food was so good, but the same non-english-speaking waitress had us both times. The first time she was trying to be polite. The second day in a row, her attitude was more like “Oh, is this what my life is now?” She did not know what we were ordering. Captain Hindsight got the wrong soup. The little hindsights did not get their food in the special paper cars that were advertised. It was chaos. Better to just wait to eat anything until you are back home. If you will be gone more than a week, bring a snack.
Tip #7 -Border Patrol Agents Do Not Like Jokes
Captain Hindsight would like to inform you that you should never, under any circumstances, attempt to banter with border patrol. They do not like it. That is all.