July 21: Jasper National Park

Trip Start Jun 02, 2011
Trip End Sep 25, 2011

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Flag of Canada  , Alberta,
Thursday, July 21, 2011

Jasper National Park, Alberta Canada

The weather today was supposed to be better than yesterday, however for most of the day it remained cool and gray.   However, since it was Xiu's last day, we planned activities in spite of the weather.  We drove out to Maligne Lake, which is supposed to be quite nice.   However, probably at least in part the result of the weather, we were not impressed and returned to Jasper.  However, the drive back and forth was a highlight since we saw some great wildlife including:  a brown bear, elk, and longhorn sheep.

When we returned to Jasper in the afternoon we went to Pyramid Lake, which is only about 10 minutes out of the town. When we arrived, the weather became much clearer and we had a good time for about 90 minutes. The girls played in the sand and caught small fish with the net. 

We then had to eat dinner and head back to town to drop Xiu off to catch her bus to the airport. The bus was about 30 minutes late, so we were relieved when it arrived.
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Xiu on

Here is a comment about planning... When I booked my trip out West, I knew that I could catch a flight out of Canada from either Edmonton or Calgary. So, since both were pretty much equidistance and had buses that could take me to both cities, I just picked one. I picked the wrong one, Calgary. The buses leaving Jasper to Calgary did not run often (since it is southbound and the icefield parkway could be iffy to travel on) and they were the wrong times. So, in order for me to get to Calgary to catch my flight, I had to take an overnight bus from Jasper to Edmonton to Calgary. This option was my only option and it would take me about 10-11 hours to get to Calgary, versus the 5 hours I originally planned. I met 2 nice young men from England while we were waiting for the bus in Jasper, and I asked them to look out for me. Otherwise I would have been very scared on the bus. Most people were very nice, but there were a couple of characters on the back of the bus who kept talking, yelling and swearing (and smoking even though it was not permitted). Mike told you our bus was late. So, due to the lateness, we missed our connecting bus from Edmonton to Calgary. So, in the middle of the night (a bit after midnight) with me being the oldest and the most mature of the lot of 5 passengers who needed to get to Calgary, I used my "charm" and some might say "demanding nature" to demand the Greyhound bus company to order and pay for a cab to take the 5 of us to meet up with the bus as waiting for the next bus which would have been an early morning bus to Calgary was NOT an option. 40 minutes later of talking and demanding, the bus company did indeed get us the cab. The cab drove us about 150 miles to meet up with the bus. Finally, 11 hours later, at 6 AM, I arrived at the Calgary airport. That however was not the end of the story. When I got to the airport, I paid to change to an earlier flight and was about to get my boarding pass. Then the delta service rep handed me a bomb and said she can't give me my boarding pass because my passport expired. Since the border control never said anything about my passport when we entered into Canada, I did not realize my passport expired. This is what happens when you stop traveling (which is something we used to do every other month before coming back to the US)... I showed the lady my drivers license, my credit cards and begged her to get me a boarding pass. It did not work and she told me to go see the US immigrations officers who might be able to help. However, immigration can't let me through without a valid boarding pass... they were less worried about my expired passport. They told me that the airline could give me a boarding pass but they don't want to because airline could get fined. So, after 2 hours of negotiating (between the delta cs rep and border control), and trying to get them to fly me to some where closer to Philly but still within Canada, I just lost it and started to cry as I did not want to stay in Calgary or anywhere in Canada until the embassy opened on Monday and go there to renew my passport. Finally, I gave up and told the CS rep that I will go look for a hotel to stay... at this time, the CS rep was explaining my situation to another CS rep who just turned up for work... to get confirmation that she did the right thing by not giving me my boarding pass. However, the newly arrived CS rep named Patty Boggs (my angel for the day) told the other rep that this type of situation does not happen that often and she should let me get on my plane and after much debate between the 2 and after Patty told the other CS rep that she would take all consequences on my behalf, did the first CS rep give me my boarding pass. So, 15 hours after I got on my bus from Jasper, I got my boarding pass and got on the plane to go home. The moral of the story is to be prepared and check all your documents to make sure they are all in order even if you are only going to your Canadian neighbor's house!

Deforestation Kelly on

Pattie Boggs is not an angel....rather she is the devil. I am an aquaintance of an employee and have heard several horror stories about this person. It is a $10,000 fine to Delta Airline's if they allow a passenger to fly/board an airplane without valid documentation such as a passport...not to mention the issues with homeland security. Pattie was recently busted for allowing a passenger to fly without a valid passport which in my opinion compromises the security of all people on the plane. Pattie likes to break the rules (rules that are in place for a resaon) and that is why she is one strike away from being canned!

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