Sunday, 11 September 2011

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It's Over? I'm Going to Bed!!!

So it's finally over.  Five days and seven cities later, it's time to stuff everything in my (newly purchased) suitcase and head for home.  It's been a lot of fun, and I've learned a lot, met a ton of fantastic people, and been places that I wouldn't even have imagined I wanted to go, but really hope that I get to go back to.  Sure, it hasn't always been smooth (*cough* Passport *cough*) and things were radically changed on the fly (At the last moment the US government wouldn't allow Canadians on the tour of the Air Force base in Denver.  It's OK though because we banned the Americans from visiting Tim Hortons in Montreal.) but eventually, everything got done.  It got done late though.  The shuttle from the hotel left right when it was supposed to tonight, thus making it the first thing in the entire MegaDo to be on time.

Despite our lack of punctuality, I learned an enormous amount of stuff over these five days, and since you couldn't be with me I feel obligated to share some of this knowledge with you. 

Lessons from the StarMegaDo3:
  • I know you're thinking it, so let's get it out of the way first.  Always know where your passport is. 
  • If, for some reason that was completely not your fault, you should find yourself trying to get in to Canada without a passport, the criteria used by the border guard is whether or not you sound Canadian.  I'm not sure what that is, but apparently it sounds like me.
  • It might be time to look in to Nexus.  It saved people almost an hour when we were coming in to Montreal, and almost four hours when coming in to Chicago.  That's time that could be spent in the lounge!
  • Speaking of the lounge, apparently the frequent flyer family has an alcohol dependency.  The companies who put on the open bar at the receptions were really playing with fire.
  • You're not going to believe this one, but I'm the normal person in this group.  The schemes and routes that these people come up with are amazingly intricate and stunningly efficient.
  • Their favorite way to earn miles though, is credit card churning.  I got to watch at one point while a few guys were comparing credit card collections.  It blew me away.  Some of these guys have stacks of cards bigger than the stacks of hockey cards I used to collect when I was younger.  I did laugh when I saw that they were wrapped in elastic bands though.  Don't these people know about "Mint Condition"?
  • Only in the world of frequent flyer miles is an 18 year old with 15 credit cards a sign of brilliant planning.

  • We care about things that nobody else cares about.  A behind the scenes tour of a hotels laundry facilities might not be high on your list of "must dos" on a vacation, but we all jumped at the chance.  Some of us twice.
  • When trying to order at Dairy Queen in Montreal, the french word for shake is not "le shake" and calling it that will get you some kind of caramely float drink.
  • Do not try and walk at a quick pace 30 minutes after arriving in Denver.  Or maybe I'm just that out of shape.
  • If you get the chance, ask about upgrading to a package that actually has sleep scheduled in to it.
  • With this group, you don't have to be first in line for the food, there will be plenty.  If they're handing out free stuff though, you'd better be quick.
  • Apparently most hotels aren't set up to handle 161 top level elite members arriving at once.  Kudos to the Hyatt Montreal for having everything worked out perfectly.
  • The most Chinese looking building in Montreal's Chinatown is the Holiday Inn.

  • There's good and bad points to running into us in the airport.  If you're behind us going through security, don't worry.  I promise you we don't have a pocket knife in our pants and a six pack of water in our carry on bag.
  • On the other hand, if you were planning on trying to use the elite line, we apologize for the 161 people you just found yourself behind.
It's been a fun week, but I'm more than ready to head home for a little bit.  If you get the chance to go on one of these trips, I would highly encourage it (there's one coming up in January) but make sure you know what you're getting yourself in for.  Quiet, orderly, and complacent are not words used to describe this bunch of crazy people.  I heard insane, unruly, and disorganized to name a few.  The rest were uttered by people behind us at hotel check-in, and I can't print those here.