If you look up directions in Canada, especially in winter time, and you see walking distance is 20-minutes or more, you may like to consider other options like taking a bus from the stop if you have a choice! If you don’t, you are on your own like I was some days back!
Looking back now, I can only laugh at the happening, which I did not find funny AT ALL at that time!
So I had this meeting one chilling freezing Monday morning. On checking the bus route I discovered I had two options: 1-bus with 20 minutes’ walk to the destination OR 2-buses with 2 minutes’ walk. With the 2-buses option, I stood the chance of running late by 5mins. Here in Canada, lateness is a big deal!
I thought, hmnn… 20mins walk, as a certified *wakabout that I am… not bad, I can pull this off! I will go with the 1-bus option, and walk the rest of the way, to arrive on time!
As backup to help me find me way, I had taken Google map snapshots of the route, the previous day. #Efficiency. On getting off the 1-bus, I walked for about 5 mins and got to this intersection where I got a bit confused on whether to turn right or left. I was standing in front of a Landmark building, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Lovely place! Been here once late last year, but this freezing morning, no time to admire the place. So I turned right, walked down the road in front of CMHR for about 5 minutes, and turned left again.
Alas! I found myself in a place that looked like a frozen cemetery, some monument-like structures were looking nice, and on a bearable-weather kind of day, I would have stopped to take a photo! The ground was covered in snow that was almost turning to ice, so I had to carefully watch my steps. The place looked so deserted. I saw someone walking in front of me, and tried to catch up to ask for directions, but he was too fast, and for fear of falling on ice, I slowed down and retraced my steps back to the familiar CMHR building. Temperature was about -20C, with real feel of -24C.
Allow me digress, and quickly drop this here. In Canada, you MUST take note of the temperature, but the real feel, that is the main deal! So it could be -12C and real feel -20C, beware!!
Back to the gist: At this time, I was already freezing cold! I could feel the cold finding its way into my body, somehow through my layered clothing, heavy jacket, mitten, head warmer, thermal underwear! At the CMHR building, I saw some guys, 4 of them, dressed in overalls, I moved closer and started to form my words. Before I even opened my mouth to utter the sentences, I noticed one of the men take some steps back. In my head I’m like, what is going on here? Could it be that I have turned white from the “monument” place, I am not understanding this! I ignored his unfriendly moves, and asked for directions from the group, I could hear my own voice quivering from the cold. One of them was kind enough to respond by telling me, he thinks I need to cross the bridge to Provencher, and he’s not sure where it is after the bridge. I should have turned left when I turned right earlier.
I heard bells ringing in my head. Ah, bridge!! My heart sank for fear of more cold.
I continued my journey, and then realized again that I was on the side of the bridge which did not have a sidewalk, so I needed to cross the road. I looked back and saw I had passed the pedestrian crossing. So, you mean I have to take some 30 feet back to where the pedestrian light is?! With all my skills at crossing Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway?! Being in Canada for these few months has conditioned my mind to the huge fine for jaywalking (pedestrian crossing midblock or entering crosswalks when he/she does not have the right-of-way.). This can cost you over $100 fine, if caught. Imagine that! Well, I found my way to the bridge sidewalk, I choose not to mention how.
While walking on d bridge, picturesque bridge, with river turned ice below, and no energy to pause and enjoy the scenery, 2 different buses from the 2-buses option passed me! So much for not wanting to be late! Gradually, I made my way to the end of the bridge.
Now another dilemma, I’m at the end of the bridge, where do I turn, left or right. Cold has a way of freezing brain cells! It does not help the brain cells at all, and it certainly did not help the circuits in my phone, ‘cos the phone which was about 80% charged when I left home suddenly went dead. I thought to myself, after all the *suffer-head this morning, I cannot return home without achieving that which I came out to do. I found a library which was locked and stood in the warm lobby, to warm myself and my phone up. Luckily my phone came back on, and I was able to refer to my snapshots for directions.
I finally arrived at my destination, about 10mins late and started to apologize for being late. Luckily, I was told it was not much a problem that day, as a few members showed up late or called in sick this fateful Monday morning.
On my way out after the meeting, I was in the company of one of the attendees, and found myself at an exit on another side of the building, definitely not the side I entered through. I bet you can guess what I did next!
I wisely and gladly, made my way back into the building, did some merry-go-round to the same place I entered from. I cannot be deceived twice. I also took 2 buses back home! Gladly!
Today I can boldly say I understand the several entrances leading into the building from different streets, and certainly know not to attempt a 20mins walk in winter if I have options ever again!!
*wakabout – a slang for someone who likes trekking, someone who hardly sits still
*suffer-head – slang for suffering