I woke up about 4:00 am this morning, sick to my stomach, and a bit agonised in the left ankle and foot. I couldn't fall asleep again, so I got up, and checked some e-mail. I wish I hadn't (for reasons that I won't discuss here).
I finished some packing and went upstairs at 7:00 am and made some breakfast. My mother showed up to see me off to Hamilton. She's worried about my health, and doesn't think the trip to Hamilton is a good idea. I guess that remains to be seen. I went and showered, but didn't bother to shave.
spross showed up around 8:45 am, and I was somewhat panicky. We left my place at 9:20 am, but I really felt somewhat rushed. I had the feeling that I'd left something behind, and I was proved right when I discovered later (at the hotel) I had left my pill box and the diabetic needles at the house.
The drive was a wet one. We stopped at an Esso near Kingston to fill up the car, and so we could both take a bathroom break. The second time we stopped was at an Enroute stop for lunch at Tim Horton's. I had the split pea with ham soup and steak & cheese panini - yummy! The problem was that I didn't finish either, meaning that I'm possibly coming down with something or other.
The trip from Ottawa to Hamilton took us about 6 hours or so, with the two stops and hellish traffic in Toronto and along the Toronto-Hamilton corridor. It was raining - sometimes pouring to the point there was little visiblity - all the way, and I thought spross and I were going to die a couple of times, with the pounding, slipstream from (lots of) trucks, and with spross doing around 120 kph most of the time, with lots of surfing on the road.
Suffice it to say, we arrived in Hamilton and found the hotel, the Crowne Plaza Hamilton with only a little bit of angst (well, panic really). The hotel is... meh. The hotel room seems to be a small, cramped room with a toilet where you can't use the lav with the bathroom door open. There was no small safe in the room (for storing valuables), not enough drawers or cupboard space, and a few other things lacking. The two photos below tell the story [though I have to say in retrospect that the bed was quite comfortable and firm]. As spross said, it's not like the hotels that one finds in Indianapolis for GenCon.
After checking into the hotel and starting the unpacking process, the small fridge still hadn't been brought to the room, so I then reminded the hotel staff about this and arranged for this to occur. spross and I then headed over to Fontino's, one of the local grocery stores. It was a much longer and stressful trip than we anticipated, worsened by the condition of the car and the strange set-up for the traffic lights on King Street.
Oh yes, the car... spross's 2005 Cavalier started making strange knocking sounds from the area of the right front wheel. They stopped when he stepped on the gas, but otherwise... These noises started when we entered Hamilton proper and were serious cause for concern. Suffice to say, we managed to grab the groceries and snacks we wanted, and I then stopped and bought the pill box and a supply of diabetic needles that I needed for the weekend, and then headed back to the hotel.
After unloading the foodstuffs, spross talked to his dad, and he decided to take the car to the Canadian Tire garage that he had spotted while we were out getting the groceries. My ankle was hurting pretty bad, but while he went to the garage, I went out and checked out the O'Neko Ramen and KushiYak sushi and sashimi places across the street from the hotel. Both of them looked really good! The Crowne Plaza restaurant menu didn't really appeal to me, so...
I heard from spross at approximately 8:00 pm. He told me that the fellow at the Canadian Tire garage would look at the car the next day, Friday, and get back to him. In the meantime, they'd give him a ride back to the hotel. When spross returned, we went over to O'Neko Ramen for supper, and after a bit of debate there, settled on a classic hot pot. It was excellent, but a bit spicy for my taste, and I worried about the effect on my bowels. However, it was great; lots of bok choy, mushrooms, various other vegetables, and well done beef, chicken, and pork in good quantities. See the picture below.
After dinner, we made our way back to the Crowne Plaza, and wandered around a bit, checking out the convention facilities. The venue of the third floor seems small and cramped, much smaller than that of CanGames. Given my claustrophobia, this is not a good sign, but we'll see how things shape up tomorrow. I hope this trip was worth it.
We returned to the hotel room, and I wrote this journal entry around 11:15 pm. I waited until 11:30 pm to take my Aleve for the night, as my leg was quite swollen and hurting, and then went to bed.
And there you have it, the Thursday report about the trip to Hamilton and all. The trip was a bit tougher than I expected due to the pounding rain and all, but it could have been worse and we could have had snow.