How long am I going to stare at the ceiling? Is it really still dark outside? I wonder what time is it? 5:38 am. Jesus, did I sleep at all? I might as well get up, use the washroom, have a shower, get dressed, sort out how I am going to get to the Rockland Center for 9:00 am. Mike disappeared yesterday, he is no longer an option. I have about $3 in change, surely there is public transport. I hope to hell there aren't very many connections. The guy at the front desk will help me out, I hope.
Dried off, relieved, packed, gear on back, down the YMCA stairs. A quick look at my watch, 6:49 am, I have loads of time. The guy at the front desk looks surprised that there is anyone up and about this early.
“How you doing?” I ask.
“Good morning, can I help you?” He responds.
“Yep, first I'd like to check out, here is the room key.” Hand him the key.
“Great, thank you, I hope you enjoyed your stay with us." He hangs the key on the wall with others.
“Ya, it was great, thanks. Listen, I have to get to the Rockland Center, I was wondering if you knew if there was a bus or something that could get me from here, there?” (fingers crossed)
“Hmm, let me think. I think it is the number 4 that goes straight from here to there. I better look at the bus route to make sure... yep, the number 4 bus, it stops just up at the end the street every half hour or so. According to this schedule the next bus leaves at 7:25.” He passes me a bus schedule.
“Awesome, thanks so much.” Off I go!
“Your welcome, good luck eh.”
Out the door. Heavily weighted down by my own gear, I waddle up the street to the bus stop. Check watch, 7:12, light a smoke, wait. Shit, I forgot to ask the Y guy how much a bus ticket costs. It can't cost any more than 3 bucks, could it? I will have to ask the bus driver. The number 4 bus, right? Is that it? Nope that is the number 12. It's only 7:17, chill Joe, relax, hell light another smoke.
Here comes the bus. Change in hand.
“How are you? How much do I owe you?” I had that line well prepared in advance. I didn't even stutter.
“$2.50” The bus driver mumbles.
“Right, good. This bus takes me to the Rockland Center, eh?” (fingers crossed)
“Sure does.” Another mumble, barely heard him.
“Great, thanks.” Pick a spot, sit down.
Over-stuffed knapsack and dufflebag placed on two seats, sit beside them, watch for that mall like a hawk. You don't know Edmonton at all. Keep your eyes to the window. Don't blink.
Downtown Edmonton had come to life, it seems that Mike was right, there is a rush hour in Edmonton. The bus and I were in amongst it. We slowly inched our way out of the downtown core. I recognized the university area, Whyte Ave was around here somewhere. I bet we are getting close. We roll through an area of gas stations and strip malls. We will arrive soon. I can feel it. I am excited. It is really happening, adventure will ensue. There was no turning back now.