24 January, 2008

Across the Water

Hello from the other side! Yes, it's taken me this long to get to my computer. Well, I managed yesterday but I was so tired from all the walking around the city that I just went to sleep. But I am awake today, despite my walking, and so I am going to post! I wrote a bunch of stuff down earlier, before I had net, so the thoughts are still fresh!


I pretty much freaked out the entire way to the airport. My dad started off driving reeeeally slowly (understandable since he was driving a big, unfamiliar vehicle) but it freaked me out. I am so paranoid about being late for things like flights, and I still wanted to visit my mom in the hospital. We did make a far-too-short stop at the hospital so I could say good-bye and collect a hug. She was doing really well, and I'm glad I knew that before I left.

It was -20°C when we got to the airport. A good way to leave, honestly! All told, I had packed more than 30 kilos over the weight allowance for the flight. I expected that, but I figured it was cheaper to bring it over than to buy it again in pounds sterling. The check-in guy nearly gave me a heart attack when he said it was going to cost $500, but he'd forgotten that I was allowed 20 kilos free. Then Brent and I ran circles trying to get my bike checked. With that accomplished, I headed through security. I had very little with me, but it was jumbled all in a mess, since they'd made me check my carry-on and I'd had to do a rapid sort and re-pack.

The Duty Free does not carry screech. Bastards.

The plane ride was good, all considered. It was quite empty and so I had my whole half-row to myself. I read for a while, then enjoyed dinner: chana masala and a tasty salad. The flight attendant was wonderful and brewed extra tea so I could fill my travel mug and enjoy it longer. Airplane mugs are so tiny. Snack was a carrot sandwich, which became less mystifying when I discovered it had hummus, too. Apparently when you tell people you're vegan (no ovo-lacto vegetarian option was given) they put tasty hummus on your sandwich instead of nasty butter or mayo. I couldn't really sleep, but I tried. Next thing I knew, we were landing in Glasgow, and I got my first look at Scotland!

We landed in Glasgow at about 0800hrs local time, early. But Manchester was cranky and wouldn't let us arrive there early, so we sat at the gate for an hour and a half, doing nothing, not even allowed off the plane. It was gloomy and rainy in Scotland, but distressingly empty of sheep. Still, pretty.

Landing in Manchester went well, though a little bumpy and even gloomier and rainier than Scotland. All my luggage and my bike took up two carts, which I - with a skill that would make an octopus jealous - navigated through the halls to the train station. They changed my train's platform at the last minute and about a half-dozen of us got on the wrong train. We got off at the next station and had to sidetrack over to Manchester-Picadilly station to catch up with the proper train. A kind gent helped me with my bags. He had to get to Leeds, just one station before York, and he helped me through all the transfers.

(Lost in Wilmslow)

(Manchester Picadilly Station)

One station short of Leeds, the trains got stalled because of flooding in a particular tunnel. It's been raining here a lot, apparently. We sat on the tracks for an hour. My companion was cranky, but I just sort of passed out a few times. 1600hrs local time, I get to York station. I got my bags (but not my bike) on a cart and couldn't find another one. I just kind of stood there in consternation, trying to figure this out, until a station operator saw me and helped me re-stack them to include the bike. MAN, those guys can pack! He also helped me out of the station and got me a cab. In the dark and rain, I picked up my keys and went to my res. I tipped well.

My key wouldn't turn, so I rang the bell and someone answered. She let me in, introduced herself, and explained that the keys work, but are tricky. Then she showed me my room.

(To be continued....)


Alex said...

Welcome to the country!

Kirsten said...

What an adventure! Glad you're safe and have computer access :)