Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Entire Country is Raining.

Here in Banbury, we lost power for several days, and I was busy doing important things, so I couldn't post. However I still want to explain how I got from Dublin to England.

Flying over Ireland, making a rapid descent, I was struck by how green and quaint everything was. No skyscrapers like when I left Chicago. Then, as we complete our landing I an able to remark my surroundings from the ground. The first thing I notice: a huge field of cows. Next to the airport. Possibly some sheep as well.

I now had the task of staying awake for an additional 4 hours before my connecting flight. After going through security again I entered the main terminal. I looked at the large board, found my flight, and found the airline had not yet set a gate for my flight. So I picked one that seemed quiet and tucked in for the duration.

The sky was overcast and grim. Which I took as a sign that I would instantly fall asleep in the airport, wake up 7 hours later, having missed my flight. To take my mind off things I walked up and down the terminal. I walked past cafes in which patrons were enjoying, what I can only assume is traditional, breakfast pints. I walked past overpriced Ireland sweatshirts and umbrellas and designer bags. Then I slunk back to my deserted gate. 

In the bathroom this contraption is available for anyone with 2 Euros. Why anyone would take the time to straighten their hair in an airport terminal, with a supposedly "sterile" flat iron is beyond my comprehension. Although the women in said lavatory seemed to find my taking a picture of this malarkey, while giggling, stranger than the machine itself. 

Once back at my gate, I scanned the large TV mounted on the left wall. Yes, according to the BBC, the entire country was raining. What have I gotten myself into? Also, my phone didn't appear to be in working order. Although I had bullied my Dad into calling the phone company (the night before I left, thanks Dad) to "unlock" my phone, it seemed puzzled. A red SOS was flashing where the network bars should have been. 

After three gate changes I finally boarded the flight to London. But here are some random observations I made in the downtime. 

Must buy darker sunglasses so I can stare at people more easily. 

That man wearing the sequin top over there has very shapely calves. 

Putting my sweater in my checked bag was not the best idea I've ever had. 

Yep, I'm stress sneezing and chilly, that sweater would have been awesome. 

Luggage tags! Why didn't I buy luggage tags? 

Must develop a way to suavely put my carry on into the overhead compartment without yelling "oh dear God" or something similar. 

What will I do when I land in London without a usable phone? 


Monday, August 15, 2011

Awkward Update From England 1

So My friend Lettuce and I were socializing in her kitchen. She was making chicken noodle soup for dinner and I was tooling around on the internet, finding songs to entertain us. Eventually, I scoured the depths of youtube to find songs of our childhood.

I settled on this 1992 classic:

If you skip to the end, you might notice the guttural yodeling of the two singers. Lettuce and I, oblivious as always, sang this with vigor and at the top of our lungs. As the door was open, the next door neighbors pop over to the wall to interrupt us. They kindly laughed with (us) at.

Lettuce and I fell on the floor crying and laughing with embarrassment. For 7 minutes.

Just wanted to share that.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Bus of the Skies

Airplanes and I should be natural friends. A trans-Atlantic flight is an excuse to sit down for 8 hours. And There's a TV right in front of me with over four movies on it! People come to bring me snacks and pop at my convenience and you're never more than 20ft. from a bathroom. Ah, luxury.

Yet every time I cram my booty into one of those seats a deep not of terror strikes in my very being. Maybe watching Lost the day before my trip was a mistake. What if we crash into the ocean or what if they run out of ice? The person next to me could have rheumatic fever, leprosy or irritable bowel syndrome. There is no way to be certain.

That baby at the front of coach seems to be upset for some reason. What if that baby can sense plane crashes and is trying to warn the crew?! Is it just me or is that creaking noise getting louder? Was it just me or was there a shaggy alien perched on the wing a second ago? Also, where is my sprite? I beeped the air hostess over 6 minutes ago!!!

Maybe I should try to sleep.

I hate waking up to the sound of my own snoring. Everyone on this plane heard my snoring. It sounded like a cement mixer. Also I feel like a seagull made a nest inside my mouth. Sleeping was a terrible idea. Maybe I can lean my head against the fold out tray. Hmm not unless I can stretch my neck like a giraffe. Maybe I can lean against the window. Well, those vibrations are not conducive to sleep.

I am 3397 miles from home, my hair is a state, and I feel like the greasiest chip from the bottom of the bag. And I won't be able to shower for another...15 hours.

The good news is I've landed in Dublin.

Chavs are the worst thing ever invented.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

And Now We Wait

I arrived at the airport three hours early as suggested on my ticket. I schlepped my bags inside, stopping only to say goodbye to my mother. Once inside I searched for the correct line and triple checked my passport, ID, money and ticket conformation were in my stylish-yet-affordable leather passport clutch. A comely gay gentleman assured me I was in the right place and directed me towards a huge line.

I don't think I packed enough. Maybe I should have jammed that 10th pair of jeans into my carry on.

 I waited in line for over an hour, slowly inching my $ 4.00 cart around wide corners. I observed backpackers, Irish-Americans on the way to heritage tours, and several chubby children. Also, there was a fairly posh, faintly Dutch woman behind me. And when I say behind me I mean she parked her bags next to my person and quickly invaded my personal bubble. She stood too close to me and muttered faintly. I wasn't sure she was talking to me so I promptly ignored the crap out of her. This is a skill honed over years, just ask my mother (or the company that keeps sending those pesky student loan bills). After an obscene amount of time spent in line I weighed my bags and got my boarding pass.

Now for the fun part: airport security. Because I am a paranoid android I refuse to wait in the general airport area. What if a tornado slices through the airport and only the people who were at their assigned gate were allowed to fly out? Unlikely, but you never know. I took off my shoes while holding back a shudder about the state of the floor. After a quick mishap about hair clips (who knew they would set off the metal detectors?), I was through.

And again, instead of spending a leisurely hour at a cafe I sped to the correct gate and plopped myself into the nearest seat. Well that's not precisely true; I always try to position my body so I can stare at as many people as possible. Thankfully a British couple indulged my voyeurism and sat in the same row as me. They looked like twins, although it was clear they were married. They both sported tweed suits, the same haircut and the same countenance. I was in heaven.

After staring at everyone in the terminal thoroughly the air hostesses announced the time for boarding had arrived. I got on the plane.

Did I mention I'm a nervous airplane passenger?  

Sunday, August 7, 2011

I'm back, but also gone

Yes I know I haven't posted in FOREVER. In my I haven't been doing much the past month. However, I have some backlogged adventures that will creep in eventually.

In case you are unaware, I have left America and entered the land of England. I am still adjusting to the time change. And by adjusting I mean I slept the entire day away then had a cup of hot chocolate. I plan to be a vampire while across the pond.

I packed my bags, then unpacked and re-packed. I weighed my bags the night before I left and took out some unnecessary items and weighed them again. Here's my luggage:

I have impeccable taste in iPad covers. 

Wait those are not my bags. I forgot those belong to my impossibly rich friend. My mistake. Here're my bags. 

That rich friend did give me the blue suitcase, in his defense. 

Now about that pink bag. It has traveled with me to Scotland on a previous visit. It was a present from my best friend, who for the purposes of this blog will be called Lettuce. She bought them as a Christmas present. When I got off the plane in Glasgow I discovered that this brand new bag had been sorely mistreated. A wheel was popped off and There were tears and scuffs throughout. I was too tired to complain and dragged my bags out of the airport. 

I decided to take this bag with me to England, after my father had graciously fixed the wheels, but the bag once again was injured along the journey. More on that later. 

I went to a local bank and managed to acquire some monopoly money that the teller assured me was British Sterling. 
These pounds don't feel heavy to me!!! Get it?!?

I had my touristy you-won't-rob me-gypsy money clip that fastens around the waist. I lugged over 100 pounds of totally essential items (I do need 9 pairs of jeans and don't you tell me different) in two checked bags, a carry-on and a purse large enough to smuggle a Christmas ham. I arrived at O'hare airport.