After the usual frenetic weeks my life has styled recently, I am finally at the start of my dream trip!
I had a pretty good trip. We managed to leave home on time, with two excited little Grandies, at sparrows fart! We got to the airport in about 2 hours, without getting snarled in traffic. My suitcase bred! It was about 6 kg overweight, so out went my boots, thick jersey, my beautiful new skin care range, jeans, odds and ends, perfume, cosmetics, hair dryer towel, oh gosh what all! I even added pants to my ensemble, which were great in the cold early morning, so that worked well!
Lil K thought it was great fun blowing me kisses as the line snaked around and he could watch me. So sweet! My Big G cried and cried, and called to me all the way. Oh my baby, I wont be long! They have to help Daddy move into their home in the flat attached to the farm house. Our son arrived late afternoon of the day before my trip! It will keep everyone very busy!
Duty-free was amazing! A real cornucopia of delights! I bought 2 bottles of sparkling water, peppermints and a sparkling 9 carat gold neck chain for my pendant! I couldn’t take the chance of the other finally breaking, and loosing my precious pendant! I got it at half-price too! Yay!
I entertained fellow passengers awaiting boarding when I spoke to Ray and the boys. Some had seen the Grandies at the Boarding gates, and were now privy to our conversation. Big G was fine, and told me about the helicopters and seeing my plane arrive at the gate. He saw the luggage being loaded as well as the food and drinks. He was over it, but made sure to tell me he loves me and misses me
:-). I got chatting to a group around me then and we swapped stories of where we were going and why. Lovely!
I met a lovely Canadian girl, my seat-row mate on the first flight. She sat at the window, and slept a lot. She has been on a two month tour of South America and was making her way to Bali for a wedding!
Qatar was great, really good food! But the DOHA airport was just a long, tired, uninspiring wait. However, I was able to walk a bit and loved people-watching. I hadn’t been able to reserve a seat of my choice on the 2nd leg, and was sandwiched between two sweet men. An Englishman from Tasmania, going home to mum; who slept most of the way. On my left, an English business man; who passed out before take-off and woke after landing :-). I could not summon sleep at all, despite being very tired, and couldn’t concentrate on TV or a movie. Instead, I went into my head and just entertained myself :-). I finally managed to sleep with 1 hour 5 mins to go.
I awoke as we started our descent. I saw the London Eye, The Thames, Olympic Stadium, and lots more I recognised from photos! All from a sliver of window to my right! Tasmania man was so excited to see London, he may even have surpassed my own excitement! 🙂
Arrival at Heathrow was 10 minutes early. But someone parked in our parking bay! We were sent to some remote spot to wait. It was lovely that nobody grumbled, but sat patiently. We were beautifully entertained by a tiny little angel girl-child – who had obviously slept sweetly all the way. She went through her repertoire of Nursery Rhymes in a sweet, clear, sing-song voice. She was in top form, and her delivery was full of expression, pride and delight that she had a very appreciative and captive audience! Every rendition was met with applause and coos of delight. As she finished her repertoire, we began moving. Perfect!
I was last to disembark, having decided to simply enjoy and be relaxed. The queue was a very long, disgruntled snake of tired passengers. We were entertained by a staff member who gave us a lecture in unfair labour practices, that had airport staff working long, hard hours due to cut-backs, and asked that everyone lay a formal complaint. I didn’t, since it turned out to be an hour long chance to make a new friend :-).
I met Debra, from New York. Her daughter has come over to study, so she is here to help her get settled. She is also interviewing for a job in Germany, which will be for 2 years. It’ll mean she can pop over fairly often at minimal expense, to see her daughter, so I hope she gets it. She is a writer of technical books on English Lit. We got chatting about SA and conservation, poaching problems, canned hunting and my book. We swapped emails, and she wants to follow my blog and book progress! So, hi Debra!
I met a young man from Texas while waiting for our train, and we chatted. He has come over to study poetry at Plymouth University! Fascinating! So I told him about the Roar Tour that us girls are doing, and our motto taken from the poem Warning, by Jenny Joseph! He was thrilled, as she is an English Poet, and he is here to specifically study English Poets, ancient and modern and their influence today. He’s going to use our story! Great fun this travelling thing :-)!
Finding my way around, getting my enormous, heavy suitcase onto a trolley and going through Customs was easy and unfussed. It was wonderful! I got a SIM card for both cellphone and tablet and was on my way! The underground trip from terminal to Central Bus Service was only one stop, but sooo long! It makes you realise just how big the airport must be! I found my bus stop in seconds and only waited 10 minutes, long enough to phone home!
I spent the trip to Oxford trying to send texts, and connect to the free WI Fi on board. No such luck! I spoke to both brother and sister-in-law, and look forward to seeing them! I caught a London taxi to my little hotel, through the most beautiful City of Oxford! Wow! I am really looking forward to a proper Hop on Hop off Tour tomorrow (or later!)
I had 2 hours of lovely sleep to get me through getting supplies and sorting out problems with tablet and cellphone. The public transport is fabulous! So was the city centre! Everything within a block! However, I now have 4 SIM cards, with about £40 airtime! I got 2 silly buggers selling me cards that didn’t work! But I’ll use those to phone home! I went back to the hotel with no problem, despite a Russian driver who didn’t have a clue where I wanted to go :-).
I was stunned at the late hour when I got things unpacked and organised and had a lovely shower. I phoned Jax, my lovely friend, and it was amazing chatting to her after all this time! I am so looking forward to Saturday and our 9 days together! My new friend, Debra, said I should write a book about this trip too! I may do so! Ours is a special friendship, and I think the Roar Tour will be fabulous!
I made contact via fb with many loved ones, and am humbled at the love of friends. I have the most amazingly, wonderful friends! This is truly the trip of a lifetime! 🙂