dimarts, d’agost 09, 2005

Rainbow Tour 2005 Travel Log - Day 1 - Thursday 7.7.05

Day 1 actually began on Day -1, on Wednesday, July 6th when I was packing and getting the last few details sorted for my trip. I had hired a car service to ferry me from Schenectady to Newark, and the driver showed up around 2:30 AM and carried my things to the car. On the way down to the airport I chatted with the driver for a little while, but then I nodded off as the trip wore on. I was incredibly tired by that point as I had been up most of the day. I had slept in a little bit, but really couldn't sleep all day since there were still things to get down. The trip to Newark was otherwise uneventful, and I checked my bags and went through security.

When I arrived at the gate, CNN was broadcasting on three televisions sets that a number of strange explosions had just rocked London. For the next hour and a half I sat and watched the events there unfold, wondering if I should even bother going or if I would even be able to land at Heathrow once we got across the ocean. On several occasions I considered just turning around and walking out of the airport, but in the end I decided to stay the course, resoluting vowing that I was not going to meet the Great Question Mark during this trip.

The flight over was equally uneventful as my ride down the airport, and I made Heathrow by around 8:30 in the evening London time. I was very tired however, since I couldn't sleep well on the airplane and only managed to nod off once or twice. I picked up my little black Vauxhall Corsa from the Alamo rental car company (which to my great surprise was an automatic!), and I found my way to my hotel - the Ship - in the quaint little English village of Shepperton about 20 minutes from the airport. Unfortunately, my reservation at the Ship had sunk, and I was forced to look for accomodation elsewhere (it was actually a mix up on the arrival date, and was probably my own fault). The young lady at the Ship recommended another hotel nearby which was twice as expensive, but as I was tired I accepted the rate and drove across town to the Romsey Manor and checked in.

They book me into a room which smelled of smoke, and to my mind was not worth £90 a night. Shortly after entering the room, the night porter was knocking at my door asking if I would be willing to swtich rooms as the clerk had realized that she put me in a room which had only recently been vacated, and may not have been cleaned. They put me in a room on the third floor, but thankfully the night porter helped me carry my bags. The second room was larger and didn't smell of smoke, and I was much happer with it. I still didn't think it was worth £90!

I made a few telephone calls to people at home I knew would be worried about my whereabouts during the bombings, and then crawled into bed. As I lay down, I realized that I couldn't find my thumb ring (I had recently bought it at the Western Mass. Highland Games). I went back down to inquire at the front desk, and they let me back into the first room, but I was unable to locate it. I returned to my room a bit disheartened and went to sleep. For some reason, around 5AM, I woke up, and realized I couldn't find my wallet. I looked all over the room for it, and still couldn't find it. I went downstairs, but no one was around. I was frantic, but resigned myself to living on my backup wallet (I do carry two on long trips, just in case). I decided to make a stop in the bathroom, and lo and behold, during my sleep deprived delirium I had put my wallet and my thum ring on on the toilet tank! After feeling like a fool, I crawled back into bed and slept soundly for a few more hours.