Wednesday 21 May 2003

Yeah well. Remember last time how I said that the front desk had arranged a car to take me to the aiport at 4:50? I showed up downstairs, packed and ready to go around 4:45 to wait for him. I have to be at Luton NO LATER than 6:30 in order to make the flight.

4:50 no driver. Maybe he's running a bit late.

4:55 still no driver.

5:00 yet again, no driver.

At 5:05 I go downstairs and knock on the inkeepers door. It took nearly 5 minutes to get her to answer and even then she said that these drivers are notoriously unreliable and that there was nothing she could do. When I asked to use a phone to call him (they did give me his number the night before), she said that she only had a mobile and that the phone at the front desk was out of order so I was on my own.

great. Thanks for nothing.


So I grab my bags and head out to the street to try and catch a cab myself. The first two who stopped looked at their watches and said there was no way they could get me to the airport for less than £100 or that there would be no way to get there in time for the flight so I was just out of luck.

Londoners are not earning themselves any good marks at this point.


The third cab who stopped said that while him taking me to the airport would be horribly expensive, and that even if he did, he couldn't garuntee getting me there in time, he could get me to the train station to catch the first train to Luton at 5:45 and that that would be my best bet.

So in I jump, and on the way explain the entire situation. I could tell he felt awful, and he gave me some really good advice on how to avoid that situation in the future. Evidently, the front desk didn't book at cab, they just booked a regular person they knew (umm can anyone else say not safe?) and that these "contract cars" were really unreliable and that he was surprised that any respected establishment would put me in that kind of situation.

He gets me to the Thameslink Station at exactly 5:35 due to some very good driving and I tipped him an extra £5 for his help and sensitivity, because at that point I was more than a little stressed.

The train gets there early at 5:40 and I'm on it. It took right at 40 minutes to get to Luton, and it was looking like I would be able to make the plane. Well, we get to the Airport Station, and there's a shuttle to take you the rest of the way to the airport. Ok. . . we all get on and wait. . .and wait. . .and wait. . .and the driver of the shuttle keeps talking on his mobile. Finally he shuts up and gets moving at 6:25.

We pull up to the airport, and I get into the terminal just in time for me to see the person close the desk for my flight. 6:35. I beg one of the other attendents to check me onto the flight, even if that meant checking my baggage on the next day's flight. They said the best I could do was either wait until that night at 8:30pm or take the flight to Edinburgh and then the train over to Aberdeen. Because I didn't fancy spending 14 hours in the airport, I had them switch my reservation to Edinburgh. Found a neat little internet kiosk and emailed Brett about the changes to my schedule.

So off I went. Arrived in Edinburgh, and got to take a lovely bus route through the city. The train station was right across the street from the castle. How I would have loved to take a few hours and tour it, but I got to the station at 10:10 and the next train was 10:25. So, no castle for me.

But, I did get the most beautiful ride through the Scottish country side and along the shore. I've never seen fields such a vibrant green or flowers that color yellow or purple. With the hazy sky, it provided an even greater contrast to the colors. So, even though I arrived into Aberdeen some four hours late, I was pretty relaxed by the time I got there, and pretty tired.

But I got here, and got to see some amazing scenery along the way. Cost me about £35 more than expected, but all's well that ends well right?