(Alright, relatively short to get things started today - this is mainly a gripe-fest over Heathrow customs... sorry. Tomorrow the real travel/adventure begins.)
So, lessons learned, flying into Heathrow at 10am on a Thursday is ill-advised. I was one of the first in our batch and it took me - I'm not exaggerating - 2 hours to go through customs. Mixture of bad timing (2 officers were on lunch *eyeroll into the sun*) and the fact that all non-EU/non-UK are in ONE massive line makes for a very bad set-up. I was pretty much at peace with the idea I was going to miss my train to Eastbourne - I mean silly me, I thought landing at 10am, having a train at 13h47 would be temps en masse 😉
I'm very glad I was in the first batch that arrived at customs because the line up was 2x as long by the time I got served... those poor souls must have waited minimum 3 hours. I'm also lucky my customs officer was a good dude because after zero sleep on a 6.5 hrs plane ride followed by 2 hours of standing in line... I wasn't exactly patient or hospitable
lol. He asked me why I was going to Eastbourne and the best I could come up with was 'because I haven't been there before' which to be fair isn't a very good 'customs' answer lol. He went on about how there must be other places I haven't been and all I could muster was the 'teacher-at-the-end-of-the-year-face'.
He then asked about my work visa from years ago and I was like I don't even remember what year that was and I know that's bad, but like, it's in my passport so look at it..? I've entered the UK 3 or 4x since it's expired, and don't worry, I have less than zero desire to work here. As soon as I said that I half expected to be brought into questioning lol but he waved me through with no follow up. Alrighty then... snippy Canadian girl for the momentary win.
The Tube played nicely and I managed to get to Victoria at 13h40, I ran through the station (ugh) and made it to my train with 2 minutes to spare. Off to a start, aren't I? Still better than the time the Arriva trains all went kaput and Virgin
Rail put me in the 3hr taxi ride lol.
I slept on the train to Eastbourne which was the second wind I needed for the day. I'm staying near the waterfront, so I spent the afternoon exploring around the pier. It's a much larger/grander pier than I thought it was..? Nice surprise. And of course no trip along the British coast is complete in my books without a caramel and clotted cream ice cream cone 😊 I made my way onto the pier and just people watched for a good hour - there are a lot of dogs here too which doesn't hurt. I wandered to the very end of the pier and just stared out over the horizon - it's muggy today, so the water and sky kind of intertwine and just fog up over the horizon. I also marvelled at the old rusted out ... I'm not quite sure what it was but it was under the end of the pier. It was covered in moss and algae and birds, and I'm just curious what it was back in the day. And that was that - very low energy on the first day! On the way back
to town I got some real deal fish n' chips and some Kent strawberries for dessert to top off my Brit-food-appreciation day.
Tomorrow I'm off to hike some of the coastline - not sure if I'll do the coastal hike or go to Brighton and hike around there - whichever I don't do tomorrow will be the day after. I'm excited for the coastal walk - the cliffs here are outstanding.
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