Third World to First World, But They Still Drive on the Left Here

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November 15th 2006
Published: December 7th 2006
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Wednesday November 15, 2006 - I woke up at an ungodly 2:45am this morning, about 15 minutes before my alarm. My taxi was due to come at 3:30am so I got my things ready and went downstairs with a few minutes to spare. The man on duty at the hotel told me I was there too early (it was 3:25am) and said to sit down and relax. My backpack is far too heavy to put down just to pick it up again, so I just stayed standing there waiting. I also wanted to intimidate him into making sure it all happened like it was supposed to. When 3:30am came and went, I was a little concerned. My intimidation technique had failed. Then they came to get me and brought me to a cab outside. Turns out the special cab service just means that they will wake someone up (who is sleeping in their cab) around the appropriate time. By the time he was actually awake I was concerned I would be late to the airport - I was supposed to be there at 4am. Then we had to stop at the gas station! I was not in the mood for this. I even had to get out of the car while the fuel was being pumped in, and at first I refused. I thought the driver would just drive off with my luggage. But then he got out as well so I took my important bags and got out. No problem and then we were on our way.

I think the driver started to fall asleep at times so I tried to engage him in conversation to keep him awake. We made it to the airport and I left him behind without a concern. Finally, a non-sad goodbye. At the airport I checked in with little hassle, though I was unable to get the exit row seat I had been dreaming of. Security did not take long and I had quite some time to kill before my flight, so I read a little and people watched the rest of the time.

The flight to London took 9 hr 40 min, and I spent most of that time in a haze, watching movies. British Airways has individual tvs in every seat and I had fun choosing the films I wanted to watch. Or at least, I had fun until both of the movie channels I chose were out of order. Luckily there was a fall back channel - Chocolat, one of my favorite movies. It played three times and I watched it twice, sleeping through the second showing. I have the amazing ability to be able to be continually entertained by the same movie or song over and over. It must tie into my bad memory but is convenient.

Once I arrived in London I weaved my way through Heathrow Airport to the next sector of my trip, the flight to Edinburgh. I went through Immigration and was happy that I didn't have to collect my bag for customs, I could just pick it up in Inverness. I had a little time to kill before the next flight, and I mostly entertained myself with people watching again. The flight was about an hour long and then I had to wait another hour for my short flight to Inverness. The major notable was that the bathrooms in this airport played relaxing music with bird song. Unexpected. The last flight was on a much smaller plane and was less than an hour. The flight attendant was super excited about my henna-ed hands and we chatted on and off before the flight took off. There was just enough time for the beverage service before we landed (British Airways has the cutest tiniest cans of coke I have ever seen).

Finally we arrived in Inverness. I had asked Steve where I should go to meet him and he said it wouldn't be a problem in Inverness. He was right. It is a small airport. I walked into the airport from outside after deplaning and there he was. It was just that small. It was nice to see him again - the last time was in China. He greeted me with a present - a little stuffed Loch Ness monster wearing a Scottish cap. He noticed my henna but I don't think he was too surprised. He already had my bag when I came out of the bathroom and we started our drive back to his house in Elgin. By this time it was a little after 5pm, which was after 10:30pm in India, so I had been up for a long time and was rather tired.

We had a nice drive to Elgin but it was already dark so I wasn't able to get a good look at the countryside on the way. Once we arrived he started to heat up the meal he had prepared for dinner. It was about as traditional a meal as you can have in Scotland - a haggis, turnips, potatoes and veg. He didn't tell me it was a haggis at first but I realized it and he admitted it. He told me I didn't have to eat it if I didn't like it. But it was good, and a really thoughtful meal. We watched a little tv afterwards and I became aquainted with the tv show Deal or No Deal. Very stressful and exciting show. I went to bed at 9pm as I was fading fast - it was already 2am in my head.

*********************************************** See Edinburgh and Aberdeen blogs for Thurs-Sat ***************************************************

Sunday November 19, 2006 - Today was a day of hang overs and relaxing, but it had been planned that way from the start. We just spent the day doing nothing and relaxing. We did watch a couple of movies, including one of the worst movies I have ever seen in my life. It was a horror/comedy and was neither funny nor scary. Just stupid. And yet we finished the movie. Amazing.

Around 4pm or so, Steve's mom came over. She lives within walking distance, and somehow managed to walk over through all the heavy winds without blowing away. We got a chance to meet while Steve prepared and cooked dinner, and we also watched some tv, including Deal or No Deal and a show that takes place in the British Museum after hours, the Codex. That show was a lot of fun. And the contestants who fail all get together at the end to help their opponent win the final round! That is so not blood-thirsty America is all I'm saying. We had a good evening together and then she walked home again, though how she made it with the winds even stronger was beyond me. It was an early night as we were both tired from laziness and would be getting up in the morning for a new sight seeing adventure.


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