I am sitting here at London Gatwick waiting for Eliza to show. I have most likely another hour. My flight over arrived in very early this morning, like just after 7AM UK time. I find it ironic that I am once again transiting through airports that are managed by the BAA. In 2007, on my last trip through this airport, I swore that I would never, ever voluntarily connect in one of the London airports again. I was so annoyed by the their entire passenger flow, inefficiency and just plain passenger unfriendly ways of doing things. And let’s also not forget the concept of British customer service, which is generally low. I am not someone who expects the service level from “Are You Being Served?” but in the airports here in particular, it is just awful. Well, 7 years later and I find that it hasn’t improved at all. If possible, now the airport is even less passenger friendly. Which is doubly unfortunate because all their marketing campaigns are touting what an improvement they are! I think too that they suffer from a case of bigger means better. Rather than using space more conservatively and maximizing it, they have these long wandering hallways that are just empty and eventually you end up in yet another great hall with very little purpose or warmth.
Oh, and I got a lecture from Border Defense about technology and why Apple is superior in all ways. And I really just wanted him to stamp my passport and landing card and let me out so I could find some coffee. Like in the US, there are no services before immigration. I think that people might feel more welcome if they could stop for a cup of tea or coffee before they embark through another seemingly endless hallway. Just think, you could start a little coffee shop and post the sign outside “Last refreshments before the immigration hall” kind of like those “last gas for 100 miles” that you see. I think I would call it Outpost or something like that.
I am excited to be going on vacation. I picked up my Lonely Planet guide in English from the library yesterday and I have been reading it quite diligently so I can make the most of my time. Of course, at first I was busy plotting out driving around the whole country on the Ring Road and calculating how much time in each region and what to see. And then I realized I was in American Travel mode and I should knock that off. So, I haven’t adjusted my reading but rather adjusted my goals 😉
George was excited when I got up this morning at 4AM. And they were very excited to get breakfast so early. I could hear them thinking “We just had our bedtime tortilla three hours ago! This rocks!” I think something is unsettling Lientje because she wants to go outside all the time. I blockaded the space between the two sheds yesterday while I kept her in the guest room. I don’t want hanging out on the shed roof for the whole week. Neither of the cats will go in my room anymore which is really strange because it used to be their domain. I think I will never understand cats. There is a saying in Dutch that dogs have a boss and cats have personnel. Which is very true.
I have a hard time understanding all the English around me. That seems so strange. I couldn’t really follow the flight attendant nor the rowdy English tourists in the row behind me. And all of the people talking around me in the airport, it is difficult to follow. Good thing Eliza speaks basic Dutch 😉
I think after we land, we will go straight away to the Blue Lagoon since it is on the way to Reykjavik. Hello geo thermal mud baths! It is cold in Iceland.38 degrees right now but it says that it feels like 28! And that’s Fahrenheit.
I went to Schagen last night to bring Pieter his special birthday present. I assembled a collection of prank gifts for personnel emergencies so he keep them in his office. Things like instant underwear from Archie McPhee, Super Manly Peppermint, miniature grass growing kit. Things like that. I arrived in time to have some excellent vegan pumpkin soup and Mrs. Habibi’s Love Dip and to watch 10 adults try to get a record player to work. It was amusing! And their nephew was very keen to see me. To a four year old, I am an unusual creature. My neighbor’s 3 year old also finds me fascinating according to her parents. She talks about me quite a bit and of course, Henry and George too. Perhaps it is because my Dutch is on the same level as theirs 😉
I am off to find an espresso because my free WiFi time is about to give out. Another strike, time limited WiFi and you have to give up personal details (or make them up) to get it. Really, just make it free. It is an airport after all, people aren’t going to camp out and set up their portable offices from here. Well, not unless there is a strike or other lovely delay.