The Voyage

The next morning, I have refused to set my alarm so I wake up, semi-conscious, at about 9:30 and for the next 2 hours refuse to get out of bed, I finally get out of bed, shower and change. I decide that I will drop my luggage off at the front desk and return later on my way to the airport. This is kind of handy since I think that it would be…bad…to have to carry my rather heavy luggage with me all around downtown.

I make my normal rounds of downtown noting that in getting there I passed through the subway station where three people died, I did not notice anything there but I did notice that throughout today and yesterday the drivers had been very careful, slowing down a lot more and more often. Sushi for lunch, which is interesting in that I had never had sushi before, I had sashimi, which is raw fish, plain, with dipping sauce but never sushi. It was, of course, very good and enjoyable. Even the location was interesting, downtown on Queen street, quite an exclusive (read: expensive) place for that area.

I get back to the hotel and proceed with the shuttle to the airport after some tangle with people that do not know how to drive in the hotel parking lot (the drivers words not mine). I REALLY hate terminal one at the Toronto Airport, it is always busy and, seemingly, disorganized. As I am waiting in the line for my carrier to Glasgow, a representative points me to another line around the corner in which I wait for about 45 minutes in line. I am surprised that I am given a window seat. But, then I notice, that there are 11 (I guess) seats across as I am given seat K. That MUST be a big plane. Then, I drop my purchases off at a storage facility in the basement (fighting my way through the arrival crowd at the elevators) so I don't have to carry them around with me to all places in England.

I find a really neat phone and proceed to make calls from my own little booth to my grandmother, my sister and my grandfather. I also try to reach my mother but I know that she was away at a camp for the last week and would not be there. As I am talking to my grandfather, she shows up there and so I talk with her for about 20 minutes. I really don't want to see my phone bill when it arrives. Something tells me that it will stop my heart for a few seconds.

We then board the aircraft, you can feel the excitement in the lounge, everyone is looking forward to being in England. It seems that the large majority of the passengers are English and this is interesting in that it seems Canada is doing better for tourism recently.

I am stuck beside two children who seem to have trouble with social graces (not that I am any great charmer) and in front of a lady who proceeds to ramble on in a LOUD voice about her worries that they will not shut the cargo door which is open. To my further embarrassment, she is going to the World Science Fiction Convention just as I am and she was in the one in Winnipeg last year, as was I.

The flight is a long one but not that bad. I am disappointed that we travel over Canada and the ocean in darkness. I wanted to see the Atlantic, which I had never seen, having been no further east than Hull, Quebec, across the St. Lawrence from Ottawa. They feed us the complimentary meal (one choice only) and give us headsets (at $2 a shot) and show a movie (with the person in front of me having his head planted squarely in the middle of the screen) and, just before arrival in Glasgow, a “continental breakfast”. Continental breakfasts have always struck me as being “let's put the MINIMAL amount of stuff on a plate, that we do NOT have to go to any trouble to make, and feed it to them, calling it 'continental' in the faint delusional hope that somehow the unsuspecting diner will be fooled into thinking that this was something that is special”. This “continental breakfast” was NO exception to this rule and actually sunk to lower depths for what is actually provided, in this case, a store-bought, twinkie-class, “croissant” (it was shaped like a crescent, but that is where the similarity between it and a REAL croissant stopped) and a few token sundries that struck me outstanding as in not at all since I cannot even remember what they were.

Shortly thereafter, we landed in Glasgow. Nice looking airport, very new looking, VERY busy, especially where we come out. Interesting to note that we did not have to go through any customs (bag) checking at all, just passport service. As I wondered around aimlessly I realized that I could call the car rental agency but did not have any change with which to do so, so I proceeded to the currency exchange and got change and proceeded to play with the first telephone I had ever used in England. Not an entirely pleasant experience, charging for the call based on how long you use it…gee, sounds like capitalism to me!

I finally catch the shuttle to the car rental agency and pick up my car, much surprised to find out that no insurance was on the car and that I would have to shell out 100 pounds more for it. GASP! All in all, not a good day for my VISA so far… So, anyway, they shove me in this Ford Festiva and send me on my way, though, problem is, I don't know where “my way” is…I just thought I would go where the spirit moves me, so I turn in an arbitrary direction and start driving trying to get the feeling of travelling on the “wrong” side of the road. Shortly, I realize that I have come full circle and I am back at the airport! Anyway, I decide to head up to Inverness, over the Scottish highlands and beside the Loch Ness. Keep in mind that this is after a six hour flight. Perhaps I was just out of my mind… Anyway, the first thing that strikes me about British drivers is that they are VERY fast. The road is busy winding around, up, down, sideways, backwards (you should SEE the signs) and the drivers are proceeding at 60-70 mph along it! I saw a couple of people that passed me that must have been going 80. REALLY difficult when you are still trying to get the hang of shifting with the right hand and driving on the “wrong” side of the road. I suppose it was also not to smart to drive right after the flight, I think I was just too excited.


The Scottish country-side is beautiful. The highlands were quite inspiring, especially when, as I stopped, a bagpiper started playing, albeit not exactly Scottish in nature, playing nonetheless. It was VERY quiet there (except of course for the occasional interludes by the aforementioned piper) and it took me by surprise. I had not realized that there would be mountains, not silly “highlands” stuff, MOUNTAINS, here. The loch's are also very nice, hard to imagine that not 20 meters out it is 700 feet deep. That is very deep.


Once in Inverness, the task was to find a place to stay, I have a guide that let me know that there was this nice place at such-and-such but, problem being, no map was provided. I will HAVE to get some maps for the various cities I would like to stay at. I eventually found it, after having attempted three times to find it (in the process, seeing much of Inverness) and finally talking to a policeman. After getting there, the place was full, so they pointed me across the street, which was also full, so they pointed me around the corner. I was afraid to try the place they indicated so I went across the street and found this place. Not all THAT clean, but it is 12 pounds a night (a STEAL around here, let me tell you!) and I do have my own shower. The bathroom, of which my mother has always said is a good indicator of how clean a place is, is quite clean which will, of course, make my mother happy (they worry about things like this).

I no sooner shuffled my things around then I lay down and fell asleep. At 1:30 in the afternoon. I woke up a bit later and started typing as you see (after having worried about being towed since the place I parked in is “No Parking”, don't know what that means on a Sunday). It is good to see that my power adapter is working. I won't today have an opportunity to try out the phone adapter as I do not have a phone, but perhaps that is for the best.

It is now midnight (here) and I hope to be up before 8 so I had better nod off.

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