« India again...CONTINUED

India again.....

Return to India – February 18-20 2010.

I suspect that this is going to be a very boring post. Despite the fact that I promised myself that I would get used to the smaller keyboard on my netbook, I have not done so, and I am pecking away rather like a myopic bird that is convinced there is a worm down there in front of it, somewhere. No comments, please!

Surprisingly, for someone who likes travelling, leaving Barton was a wrench. I had a nasty disagreement with MBG, and we ended up spitting feathers. Try it, it’s nasty, and they dry your mouth out, somewhat disagreeably. Not before time, some of my limper friends might suggest. Anyway, current position is that we have agreed to build a flippy-floppy footbridge where a 3 lane motorway used to reside before we jointly bombed it.

The bus that came to take me away.......

Moving on, travel to India involved a number of stages. Being a registered ‘old-fart’ it, obviously, had to start with a gratefully accepted, council sponsored, bus trip into Hull. There are aspects of travelling that can be magical, and there are aspects that disappoint.. The Fast Cat into Hull has never let me down. Let’s have a look at the other parts of the formula.

The Train to London.

Perfect, well perfect (ish). I had booked my tickets on the internet, and nothing went wrong with that. You have to have faith, perfect faith, in technology. You book the tickets, pay for them, and trust that, when you get to the station, an inanimate machine will deliver them to you. I have done this before, and had gone ‘WOW’. It happened again, but this time I only went ‘wow’ ‘cos I had seen the trick before, but it’s still clever. It’s even cleverer when it includes further tickets, for the Heathrow Express the next day. I won’t get boring about the number of ‘receipt’ coupons you get, but obviously, if someone else is paying, these are important. You spend a few minutes discarding them, then sorting the remainder into travel order, and all of a sudden you are having a closer relationship with Bob than an uncle-nephew would normally develop together.

Now these tickets were cheap. I mean really cheap, I flirted, briefly, with first class, but discarded that option on the basis of WOM – Waste of Money. Every action, someone said, has an equal, and opposite, reaction. That is why you get newly promoted Executives with those ball bearings on strings toys. The equal and opposite reaction, in my case, was that the train was packed. I mean packed. Every seat had a reservation ticket on it, and I felt fortunate that I had actually managed to find mine unoccupied. Anyway, a bit hot and sweaty, but not unmanageable.

The Taxi & the Hotel.

I needed a taxi from Kings Cross to my hotel in Paddington. Simple, you might think, five or six quid, you might also think. That is before you meet a taxi driver that refuses to use his exemption from the congestion charge and stubbornly remains on the A40 despite any number of back doubles he could have taken. Time counts as much as distance, you see, and a fare has to be milked as assiduously as any Swiss maid ever extracted Emmental from a goat, or from which ever hapless mountain-based mammal they happen to extract it from. Sixteen quid, and seemingly eight hundred yards later, I arrived at my hotel. I have a new name for one of the Westway underpasses. I am going to call it ‘eight quid’ in future, ‘cos that is what it cost me to get from the start, to the end, of the queue. Then the hotel.

....and The Hotel

Again, an internet booking. Done this before, and 99.9% are fine. This one wasn’t. They had validated my credit card, fair enough, so why did I have to confirm, three times, my Christian name(s), surname, and street number. Then I was ushered into what I can only describe as a non-smoking priest hole. I never realised before how seriously faithfull  were the tithe earners of Greater, and Lesser, Paddington Fifty pounds, thank you very much Sir, uttered with a near/middle Eastern accent gives one a sudden insight into the real meaning of ‘intifada. Sorry, that was a badly behaved remark!

Again, moving on, or not moving very far within my 6’4”’ by 4’’ ‘room. ‘How lucky I am’, I trilled to myself, cleverly pretending that I am a four ounce budgie, called Fred. Even so, I felt cramped. I survived,

Train No 2

Moving on again, how very good is the Heathrow Express? Answer, about as good as a very fast, non-stop trainey kind of thing, with proper doors, and announcements, and everything. Exactly how good can you be made  to feel at 5.45am, having nearly caught psittacosis, and woken up with a severe cramp-on. I am not talking mountaineering here! It is seriously good, no poop! Or bullshit even.

Heathrow Terminal FIVE.

Yes, yes, I know that everyone knows that Terminal FIVE it is complete and utter shite. The only problem with that platitude is that it isn’t. Shite, I mean, rather than a platitude. It is actually rather good. I did a, sorry, internet check-in, 24 hours previous, and dropped my bag at an imaginatively named ‘bag-drop’ and yet again, I was invited to indulge in congress with ‘Uncle’ Bob. It was that easy, with apologies to anyone who actually has an Uncle called Bob. The true fact is that the ‘bag drops’ are very similar to what used to be called ‘check-ins’ except that there are about 20 more than one of them......

..... more to follow