A quick trip to Edinburgh on the company dime for me this week -- part hand-over, part team night out. Except that certain key members of the team -- namely the ones with the corporate expense account -- were either sick or on holiday, so there was no night out!
Instead, I home at 5am to get to Heathrow in time for my flight. A barrier-machine on the tube tried to kill me, but once I extricated myself it was a quick hop on the Heathrow Express to Terminal 5. I packed light -- underwear and one fresh t-shirt -- and checked-in online the night before so security was a breeze. Still had to take my shoes off (why do they do that?) and walk through a metal detector however.
The 'plane was perhaps half-full, and I was sitting in an aisle-seat over the wing. Not the worst seat, perhaps, but not the greatest -- no view, an ever-present danger involving elbows and drinks trolleys, not even some turbulence to lighten the mood. I made sure to pick a window seat at the back on my way home.
I arrived in Edinburgh -- ahh, the permanent, omnipresent odor of Scotland's capital! Somewhere between "warm wheatbix" and "vegemite toast", the breakfast-themed smell is presumably the by-product of whatever magic is being performed each day inside the distilleries to bring us the e'er humble whiskey. I followed the scent onto a shuttle bus into the city centre, then walked up the hill to the office.
Many hours later, much dejected with the dwindling prospect of free drinks and food, I left the office in search of my hotel. Across the bridges into the Old Town and I could see it -- a stone's throw away, but on a street that ran under the bridge! With no visible way down, I continued into old-town proper and wound my way 'round until I found the back entrance. By this stage I was so tired I could've happily slept in one of Edinburgh's many rabbit warren-like covered streets (called "wynds" or "closes"). Luckily -- for the more deserving homeless, if not for myself -- the hotel check-in was easy enough, even for the walking-dead (or walking-comatose). Within minutes (that seemed like seconds) I was in my small but well-appropriated room, asleep on the couch.
My stomach woke me within the hour (actually, probably my intestines ... or more truly some complex interaction of signal-chemicals through one or more of the evolved internal communication networks that our bodies use for status monitoring and control). My immediate thought -- pizza! So I trundled back into the real world for a short time, found a restaurant that would make an Italian-style pizza (thin, not too many toppings) and retreated with my booty back to my temporary pirate-cave. (The pizza, as it turned out, was not as good as it could be. But it was still better than going hungry.)
I watched some TV -- something about chimpanzees -- and drifted off to sleep early.
The next day in the office was much the same, but thankfully shorter. At 4pm I jumped on the shuttle back to the airport, waited for my near-inevitably delayed flight with resigned acceptance rather than anxiety, but eventually I was safely cloistered in the tiny world that constitutes a aeroplane seat -- seat, foot-rest, tiny table, magazines, light above and bag storage below. At least it was a window-seat, and being a British Airways flight (rather than the cheapest carrier possible -- hey, I wasn't paying!) they brought food and complimentary drinks. Although with a 50 minute flight time I barely had time for a prawn salad (too salty), cup of tea and glass of chardonnay.
HEX'd (Heathrow Express) back into Paddington Bear Station, then Tube'd home (which may invoke images of flying across the city in a Futurama-like vacuum tube, but actually involves more sitting and less flying). Back home to my baby! And the housemates, oh well.
So I've got the next couple of days off -- any suggestions on what we can do?