Leaving London... again

Trip Start Oct 18, 2005
Trip End Nov 05, 2005

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Tuesday, October 18, 2005

I slept in till 12, and rushed to pack my gear. I was going to be away for nearly 2.5 weeks and I hadn't started to pack yet.

I did a few last minute things... like I threw out an old frying pan and some coathangers. We have this garbage chute thing, and I think the coathangers blocked the chute. I threw the frying pan after it... and it sounded like it got stuck down on level 1 of the building. I was leaving in 10 minutes, so didn't have time to follow it up.

In the rush, I'd forgotten to pack my favourite red jacket. Lucky, I packed a light red jacket, but this jacket is not very warm. I can tell I'm going to freeze, as most of central europe was starting to get into it's winter climate at this time of year.

I was waiting at the bus stop to Baker st for 20 minutes, which is quite unusual for London buses. It's always the way isn't it... just when you really need to get somewhere on time, public transport fails you, or traffic is unusually heavy.

As I'm waiting for the bus to Luton (from Baker st), I smell something funny. Took me a few minutes to realise the smell was coming from me. kekeke. I only just washed this shirt 2 days ago, and well... it smells like B.O! Foul!!

The bus to Luton airport is full, and there's some people who didn't book a seat in advance who are now stuck at the bus stop, most likely have to pay for a 50 pound taxi ride instead of this 3 pound bus trip :D

I'm feeling not too excited at the moment. I should be as it's my first major trip since arriving here in London. Being out of work, and not having much money sux. The stories of Barcelona being a place for bag snatchers and pick pockets doesn't exactly fill me with joy.

The bus, which is already late because the driver was explaining to the people at the bus stop that they had to take another bus or alternative transport, now had to stop by the side of the freeway because some dude was really busting. It was quite a show, and my 'nice' nature prevented me from taking a photo of him taking a leak in the bushes. The other passengers gaving each other a knowing smile and chuckle.

Dinner: Lollies. Food at airports are ridiculously expensive.

I was flying Ryanair. They have a freestyle seating policy (where you board the plane in order of when you checked in - and you can take any seat you want once inside). There was this couple that boarded the fully loaded plane, last. They weren't able to sit together, and the chick was nearly in tears. Well... not really, but she was trying very hard to complain. Her partner told the stewardess "She freaks out on take-off and landing, so I need to be with her" ... to laugh, i think to myself.

The descent and landing of the plane was one of the scariest I've experienced. The plane dipped suddenly, a few times! Each time it dipped, there were gasps of shock and surprise from the other passengers. I did feel as though my life flashed before my eyes as the plane hit the tarmac, if only for a moment. I imagined news stories of how a Ryanair 737-800 crashing on the tarmac and Girona airport (Barcelona). I wasnt sure whether to laugh (at my stupidity), or cry. Either way, I was relieved when the plane finally settled on the runway and the cheerful flight attendant made an annoucement over the P.A confirming the fact that we've landed safely :)

The walk from the plane to the building terminal was quite weird. They almost let you walk anywhere you like on the runway as there wasn't many markings on which way to walk to the terminal and there weren't many staff on hand to guide you.
I filled out a landing card at customs as they didn't provide one on the plane (thinking we were probably all EU people or something). My luggage was the 2nd or 3rd piece out on the carousel. What a winner!! I'm never going to believe this will ever happen to me again, so I savoured the moment a bit and smiled as I walked past other passengers waiting for their luggage :) They say good things come to those who wait... like my 90 minute wait for my snowboard gear at Sydney airport last year.

The bus into town wasn't very well signposted, so it took me a little while to actually find it. Purchased an 11 Euro ticket into town and boarded the full bus.

1hr later, we arrived @ the central bus terminal. I read somewhere that catching a cab was not required as it was walkable to Plaza Catalunya (the centre of the tourist district). I circled the bus terminal for a few minutes looking for signs, or maps, or tourist offices, but there weren't any. As the passengers who were lost thinned out (they decided to catch cabs), I decided to follow the cab route out of the bus terminal hoping that most of them were heading to P.Catalunya. Lucky they were :) and the walk took 15 minutes. I saw quite a few chinese restaurants along the way.

At night, Barcelona reminded me of Melbourne (as I was walking along the streets between Nord and Pl. Catalunya). The streets were reminiscent of the outskirts of central melbourne (north of the city centre) with it's wide streets and paths.
The place seemed pretty clean, unlike the seediness around Rome Termini.

The main plaza, Las Rambla wasn't as vogue as I'd imagined, though it was the busiest part of town for this time of night (12.30am). In comparison, the walk between Nord bus terminal and Pl. Catalunya wasn't very busy. I felt like I was the only tourist to undertake that walking journey.

I met up with Fiona, Wayne and Mars downstairs, and Sharz, Russ and Mandy upstairs. Tossing my filthy shirt aside, and headed for the showers - I'd worked up quite a sweat walking and 'landing'.

Upon coming out of the shower, Fiona tells me there's some chicks down the corridor that I should introduce myself to. How nice of her. hahaha. I could tell there was something not quite right as she was trying to keep a straight face as she was talking to me.

I met Natalie and Kelly (I made them repeat their name 3 times), from Liverpool, whose accent were really REALLY thick. More than a few times, did I have to ask them to repeat what they were saying and occasionally, I just nodded and laughed not knowing what they said. 20 minutes, and I worked out that they were from Liverpool, like Barry White music (thanks for the translation Wayne), and were here looking for call centre work. Nat was 21 today - Happy Birthday Nat!, and Kelly broke up with her boy 3 days ago. We were also free to help ourselves to their breakfast in the morning :) (Don't ask me how the conversation turned to that - they were drunk).

Got a headache, most likely from chewing too much gum. I'd decided that gum is face exercise, so must be good for my diet.

Bedtime :)

Oh... I bought a new notebook to journal my trip. This is my 3rd notebook now, but also, the cheapest one to day. The first notebook, was $5 AUD from a stationary store in Pitt St, Wynyard. The 2nd one (because the first book ran out of pages), was from Harrods (5 pounds). I left that book in Australia during my recent return trip home, so yeh... this one was only 0.99 pounds at WHSmith in Notting Hill Gate.
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