if it’s wednesday, this must be bristol
…not a gondola in sight, but it’s certainly wet enough for it.
Have just lived through the flying visit from hell. Left BA Tues 12:30. Arrived Heathrow Wed 08:30. Arrived Bristol Wed 11:00. Left Bristol Thur 16:30. Arrived Heathrow Thur 19:00. Left Heathrow Thur 10:30. Arrived BA Fri 09:30.
Where am I? What time is it? Why is my back so sore?
British Airways staff lived up to their sterling reputation (grey, tarnished and hard). They have taken grudging compliance to that knife-edge between smiling service and open hostility.
Food between Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo appeared to be made from various samples of industrial rubber. I think the chicken was a mercy killing.
Sao Paulo was wet but forgettable – they did turn the VOD back on to while away the extra hour and a half while they tried to work out what was wrong with the plane. I kept busy trying to work out what was wrong with my stomach after that chicken.
Back in the air again they racked up the service a notch. Whoever designed the new Club World clearly doesn’t like the staff. They had to bend, stretch and contort to get anything to the poor souls in the window seats (i.e. me), which clearly didn’t enhance their mood.
After all the warnings I expected Heathrow to be a hotbed of suspicion (not). I should have trusted in the famous British disinterest. At least passport control was interesting. After 16 hours in the air, I found myself trying to explain to the passport man how I could be travelling on a NZ passport, live in Australia, be coming from Argentina and only planning to spend 2 days in the country without looking like my motives were suspect. I finally told him who I worked for and he just laughed and stamped everything. Must see haggard antipodeans with laptops and strange points of origin all the time.
Bristol was an easy drive up the motorway, and the driver was friendly.
Checked into the Mercure Brigstow no problems. The Mercure lived up to the expected standard of a Mercure, qualified by its being an English Mercure. I.e. take middling and add indifference. The room was adequate apart from the intermittent hot water and the two single beds. For one night I couldn’t be bothered changing.
The room service trays and empty bottles left in the hall until 6pm were disconcerting, but not unexpected.
Had a good afternoon in the office – worth the trip. Gave up trying to stay awake and interested about 5:00 and went back to the hotel.
Too early to eat and all the shops were shut, so walked around in the late summer light for a while, admiring the weird giant seagulls and the pub flowerpots .
You could tell it was summer, because it was a balmy 18 degrees and people were sitting outside. Dinner was a quite good salad nicoise and hummus at a restaurant on the river (see menu).
Went back to the hotel expecting to sleep the sleep of the just (worn out) – was just finally dozing off about 4:00am when I got a phone call from Australia about something trivial. Memo to self – turn phone off when out of normal time zone.
Got about 2 hours sleep. Dragged myself to the gym at 07:00 to try to get some circulation back into my body. I think that was probably what finally did for my back.
Spent a few more hours in the office, and played hooky to visit some of the shops we don’t get at home. Weather too miserable to do anything outdoors. I heard on the radio that England is experiencing its wettest three months since 1750. For more pictures of soggy Bristol, see below.
Driving back to Heathrow took an extra hour. Luckily I got nervous and moved the car booking forward an hour, or else I would have been late for the plane. Another talkative driver – he told me lots of office gossip, and took great pleasure in pointing out the Slough Trading Estate sign (home of The Office).
Leaving Heathrow straightforward. Was expecting the one-bag carryon rule, though many in the queue were shocked & disappointed. At least they didn’t seem to care how big the bag was. It’s all on the website, people, if you can afford a business class airfare you can afford an Internet connection…
Going back to Buenos Aires was just the same as leaving, except with worse seats (the old version of Club World). Buenos Aires airport a lot less nerve-racking the second time, also daylight and no snow.
Now back in Argentina, which is starting to feel strangely normal…