So, I maybe have to back off a bit on British Airways. Just a bit. They do offer free alcohol . Two JDs and some red wine, with a surprisingly good dinner, mellowed me out. Just a bit. The plane was a 747-400 and was almost full. I would like to think the check-in counter lady felt a little sympathy for me about the baggage charge because I had a seat in a row of four with the other three seats empty. But the cabin was cold, the blanket insufficient, the audio on the movies very bad, and there’s still was that $112 for a second bag thing. I’m writing this in the dark cabin, about two hours from London, and I even managed some sleep in a sitting position. Long-distance travel is wonderful. And they haven’t even started morning beverage service yet and I could really use some coffee. Sounds like morning crankiness to me.
My thoughts have started turning to my new home but I still can’t get the sad faces out of my head. We all said we might meet again one day but I really didn’t believe that. Sure, it is highly possible I will return to Asia, but the next time will be the Philippines or Thailand, not Batam. No, Indonesia is not in my future, although you never know what opportunities might present themselves. I mean, after all, I am now headed to St. Kitts and Nevis in the Caribbean. Who would have guessed? While the Indonesian people, for the most part, are great, the heavy-handed religious nature of the country is a huge turnoff. The government has a huge budget to support religion, for crying out loud. It’s kind of like the religious zealots in the United States and how they want to force their beliefs on everyone else.
Took a short break for landing at London’s Heathrow and the subsequent mad dash through immigration and baggage claim, then on to find where to get the bus for Gatwick airport. Wasn’t as intuitive as it sounded. My wrapped fishing pole and pool stick, which I tied on to my backpack, garnered some attention from customs as I left the terminal but would prove more difficult later. The bus ticket counter turned out to be several self-service machines. My ticket was 25 pounds (about $40), which meant I first had to have some money changed. Still lost, I asked someone and found the bus, which was ready to leave. An hour’s ride on 8-lane highways brought me to Gatwick but there were two terminals and my ticket didn’t say which one. Man sitting next to me final offered, after I had asked the driver and several passengers, that the north terminal was correct for British Airways. He is a St. Kitts resident and will be on my flight. (I’, writing this segment in the food court, having a Samuel Adams, pulled pork sandwich and fries (14 pounds or about $20).
But it wasn’t all smooth sailing here, either. A long line to check in and surprise, surprise – they didn’t charge me again for the second bag, as I was told they would. So, $112 in savings there. IThey are even more anal here with airport security than in the U.S. but I was already putting on my belt when they flagged my backpack. Couldn’t go as carryon they said, had to go as oversized baggage. Fortunately, they expedited me through the process and I was not charged for a third bag. Still had to do the security checkpoint again, however.
And now I await my flight, about two hours away.