Houston - Day five, and homeward bound

Another night at a suite hotel, sharing a suite with Big Tony and Jonas ("I do my own stunts"). Actually Jonas is a hoot. He's either extremely unlucky, or has no survival mechanism, and has great stories about his various injuries. The "Motorbike meets plumbers van at 70mph" is the funniest one he told, and the funniest one on his blog is: "Fly me to the moon"...



Shopping at the local Applestore where I singularly failed to purchase anything. I'm losing my touch. The high point of the shopping trip was in fact finding some full-resolution flat-panel HD TV's, retailing for about $2,500 (USD). Thats the first full-resolution ones I've seen and dont cost that much more than the existing 44" ones.. Mmm....



Friday morning, into the office and straight onto a conference call with a senior IBM architect. Then out to the IBM Dallas sales center to show FirM to a room full of IBM sales people. Very positive and lots of good feedback. Finally, off to the airport and a debrief with Lance and Big Tony. A few beers (served by a stunningly beautiful "classic" texan waitress), and then a rather frantic stroll through customs, convinced that I'd miss the plane. (One doesnt run through customs anymore...) Tony, of course, said "Dont worry", and I should have listened to him. On hearing that restrictions had been lifted in the UK, I purchased some duty free whisky...


Onto the plane, and into the World Traveller/Premium economy class, where I soon nabbed a bulkhead seat in an empty row. Lovely. I even got some sleep on the slightly upgraded seats. Tried to watch Mission impossible three again, but without much enthusiasm... Chatted to a lady from Arizona, in her 50's, who said that this was her first overseas flight, and how did people view Americans overseas...



Slept, drank beer, listened to my iPod.. And then we landed, right into the seventh level of Hell. Or London Gatwick as its known on earth. Usually, I'd join a short transfer queue - after all, I'd just flown through some of the most stringent baggage checks in the world - and stroll to my plane. Oh No. Not at all. I had to exit completely, and come back in through Domestic baggage check. Again. And was informed that Liquids were *not* allowed. So back into the baggage drop queue, watching my comfortable 30 minute connection turn into a 10 minute sprint...



Checked the booze bottles into a very thin cardboard box (wondering if I'd ever see them again), and joined the queue for the security check. Well, "join" is a bit of a misnomer. I waved my ticket at folks, explaining that I have five minutes to catch my plane, ran to the front, etc.. And legged it to the gate...


"The flight to Aberdeen is delayed till 9am".. Not bad for a 7:30am departure. Sat in the lounge, quietly sweating to myself... On the plane, immediately fell asleep. Bliss


Rudely awakened. "Captain Biggles here, there's a queue because of the fog... A kalaedescope of problems... Excuse... Excuse... Wait for a while...... ". Zzzzzzz


11am, we finally took off. I woke momentarily to wipe spittle off the guy next to me's shoulder and went back to sleep. Ever the consumate business traveller.


"Hello, your subconcious here, I can smell Bacon"... AWAKE... Foood..... Well, Airline "food". So its something that a poorly paid wage-slave has constructed in a warehouse for under 50p.. I watched it for a while, and after convincing myself it wasnt moving, ate it.. Z.zzzzzzz


The rest of the day went in 10-15 minute slices of conciousness. Getting off the plane.. Waiting for my bags.. Complaining to BA that they'd lost my bags (including and especially the booze!).. Being picked up by the wife and driven home... Watching some TV... Read the same page of a book a dozen times..


Isnt air travel wonderful ?


Postscript: 36 hours later, the two bags turned up. The suitcase is untouched. The White box that I'd placed four bottles of spirits as well as some cigarettes had mysteriously turned into a shopping bag with the cigarettes. Some B*ST*RD had nicked me booze... Ooooooooo. Not happy