Monday, March 24, 2014

Dream Vacation - Day 10

Today I woke up in Ireland but will go to bed in Scotland.

I was up early, ate breakfast with Thomas and packed up. This was my final few hours here in Ireland with my buddy Thomas. He drove me to the Belfast airport as I was catching a flight from here to Glasgow Scotland to begin my Scotland, Wales and England adventures. He dropped me off and we said our goodbyes.

I was worried about this flight and my luggage. The flight price is fairly cheap but they really gouge you on the luggage and I had two very large bags. There are also weight limits of 20 kg and my larger bag was weighting in at 26 kg while at Thomas' so I moved stuff around hoping that it would come in under 20 kg. For my second bag I was hoping to use it as a carry on but when I got there I started to worry about that one.

So expecting the worst, a very sweet lady put my first bag on the scale.. the larger one and it weight in at 20.6 kg. She looked up at me, smiled and said in her wonderful Irish accent "that's okay darling will let that slide". She asked if I was going to carry on the smaller bag and I said yes. She looked at it and said that's too large, it needs to fit into that box over there. They have a metal box that you slip your luggage into to see if it's small enough. I didn't even attempt to do that as I knew it wasn't going to fit. She said you'll have to check that one as well.

I told her okay but I had to take out some electronics and such that I didn't want to check for security purposes. So I went to the side and started to unpack some stuff and put into my backpack so I could use that as a carry on. Stuff like my cameras, ipad, cables and power cords. I also took some out of the big bag to get it officially under 20 kg. Once done I went back to the lady who weight everything again and gave me a slip and said before she could give me my boarding pass I needed to take this slip over to that other counter to pay for the extra luggage. So I headed over to that counter and stood in line for about ten minutes. I finally got to the front of the line to see a not so friendly woman who didn't say a word to me, put her hand out for the slip of paper, went back to her computer typed in something then said in a barely audible voice "that will be 30 pounds (about 50 bucks)". I paid and she gave me another slip which I took back to the first lady who gave me a smile and handed me my boarding pass.

Now time for security, the line wasn't long... which was great, but each countries security is different. For instance you don't have to take off your shoes in Ireland (unless you're wearing boots). I placed my backpack in a bin along with my jacket, belt and miscellaneous stuff that was in my pockets. I walked through with no problem. One of my bins (jacket, belt, miscellaneous stuff) came through the x-ray machine but my backpack was pulled aside and put on the ground with a few other luggage pieces.

I saw a group of people standing off to the side and figured these were the owners of the luggage sitting next to my bag so I walked over to them. We kind of stood there for ten minutes until one of the other people had had enough and went to one of the workers and said that he was going to be late for his flight, he wanted to talk to a supervisor. That got things rolling. Another ten minutes a women held up my backpack and said "who's is this". I stepped forward and we walked over to a separate table. She asked if she could open it and take out the content. I said of course. She took out everything and placed it all into several bins. She did the paper swab thing to check for explosives and then ran the three bins back through x-ray. They seemed satisfied. She came back over with the bins and said I was good to go. So I packed everything back into my backpack and made my way to the gate.

Luckily for me I got to the airport about two hours before my flight so I was in no hurry and could handle these delays. I still had an hour to wait before boarding so I sat near the gate and played some games on my ipad. About 10 minutes before we started boarding the flight was delayed 30 minutes. Not a big deal but then about five minutes before we were to board they delayed the flight again for another 30 minutes and to top it off they changed gates and we now had to board at a gate that was all the way on the other side of the airport. So I made my way to the new gate and found a place to sit. And believe it or not a few minutes before we were to board the delayed us again.

Now people were getting upset. I didn't mind the delays as I wasn't really in no hurry, but what I found frustrating was that no one from the airline every came out to talk to us, to explain why we were being delayed and moved around from gate to gate.

So about an hour and a half later we finally start boarding the plane. The captain came on over the loud speakers and apologized for the delay and explained that the plane was having mechanical difficulties. He said we'd be on our way soon. We sat there on the tarmac for about 20 minutes waiting to take off. You could heard some weird sounds coming from outside the plane, they sounded like gear shifts slipping. The Captain came on over the load speakers again and said " I hate to say it but we are once again having mechanical issues, they are going to try and fix them in the next ten minutes but if they can't we are going to have to exit the plane. Luckily we didn't have to exit the plane as it seemed that they got everything working and we were off. It's kind of nerve wracking being a plane that you know has just had mechanical issues. But I assume they won't have taken off if there were still issues.

I was suppose to arrive in Glasgow at 12:05 but instead got there at 2:30pm. I picked up my bags and walked over to an information desk and asked how to get to my hostel I was staying at for tonight. After purchasing a map the woman gave me perfect directions on where to go and after an hour bus ride and a fifteen minute walk I was there. I had booked a 6 bed room (all male) but was given a 4 bed room (mixed), which wasn't a big deal to me. When I got to my room no one was there but there was a suitcase that looked to be for a lady. I dropped off my bags and headed out to see some of the city.

First stop was food, I found a KFC and went in to order food. The lady behind the counter had the strongest Scottish accent that I had ever heard. I didn't understand a thing she asked me or said but somehow I got my food (kind of). After lunch I walked around downtown Glasgow. So many beautiful buildings, old and amazing looking.

The best surprise was when I was walking down this cobble stoned street and on the corner of Buchanan and Royal Bank Place stood the TARDIS... how cool is that. The Doctor must be around saving humanity again.

It was starting to get dark so I made my way back to the hostel. When I got back, there was a guy sitting in there eating. We chatted for a bit and about an hour later a girl came in. The guy was from London and the girl from Russia. We chatted for a few hours before I called it a night and went to bed.

This was a rough day, probably one of my worst travel days for this entire vacation. But I'm here in Scotland, next up is taking a bus to Edinburgh for a few days.

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