Sunday, 10 March 2013

Thought Picnic: What a trip


Navigating to Jupiter
I arrived at my hotel this evening first being worried about something I might have misplaced with the hope of finding in a day or two but worse still was the 10 mile journey from Chester.
Usually, when I get a taxi, the driver has a good idea of where to go and only once before have I had to give the driver the post code because he needed the aid of the satellite navigator (SatNav) to get to our destination.
By now, I have a good idea of the route and if I keep aware of my surroundings, I can tell if we are somewhat off-course.
So, I told the driver where I was going and he asked for the post code which I had to call the hotel for, he keyed it into his SatNav as it is called for short and there began this amazing journey.
Strange turns in wild places
I noticed he took an unusual turn and then he turned back because he had missed a turn, he said he was following the shortest route according to the SatNav, I wasn’t impressed, as I said he could easily have taken the dual carriageway and turned off – I was about to grab the edge of my seat.
At a T-Junction he drove on the right to turn right and then before we knew it, we were on a dirt road, forded a stream, passed between a walled avenue with barely enough space the cab to pass through, bumpy and disconcerting, I could only wonder if I had gotten into a cab to some eerie place never to return to civilisation again.
This was not helped by the fact that it was dark, cold, remote, quiet and we were strangers, it was not one of situations where you would have shouted out to the driver, “Stop! Already, or I’ll call the police.”
Not short by half
Between the urge to panic with hysteric abandon and the adventure of navigating the Welsh back roads to oblivion and beyond, I kept my cool until the side road came out unto a road more familiar to me – I knew, that even in the broadest daylight, it wasn’t something I would have ventured.
Anyway, we arrived at the hotel and though the route might have been shorter according to the SatNav, it still came to the same price – it made no difference.
The driver came to open the door almost too aware of my unexpressed displeasure when he offered a reduction from the metered price, I was not about to take the generosity without an opinion.
Who are these people?
So, I told him, the last time I had a back road safari like that in the dark was probably too far gone in my memory to remember, my nerves frayed already as if I could do with a stiff drink, I stepped out took my bags into the hotel to be met with new faces everywhere – Hotel California?
No, Mother’s Day had more staff hired and it so happens that the regulars were away or off duty, it was not until my bags in storage were brought to my room before I saw a familiar face – if I learnt anything, you cannot live in a parallel universe, the difference will be too disconcerting to be healthy or peaceful.
I’ll rather stick to the usual route no matter how long it is and see the people I am most familiar with in a hotel that I have stayed in for the past 8 weeks.

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