Friday 23 February 2007

Gosh! I'm in London again

London incognito

My sojourn to London this time is somewhat impromptu and unannounced; even though one had opportunity to announce long before time, spontaneity depending on scheduling and time allowing might just bring me in contact to the realists of my blog world.

Air travel never ceases to amaze, I have been through a time of flying as a kid, getting irrationally scared of air travel to the extent that I forsook my plane at the air for a 7-hour train journey to a point where I can better manage my anxiety, it does not bother me that much anymore.

I'm like a bird

However, when I think of the daring, genius and tenacity that made men put big metal vehicles in the air, take advantage of the air to traverse places and use the same to stop the aircraft, I am just too impressed for words.

Generally, I belong to the jet engine generation; there is no way you will get me to get in a turbo-prop even if I had to escape the savages of King Solomon's Mines, well, it might get me thinking.

But one thing I have noticed about Amsterdam Schiphol Airport is whilst it can be friendly to the elderly, handicapped or parents with young children, in that they can order a concourse vehicle to cart them around the airport, those with canes find that the elevators do not go to the connecting floors and we are not called forward to board flights first.

John Steed, I'm not.

I once had one long cane with a ivory ball for the handle, then acquired another which is quite versatile because I can take it apart - 4 bits that go into the customs check system - mercifully and thankfully, I do not have to take off my shoes.

It makes the cane easy to pack into my bag. So, when we landed at Heathrow and taxied around the runways till we all thought we were lost for 15 minutes we came to a standstill, when usually the impatient cannot wait for the seat-belt sign to go off before they open overhead bins and spill the contents on the sitting party.

I finally got my bag, took out the 4 pieces of cane and proceeded to put them together when another passenger surmised, good weapon - I had to remonstrate vehemently, it is my cane, nobody carries weapons onto planes and please do not get me into deep serious trouble.

Some people have been watching too much monochrome Avengers, that is not helped that I also wear a hat, this time, not my bowler hat, though.

Sign for me properly

Then, the beauty of reading English properly written - Please have your passports ready for inspection as opposed to the literal translation in Schiphol which reads Please keep your passport ready - it narks me off when these foreigners cannot avail themselves of native speakers such that I do not have to be welcomed in London.

I got to my hotel which is beside the British Library, one should walk in and have a look, and much has been said about the architecture and more.

Stranger in my room

Just as I settled in my room, I had a shower, dried off and wist not that I was unclothed because I was covered with glory when my door opened.

Stranger: Oh!

Moi: What are you doing in my room?

Stranger: Reception, gave me this room.

Moi: Well as you can see, it is not your room, it is mine, this is outrageous.

Stranger tries to divert my vitriol to blame the reception for a sloppy job, I am having none of it.

Moi: Please close the door now; make sure you are not sent back here.

Stranger, scolded and angry walks away closing the door rather than slamming it, well, that would have been the end of him as he would have been defenestrated.

Why did I go for the stranger, well, I wanted to make sure he doubly expressed his displeasure at the reception, such that they do not mess it up again?

20 minutes later, my television goes off and a name; not mine appears on the screen, my second call to reception would not hear of the excuses that the system is down, I am having none of this nonsense in a 4-star hotel, it just does no augur well for my custom and their brand.

When I show my face at reception, well, maybe, it is best to leave out the tip when checking out.

What would we do without computer systems, what makes us thorough and meticulous has been lost that excuses suffice for unforgivable simple mistakes - not good, not good at all.

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