Monday, November 02, 2009

On the way to Japan: Leaving Barcelona

AOG, Tokyo

So on Friday I had to play out the previous day's events, in fast forward.

Fast Forward to the bus stop (I can't believe the bus driver saw me tying a shoelace and didn't stop! He, in fact, drove past in a rush just as I lifted my head once I heard the oncoming vehicle).

Fast Forward to the train station, the airport, the security check, the train to the gate, the gate, and finally board the plane.

A small aside, on the way to the airport, I bought a coffee from the train trolley guy. He didn't have change for 20, so the guy in front of me invited me to a cup of coffee.

He was very handsome, very Eastern European (thick chains, strange mobile with music in hand, tough hands, dirty fingernails, tussled hair), and soon to be slightly drunk. It was not even 10:30 AM and monsieur was drinking red wine on the train as he texted (his girlfriend? his best friend? his mother in Serbia/Poland/Slovakia?) on and off.

Finally I got to Stanstead with a bit more time than yesterday. This time, however, I was overcautious given the events of the day before, and panicked when the screen said which gate to head towards, and, at the same time, to wait. I wasn't sure whether I should go, stay, roll over, or what!

I was on the last boarding group, but it turned out alright in the end. I sat near the wing's engine, and had three seats all to myself. What's more, having been given a set of sound-canceling headphones for my birthday, flying on low cost airlines is more tolerable these days since I can cancel out all incoming sales pitches, loudspeaker offers, etc etc. It was like I flew to Barcelona all on my own. Tried to sleep but failed. I was too wound up.

Once I got to Barcelona (and I survived the Aerobus into town strike), my mission for the day was to find a pair of shoes for the trip.

My partner and I went to a couple of shoe stores before he went home to finish work, and I stayed behind to roam the streets of Barcelona looking for a suitable pair of walking shoes to take to the Far East.

Finally I found them and had enough time left over to buy a gift for my brother-in-law's birthday, 2 weeks ago.

My partner, a friend of ours, and I had been invited to dinner by him and his wife and we arrived almost in time to their place. And what a place it is! Gigantic, well appointed, great location. It has it all. I told my partner we should move upstairs from them!

We stayed until about 2AM, when logic and responsibility kicked, and left for home to finish packing. Yes, only the gay go to a dinner party the night before going on a trip to the other side of the planet when they should be at home packing and sorting out any last-minute problems.

So we took it in turns to pack and nap. First I packed, tweaked iTunes, plugged the iPod, had some milk and cookies, then woke my partner up and went to sleep around 4AM.

Three hours later, we were on our way to the airport.

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