Thursday, June 9, 2011

So I made it to Vegas anyway...

OK, so I made it to Vegas anyway. If that sounds like I'm announcing the mere fact of my arrival like it's some sort of accomplishment, that's because it feels as such after the little ordeal I had in London. After idling in terminal one of Heathrow for a while after my arrival and typing up my last blog entry, I headed for terminal three, which I was assured was the Virgin Atlantic terminal. Long walk, but sure didn't I have all night? I was greeted at terminal 3 by the sight of VA logos everywhere, which was encouraging. Less encouraging was the absence of any sign of my flight to Vegas on the screens. Hmmmm. Better check the old itinerary. A quick glance at aforementioned itinerary revealed the source of the problem here: my flight to Vegas from Heathrow was actually from Gatwick. Crumbs and jiminy cricket.

Having no notion of the most economical way of getting from Heathrow to Gatwick but harbouring a strong suspicion that the answer wasn't "taxi!", I decided to catch the last train to Paddington. That got me into Paddington around 1 AM, just in time to see every shop, food outlet and tube station in the joint slam its shutters shut. Hmmmm. After ascertaining that the best plan of action now was to tube it to Victoria and then catch the Gatwick Express, I was left with the minor problem of what to do for the next 4 hours until the tube station reopened.

The answer I came up with, and I acknowledge it right here right now to be laughably sub optimal, was to spend the night in Paddington shivering on a bench like a homeless bum, surrounded by actual homeless bums. And let me dispel any illusions you might have: spending a night shivering like a homeless bum surrounded by actual homeless bums in London's draughtiest and least attractive train station with no food and no toilet and just your overheating but running down laptop battery as your only heat source is not as much fun as you might think. A few hours into this I noticed one of my homeless bum compadres had skulked off somewhere. A little investigation revealed the destination of the skulk to be an inexplicably open but empty ticket office which afforded considerably more shelter and heat than the concourse benches. Better yet, it boasted a power outlet. As I reveled in the plush surroundings of the floor of the ticket office recharging my laptop and my spirits, I got all philosophical about how even the smallest things can become huge luxuries in the right light.

My reveling and revelation didn't last long though: a station security guy materialised to chase us homeless bums back out onto the concourse with shouts of "get out or you'll have me sacked". I wouldn't have thought his job security was a pressing concern to the homeless bum fraternity, but nobody argued. He shot me a particularly quizical look: I guess he'd never seen a homeless bum in a white Miami Vice jacket clutching a laptop before.

My partially regenerated battery got me through til 5 AM, opening time for everything. Hurray! The Circle Line tube ride to Victoria was rendered all the more surreal by the fact that I was the only human in the carriage, and my companion the only bird. Yes, an actual bird of the flying feathery variety was sat on the seat next to me, looking up at me like he'd never seen a homeless bum in a white Miami Vice jacket with a laptop before. I took a picture of him with my phone which I'll put up at some stage to prove I wasn't hallucinating. I also think it's just as well the ticket conductor didn't come til after the bird got off at Notting Hill to tell the other birds his "Hey, you'll never guess what I saw on the tube this morning..." story, as I'm reasonably certain that the bird was not in possession of a valid ticket.

The Gatwick Express entertainment was provided by the panicky American old lady determined to drive her silent and sullen husband round the twist with very public fretting over them missing their plane. "We have only 6 hours before takeoff! Are you sure that's enough time? How long does this train take to get to Gatwick?" I was tempted to up the ante by telling her "Ah, you'll be grand, it rarely takes more than 5 hours" but the husband looked like it wouldn't take much for him to actually snap, snap as in "American tourist on Gatwick Express snaps and shoots 7 passengers", so I left it. Instead, I focused on the positives of my night as a homeless bum. It probably surprises nobody that knows that I used to run for 24 hours non stop for no good reason other than to see how much it could mess me up that I like to put myself through some sort of pointless ordeal every so often in the view that it "builds character" and "puts things in perspective". Anyway, when you've endured a night like I just had for no good reason other than your own stupidity and lack of attention to detail, you kinda need to find some sort of silver lining.

So yeah, I made it to Vegas anyway.


in your honour, I intentionally didn't book my Barcelona hotel until the day after my 10pm flight, went to the casino til they threw me out, went to a bar til they threw me out, went to the beach and watched the sun rise (til the blokes who clean the beaches in their marauding JCB/skip vehicles started stopping at my homeless-looking ass, staring at me like the beach was off limits to the likes of me) and am now, yes right now, stealing internet and electricity from a hotel that I'm not even staying in until a coffee shop opens so i can get some pre-checking in, pre-sleeping breakfast. The upside is... I raped the cash games for 850 in 3 hours and there is a day 1B on friday if I don't get my requisite beauty sleep.

Nice.....this lunatic brand of value hunting might just catch on!

There would've been a bus to gatwick during the night, with wifi. Just saying...

Reinforces the comment I left on Facebook.

well if you read what i posted on facebook message to you you would have went by bus from heathrow to gatwick airport which i used a lot before haha would have been easier and warmer i say then going into london centre to get bus haha

I should have read Facebook I guess Sean. I also wish I'd known the Vic is only 5 minutes from Paddington :)


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