Saturday, March 22, 2008

An interesting journey - no photos :(

At 4 p.m. yesterday I left for Pointe Noire airport with the foreboding that this wasn't going to be the most efficient of journeys.  Well, I had been tipped off that Air France's flight from Brazzaville to Paris would have to divert via Kinshasa because there was no way to refuel the Airbus 340-300 in Brazzaville.  Which is what happened.  The story from there kinda went down hill.

Arriving in Paris at the same time the flight to Birmingham took off, I was rescheduled on the second flight, two hours later.  Except it was three hours later by the time they had fixed a 'technical problem' that necessitated the co-pilot descending through a trap door in the cockpit.  I subscribe to the practice that if the pilot will fly the plane I am prepared to fly in it with him.  And that is what we did.

Upon arriving in Birmingham my carry on bag which couldn't be carried on from Paris to Birmingham (small plane, small overhead bins) got damaged on the conveyor belt.  Customs got involved, as they should, because a tampered bag has the potential to be carrying something "extra".  The zipper was completely useless so I was given a large plastic bag to put it in and then went to complain to the baggage desk and received the good news that I will be given a new suitcase.

I also observed at this time that Birmingham International (BHX) is looking a bit seedy in places, particularly the toilets which don't seem to have seen chlorine bleach in years - is that a health and safety issue, I wonder - and smell as though they have been cleaned with second hand dishwater.  BHX, you can do better!

By this time I was running 4-1/4 hours behind schedule.  Good news - the car started and I was off in a snow flurry (second day of Spring!) down the M42, where I came across a heritage diesel locomotive on a transporter.  The number was 27066 and it looked in reasonable condition if a little rusty below the skirts.

I finally arrived home 22 hours after leaving the office in Pointe Noire.