Thursday, 3 December 2009

Divine Comedy

Well what a mission that was. I left Newport at 10.30 on Wednesday morning on a national express (without a jolly hostess) and from there it all went downhill. The driver announced over his magic microphone that the diesel gauge wasn't working and, even though he thought there would be enough fuel, he wanted to make absolutely sure so we would be stopping at the garage to fill up. This took 20 minutes. My connection in London was 15 minutes after this bus was due to arrive - which the driver informed me - I should never have been booked on because the company always allow 40 minutes for a connection. But it wasn't all bad. The guy opposite me had clearly been a master of deception at some time in his life because I didn't notice him drinking - or even that he was drunk - until he got his old boy out and started urinating where he sat!
I moved to a different seat.
When we were off the motorway he moved to the pavement.
So I got to Victoria Station and caught the A6 national express to Stansted airport. At this point I still had an outside chance of making my flight - that is until we turned out of the bus station. From there on all the way out of London and on the M25 the traffic was a nightmare.
So I got off at the airport and asked when the next flight to Bilbao was. At 17.15 I was told - tomorrow!
Great. Now I had to work out what to do for 24 hours. After some investigating I found that there was a Holiday Inn on the airport, but at £69 a night I thought **** that. So my friend Matt sorted it for me to stay with his parents in Colchester, about an hour away. So I checked out the buses from Stansted. Guess what - National Express! So I asked the guy in the national express office what time the next bus to Colchester was. "8 pm, bay 28" he informed me. I thanked him and went to find a seat for 2/12 hours. I made it to bay 28 in good time and waited for my bus. And waited. And waited a bit longer. I then went into the office again to ask where the 8 o'clock bus to Colchester was. The new monkey behind the desk informed that it had left at 8pm. I was of course perplexed by this and explained my state of bewilderment to the monkey who told me between bananas that I should have been at bay 22. I now had to wait until 9pm. I manged to get the 9pm bus and I'm glad to say that Matts Dad was waiting at the station for me and drove me back to his house where I was far more comfortable than I would have been in a £69 a night Holiday Inn room. Apart from walking a mile in the rain with all my luggage to catch the bus this morning, the rest of today went very well - mainly because I was sure to arrive 2 hours earliy for everything!
Anyway, I'm happy to say that i am writing this from the Ghosts in Armour residence in Bilbao. And I recommend National Express for all your budget journeys.

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