Friday, February 09, 2007

Flight AC868

The Esso is closed and so is Tim Horton's

After Humbert's final injection I left Rick and Sabrina's place to go to Andrew's. The cab I took to get there arrived a bit early. To kill some time allowing Andrew to pack I decided to go to the local Tim Horton's to get an ice cappacino. No such luck. The store was closed. In fact the whole Esso gas station was closed. D'oh!

From Andrew's place we drove up to Woodbridge to meet up with Josie and drop off Andrew's car. Then from there we took an airport limo to Terminal One. There were a bunch of kiosks that would take your passport and print out a boarding pass. I'm not really sure what the use of these things were. They didn't speed up anything. We still had to get in line to drop off our check in luggage. In the end the boarding pass kiosks seemed to be a waste of time and money.

The boarding kiosk. It functions inversely proportional to how cool it looks.

Andrew and Josie waiting in Terminal One

My flight kit to fight off boredom and change of pressure

Once on the plane the first thing I noticed was the amount of leg room. I could stretch my legs out without the chair in front cramping me in. It was a nice change from the days of flying in the fetal position. To give you an idea of how much room there was I had a window seat, Annabel, the women sitting in the aisle seat didn't have to get up to let me in past her. I suppose that's the luxury of sitting right next to the emergency exit.

Our wing gets sprayed with anti-freeze

A nice cloud shot over Toronto

Sitting next to the exit near the midsection of the plane also meant that I couldn't take wide angle pictures looking out without the wing getting in the shot. The new plane we were in had tiny LCD monitors built into the headrest in front of us. This distracted me from taking pictures. The monitors were touch sensitive and offered a variety of TV programs, movies, radio channels, and albums to listen to. You could even program your own play list from the tunes available. It sounds great... if it functioned properly.

No "Mister Roboto" for you

I started by playing with the audio selection picking the category "classic pop" out of which there were only two artists. Billy Joel and Stix. Cool. I picked "Mr. Roboto" by Stix. Only the first 12 seconds played before the song crapped out and the computer skipped to the next song. What the hell? I tried playing it a number of times before determining the file was corrupt and moved my attention to the movie access panel.

The movie interface nice layout but slow response

I didn't have much success. I started watching "Driving Miss Daisy", a movie I hadn't seen and didn't want to buy or rent, and about five minutes in the movie menu popped up aborting the movie play. I was fiddling with this stupid thing for about half an hour before one of the flight attendants noticed and asked if I wanted to sit in another seat where I could watch the movie in a seat cluster with a different file server.

Reluctantly I moved from my window seat to a middle aisle seat. Sure enough the movie worked. I paused the movie to see if I could listen to "Mr. Roboto". Nope. The file was corrupt on this server too. Just dangle that twinkie in front of you and yank it away. Damn them.

Stupid server

Why do they even advertise the feature and let you pick it in the first place?

Although I liked the design of the interface, at least for the most part, the response time between touching the screen and something happening was incredibly slow. The interface, while I liked some parts, seemed badly designed in certain areas. For example if you stopped the movie, you could start it up again from where you left off but you would have to choose the language you wanted to view it in. Why wouldn't the programming remember the language you set at the beginning? That seemed dumb to me. Especially since you could change the language while the movie was playing. Probably some band-aid programming solution.

The waffle meal. Tasted pretty good.

Because I was engrossed with watching movies I didn't take any pictures of the food after our first serving (the waffles) not that we had much. Some ice cream followed later on by a sandwich with a cup of sliced fruit.

After "Driving Miss Daisy" I went back into the menu and picked "Good Cop, Bon Cop". It was actually a pretty good movie overall. The only downside is that there's a lot of subtitles. When they speak english there's french subtitles, when they speak french there's english subtitles. Normally if you're watching this in a theatre that would be okay. I, however, was not in a theatre.

I was in a seat with a tiny monitor in front of my face (because the guy in front of me was reclined and the monitor was embedded into the seat in front of me), not quite the fetal position but very, very close. The text on the tiny screen was very small. Now add the fact that we were in an airplane. About half an hour into the movie we hit turbulence. Turbulence that lasted for about 40 minutes. Turbulence that made people spill their drinks all over themselves. Turbulence that had people in the back of the plane falling on their faces. Turbulence that even made the flight attendants nervous. One started barking orders to sit down and everything would be okay. You could hear her voice shake of uncertainty. I suppose I'd be nervous too if the plane lurched and I fell on my face.

Images of the "Perfect Storm" and the airplane scene from "Superman Returns" came to mind while I gripped the head rest in front of me. I realized I was white knuckling it. I found myself laughing as I thought about how pissed off I was. Couldn't this force of nature thing go away so I could watch the movie and read the subtitles without getting nausea?

I quickly looked around the plane at people gripping their arm rests, praying, wiping the food or drink they had spilt all over themselves, looking desperately at the buckle up signs or out a nearby window. The only one that seemed to be having any fun was a small girl. She was under one year old, 14 pounds. She had a huge grin on her face watching her mother with a worried look. It was one big ride at the amusement park for her.

Here we were in a plane, who knows how high in the air, being subjected to "surprise" weather conditions, people on the edge of panic, possibly near death, and here I am trying to watch some french canadian movie with subtitles thinking why is this happening now? Can't I watch a movie without all the hullabaloo?

As you can see from this blog entry, we all pulled through. I managed to see "Good Cop, Bon Cop" all the way to the end. Just as the credits started to roll the server was turned off as we started our descent. The movie gods were with me after all.

It took about an hour from the airport to Earl's Court station via tube (subway), then while walking along the street toward the hotel a large rat walked by in front of me. At a pretty leisurely pace I might add. It came from under a car and headed down into some home garden just below street level. As it wasn't that big, it was the size of a normal looking rat, not beaver or raccoon sized, it didn't really phase me much other than I was glad I didn't step on it by accident. By the time I reached for the camera it had disappeared into the shadows.

The street with the rat.

Upon arrival at my hotel, which I made it to just minutes before the reception staff had left for the night, I was asked to verify my one nights stay. "What? one night?" Yes they messed up. I looked in the book of reservations and there I was for nine nights. This was the second time the person behind the counter didn't know what was going on.

They were nice enough though and it was shortly after that I got my key to room 102, the room located just above the room I had last fashion season. I got in and turned on the lights and saw something move in the corner of the room. At least I thought I saw something move. Upon closer inspection of the carpet seam next to the wall... nothing. I saw nothing.

The room 102

It was at that moment I had a intuitive flash to go look under the sink. I opened the cupboard and found five of the largest cockroaches I had ever seen. Please remember I'm from Toronto, a relatively cold city, with brown roaches the size of maybe a centimeter in length. These semi-tropical roaches of the UK were black and about three times the size. About the size of your thumb, from the tip of your fingernail to where it is attached to your hand. I use the thumb size reference as I thought if if came down to me killing them with my bare hands I'd have that much gunk to deal with.

I tried to capture one of the larger specimens in a zip lock bag I had. No luck there. It ran into a crack next to the plumbing and got away. I really need a jar of some kind.

The restaurant where we ate lamb shwarma

After leaving my hotel room, leaving the lights on, I met up with Andrew and Josie to get some lamb shwarma at a nearby restaurant. Mmmmm... the food is really good here.

After dinner we ventured off to Sainbury's in order to pick up some roach hotels and zip lock bags. We got to the store to find that they are no longer open 24 hours. They close at midnight thanks to some construction that's going on.

Back at that hotel room I realized I had no towels. It had been raining since we landed and I was soaked. Rainy but a balmy five degrees. Geez, I could wear shorts here. It's supposed to snow sometime later this week. Tomorrow I've got to figure out if I was registered with the British Fashion Council correctly. Fashion week this season starts on Sunday.


Wade Marshall said...

The last time you went to London you got 4 months behind on your blog entries.

Zee said...

I hear the roaches are more friendly in england. Here's a tip, play some Beatles tunes and they'll cuddle right up with you in bed.

Wade Marshall said...

Zee, the writers from Corner Gas called. They want their blog comment back.

BagelHot said...

I think it was two months, But that was also because I got sick for a month. Will try to update the blog on a more regular basis.

As for roaches... Last night I finally caught two in a yogurt cup. Geez, they're big here. I'll let them go somewhere outside. Photos to come.

theotherbear said...

Derek I think this is why John hates Aussie cockroaches so much - they are also huge. Bigger even than you describe, sometimes. Here we call the small ones german cockroaches and they are much harder to get rid of than normal (huge) cockroaches.