Leaving on a jet plane

For the first time in about ten years we are leaving Australia and taking Robert with us. London, then New York, then Madison Wisconsin (!) then Disneyland then home. Madison is for a science fiction/fantasy convention where Pamela plans to spruik her books.

We had a few glitches in the morning. I tried to get global roaming turned on for my phone. You would think this would be a maximum five minute job. However the annoying voice recognition system took me through a long sequence of finding out about me, asking for numbers and passwords, then dumped me with a “sorry, we aren’t open today” message. I assumed I had done something wrong and tried again but no, I was dumped again.

Finally, Pamela cracked it by simply saying “blah-de-blah-de-blah” at it until a human being picked up the phone. Even then, the first human being left us on hold for fifteen minutes then cut the connection without activating global roaming. A second person, when we went through the “blah-de-blah” process again finally did the deed.

At the airport duty free we had arranged to pick up a “Super Mario” game for Robert’s Nintendo. Pamela had, foolishly in retrospect, decided to save some money and had placed the order for it with these people. We turned up with their documentation but, oh dear, we found after about half-an-hour of stuffing around, there had been a stuff up and it was out of stock.

Robert handled it remarkably well, considering. We got a substitute Mario game but it wasn’t anything like as good and he eventually went back to his Star War’s Lego.

This is a seriously long flight, especially as we had only a very short break in Bangkok to break the twenty-odd hour trip. Bangkok was a bit of enforced exercise. The plane docked at the end of a long terminal building. We had to walk all the way down the building so that we could go through a security check at the other end and then walk back.

This was probably actually a good thing in terms of us stretching our muscles after the flight. The building was kind of interesting as well – a sort of ribbed arch reminding me of the inside of a dirigible (or more accurately, what I imagine the inside of a dirigible would look like).

The eleven plus hour Bangkok to London flight is not good. I have to say that Robert handled it extremely well for a six year old. He had his new nintendo but you can’t play that all the time. British Airways did their best to entertain us and their food was surprisingly good except for breakfast which wasn’t but we all coped.

Got into Heathrow just after 6 am which turned out to be a good time because we got through immigration and customs in record time. I have never seen so few people in any one place in Britain. As we emerged I saw a lot of miserable-looking people and I had a bad feeling about the English but, upon consideration, I realised I would look pretty miserable if I had to be at Heathrow at 6:30 am.

Took the tube to Russell Square where we are staying. We decided collapsing on the floor would probably not be a good idea as we were totally time-zoned out and didn’t want to compound it. We took the tube down to South Kensington and spent a couple of hours at the Science Museum.

Robert isn’t much into hanging around Museums as such but he likes the interactive stuff. It took us a while to find it but the Museum does have a decent hands-on section and we spent the time without too much trauma. Then a bus trip to Marble Arch, a bite of lunch and a bus back along Oxford Street to Russell Square again.

Mid-afternoon we all climbed into bed for a nap and didn’t wake up again until six o’clock the next morning. Probably an excellent thing.

Robert’s take on Plane to London and the Science Museum.

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