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I’ve finally gotten over the jet lag and caught up on things at home, so i’ve got a spare moment to blog about our final day in the UK. We got up around 5:30am local time and headed back towards London. We decided not to risk getting lost or missing our plane by stopping at Stonehenge along the way, so instead we visited Windsor Castle. We got there a bit early, so we wandered around town a bit and took some pictures of old knights tombs.
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Today started out wonderfully. I launched a pre-emptive strike against my TV and unplugged it at 7:15, before it had a chance to wake me up. Take that! Then we had a quick breakfast at the hotel and Dai picked us up for a quick jaunt to a castle before work. Did i mention that Dai picked us up? That means I don’t have to drive today!
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I hate my TV alarm clock!. Enough said. We were hoping to get done with work early today so that we could pop over to the Doctor Who Up Close Exhibition before it closed at 6:30, but no suck luck. I guess it will have to wait for another trip. It’s 6:30 now and i’m still at the office. We won’t have time tomorrow, and after that we’re heading out of town.
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Today was a bit better, sleep-wise. I still had the argument with the TV in the morning and ended up unplugging it. Guess i’ll ask at the office tonight how to do it properly. The drive to the office was still a bit stressful, but not nearly as bad as yesterday. First off, the GPS gave us a different route that took us to the outskirts of town rather than through the middle of it. Why it did that i have no idea, but it was much nicer. The only almost-stress i had was when i had to swerve into the right hand lane of a roundabout at the last second and it was right in front of a police car. He just waved me through though, rather than give me a ticket. YAY.
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When we got back to the car rental, they had a GPS unit that had been returned. I snagged it. I wasn’t about to drive anywhere without one (and in hindsight, it’s been invaluable during the trip!). Off we went for Cardiff – the capital of Wales. It only about 2 and a half hours to get there, but it felt a lot longer. I hadn’t slept for 24 hours and it was night, and i’m driving on the wrong side of the road. One advantage though: not a lot of traffic. Thanks to the GPS we found the hotel without any difficulty and checked in. Then we went down to the bay, grabbed some food, and headed back to the hotel to crash for a few hours.
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Everyone voted that I should get to be the sucker who had to drive on the wrong side of the road. Brilliant plan, really. We arrived at the car rental spot, waited around a bit. They did NOT have a GPS unit available. Very sad about this. We’re totally screwed, i was thinking. Oh well – i didn’t have to navigate. I was just driving. All is well, right? NOT. We got loaded into the car. It was the “large” car. Smaller than what i drive at home. But it was nice.
I was all packed and ready the night before. The only snag occurred when i tried to locate the flip HD video camera. No luck. It was nowhere to be found. Sad, but not catastrophic. I left some extra space in my suitcase, knowing i’d need it for some souvenirs. The day before a package had arrived for Luann with a bunch of bubble-wrap packaging. I put it in there to fill the space, and had a heck of a time convincing Andrea that it was in her best interests to leave it alone She kept wanting to pop all the bubbles.Finally got to the office and met up with Bruce and Ben. We carpooled up to the airport and picked up our tickets. It was the first time i got to use my shiny new passport. Getting through security was fairly painless. Unlike the last time i traveled, i guess i didn’t get flagged, and consequently didn’t get the terrorist treatment this time. Total time to get through security: 3 minutes. The flight to Dallas was nice. Plane took off on time. I was sitting between two other people, but they were both very quiet the whole ride, so i just got to relax and read my book. One cool thing was the cloud cover. It was early evening as we were nearing the airport in Dallas and the sky above was pure blue and the sky below was pure white as far as i could see in every direction. As we descended you could see more and more detail in the clouds. It was a very cool perspective. Going from solid white with no details to big puffy clouds with lots of depth, to being immersed in a white cloud, to finally being underneath in the gloom. Right before we entered the cloud cover, there was a big rainbow. Except it was a rain-circle, with the plane’s shadow in the center. Wish i’d had my camera out for that one. Dallas was relaxing. Just sat around, charged up the laptops, grabbed some food and waited for our plane. Felt bad for one woman who was there with two little kids (probably both around 3 years old) who were crying and screaming. I felt bad, but not bad enough to hope she was on the opposite end of the plane from me. It turned out well though. A few minutes into the flight they were out and slept the whole time. Talk about a long flight! Wow. Nine hours in a plane seat. Not the most fun i’ve ever had. Fortunately i was in a row with three seats and the seat next to me was empty so i had a little elbow room. The flight was a bit of a blur. Got served some bland airplane food a few times. Tried to catch a few catnaps (to varying degrees of success). Listened to the guy behind me snore most of the time. Tried my best to ignore the in-flight movies… And finally we landed. We picked up luggage and waited in line for about 10 minutes to get through customs. It was pretty painless. Showed my passport, flashed a smile, got my first stamp (on page 17 for some reason; he didn’t even bother to put it on page 1. rude…), and away we went. I think we were supposed to stop at the next station so they could search our luggage or something, but we didn’t stop, and they didn’t yell at us, so … i guess all is well. We hopped on a bus and headed to the car rental.