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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.
Let me tell you about the alarm clock in the hotel. I asked for a wake-up call. No luck, but “there’s an option on your telly”. Menu, option 3 (don’t miss and hit option 4 or else you’ll be into the adult entertainment section) :). I set it for 7:30 and decided to hop online so i could leave a message for my wife, who was worried sick since she hadn’t heard anything from me. (Well, i like to think she was worried anyway). But wait – our hotel has wi-fi, but it’s extra. 60 pounds ($100) extra! Lame. But I need internet and the company is paying, so whatever. A quick “hey, i’m alive, see you tomorrow” email, and off to bed. 7:30 came all too early. The TV came on LOUD. I pressed the power button, and the TV came on LOUD. I pressed cancel, and the TV came on LOUD. I turned down the volume, and the volume went back LOUD. CRAP. Finally i just unplugged the thing. Hopefully i’ll figure it out tomorrow.
We grabbed some breakfast at the hotel and hopped into the car. I followed the GPS and we headed for the highway. Cardiff isn’t as busy as London, but it WAS rush-hour and we were driving in the middle of downtown. My blood-pressure rose a few points, i can tell you. But it got much worse once we took the wrong exit half-way down the highway and i was driving down roads that were barely wide enough for 2 cars normally, and everyone around here parks in the street
on both sides. You have to crawl along and hope nobody is coming the other way. The GPS kept routing us around the city, i kept taking wrong turns because of all the squirreley roundabouts. Finally about 30 minutes and two heart attacks later, we made it back to the highway and eventually found the office.
Everyone here is nice. Work was … work. Nothing exciting. Meetings, email, bug fixes, remote meetings over Skype. Blah blah. At lunchtime, Dai (the local liaison and Bruce’s counterpart on this side of the pond) took us out to lunch. Turns out he’s into miniature painting and castles. Score. After lunch he took us to a local castle. It’s what they call a ‘folly’. We’d call it a replica. It was an old Roman ruin that was restored (with some artistic license) in the early 1800’s. Although not some ancient original castle, it was cool to see and wander around. Just a taste of things to come i hope
Back to work, back to the hotel, grabbed some dinner by the bay. While we were there, i spotted the entrance to Torchwood! It was too dark for pictures though. Hopefully tomorrow…