Wednesday, June 24, 2009

England is Target

I was in England for a few days, getting some much needed girl time with my friends there. Wes had to stay in Dublin to bring home the bacon and take care of Little Kitty. I had a few hours to kill in Bath before heading to my friend's house. I was headed to my favorite shop, Rossiters, when I got distracted by the Lakeland Crack Shop. This is where I picked up my new beloved butter dish. I think what surprised me most about the trip was how inexpensive things seemed to me. When I was new to England everything was ridiculously expensive. I made the mistake of constantly converting everything to dollars which is not a good idea, especially when the exchange rate is 2 to 1. Compared to Ireland though, England is Target. I could have done some serious damage, but I was fairly loaded down with all my stuff as it was and Ryanair had me restricted with baggage charges.

Speaking of Ryanair...they still don't have their shit together, which is no surprise. They have this new thing where they will charge you if you don't check in online and have your boarding pass printed off prior to getting to the airport. They wanted to eliminate the need for people at the counter. They have a place where you can drop off your bag and if you're like me (a non EU/EEA citizen), you have to show your passport and have your boarding pass stamped. So even though I had no bag to drop I had to stand in line, which was fine. When I got there a passenger was at the counter being told that her teeny tiny carry-on bag was too big. The passenger was arguing (as I would have been) that she always travels with this bag and it's fine. Because of the wheels on the bottom it wouldn't go into the bag measurement device, so I gave her the top tip another Ryanair worker was nice enough to give me once. Flip the bag over and put it in handle first. Of course it slides right in and the robot Ryanair worker acts as if she wasn't just telling her two seconds ago that her bag was too big. Have a nice flight!
At Bristol airport, things are not any better. I had to check my bag on the way back and had to pay for this at the airport. I went to the counter, their machine wouldn't accept Maestro, so I had to go to the ATM, back to the counter to pay and get my receipt, off to the bag drop off line which wasn't moving, bitch about the cost of utilities in Ireland with some Irish women who were in line (Wes would have been proud of this), finally got up to the front drop to drop off my bag and get my boarding pass stamped as non-EU. I'm then told that I have to go BACK to the counter where I paid for my bag to get the stamp. The girl at the bag counter just CONFIRMS the information, the girl at the customer service counter actually POSSESSES the stamp. What?? How about you have everything all in one place?? I guess that would just make too much sense.
THEN, we're about to land and I ask the flight attendent for a landing card. He tells me I don't need one because it's a UK to Ireland flight which would be correct if Dublin airport had their immigration set up properly. When you fly to the UK from Ireland you're shuttled through a special door that avoids immigration due to the agreement between the two countries. When you fly into Dublin you go through the same immigration as everyone else flying from lord knows where. So yes, the flight attendent and I know that I flew from the UK, but the immigration guy doesn't. So the FA proceeds to give me a landing card for the UK and tell me that it's useless. Yes, I'm aware of it's uselessness, thanks. So, I figure I'll wing it with the immigration guy. Fortunately for me, I'm a white American female and there is no issue at immigration. The immigration officer practically invites me around for a cup of tea.

Sorry for my ramblings...if you're still reading this I appreciate it. I'm avoiding the gym. All in all, my trip was great! I got my dose of girl time, hung out with their extremely adorable children, did a bit of shopping, and had lunch with my old work mates. Two thumbs up!

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