Tuesday, 13 June 2017

In Warsaw... and David Cameron's on the plane!

The first thing worth pointing out is that I never, repeat, NEVER, take an early flight unless it's absolutely necessary; but if I allow somebody else to book my plane ticket... well, what can I say? This morning I had to get up at the crack of dawn (0400hrs) in order to catch the 0725hrs BA flight to Warsaw.

I showered and shaved late last night and then jumped into bed, but was rudely awakened by my iphone alarm at 0400hrs and had 20 minutes to make the final preparations for my trip, namely sort my lap top out, eat a banana and zip up my suitcase. The taxi driver was already waiting outside, but after my trip to Nashville, when the bastard took me to Gatwick instead of Heathrow, I wasn't holding out much hope. In fact, I got a bit worried when he said he was going via Fulham rather than round the M25, but being as it was only 0430hrs I figured there would be no traffic and it was fine.

Once at Terminal Three of Heathrow airport I enjoyed a breakfast of omelette, toast and tea – top marks to the waiter for offering me a free top-up of tea – and then, after a minor wander about I headed for Gate 11 and the flight to Warsaw.

Omelette for breakfast at Oriel, T3.
What amazed me about Terminal Three – although perhaps it's the same for all airport terminals, I don't know, is that very early in the morning it was empty, hardly anybody there. I strolled nonchalantly into the duty free section, sprayed myself with some expensive after shave and then found Oriel and, of course, breakfast. The restaurant was empty but slowly it filled up and before long it was a bustling place along with the rest of the terminal, a bit like watching one of those speeded-up time movies.

Former Prime Minister David Cameron was on the same flight, but I never saw him, although it explains why there was a uniformed copper in the jetty joining the plane to the terminal building. I wonder where he was going? I considered 'having a word' about the in-out referendum he'd been responsible for, but figured it wasn't worth it. "Leave it! He's not worth it!"

The flight was fine, as smooth as you like, until it hit some cloud on the descent into Warsaw, then it got a little bumpy, but nothing to write home about, he said, mildly shitting himself. I know, ultimately, I'm a wimp, but I don't care; and besides, it doesn't really bother me. I'm so used to it these days I just go with the flow.

I'm glad I had breakfast at Oriel because I resent paying BA for an M&S sandwich and a cup of Rosie. No, they should be giving away their food and drink as part of the fare, and, hey, I bet you any money you like that the fare has gone up rather than gone down.

I had some writing to do while in the air and it worked out well, although thanks also (once again) to John Simpson's column in High Life, which is always my saviour on flights long and short. I like Simpson's writing style and I love the stories he tells, this month about a brick he found (and was allowed to keep) in Iraq back in the 1990s. All good stuff in my opinion.

View from room 201, Sheraton, Warsaw...
Having written what I needed to write and not having a book to read – I couldn't fit Steinbeck's East of Eden into my case – I spent the remainder of the flight circling all the destinations I had visited on the High Life route maps and then realised that there were many places around the world that hadn't been graced by my presence. One day, I thought, one day.

Once through passport control and baggage reclaim, it was a short cab ride to the Sheraton Hotel from where I write this. From what I've seen of the hotel so far, it's very good; the room is excellent, not dissimilar to the Hyatt Regency in Irvine, California, except that the weather's not as good.

A curry for lunch – you can't beat a curry for lunch or dinner – and now it's down to work, but I might take a shower and freshen up a little bit first.

Earlier, when I first reached the room after a fairly straightforward check-in process, I did my usual foraging around to check things out: First, the hotel DEFINITELY trusts its guests. Second, the coat hangers are just that, proper coat hangers with hooks; and third, there's a fully-stocked minibar. There's a large double bed, a huge flatscreen television, a decent-looking bathroom, a desk, free WiFi, tea and coffee making facilities, an iron plus an ironing board, a safe and ample wardrobe space. In other words, it's all good – so far – and everything looks neat and tidy as it's all packed away and out of sight.

Room 201, Sheraton, Warsaw, Poland – nice room!

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