Sparky Travels

May 14, 2011

Buenos Aires to Edinburgh

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — admin @ 8:13 pm

Arriving at Retiro bus station in Buenos Aires on the 9th of May, I caught a taxi straight to Pax hostel and settled into the familiar surroundings. Alicia (who had been a guest at the same time as me but was now a member of staff), David and the rest of the crew were familiar and friendly faces and I instantly felt at home.

It being a Monday meant that there was only one plan for the evening, La Bomba de Tiempo, Buenos Aires’ favourite drumming ensemble. This time they had a dj as special guest and as always they rocked the place. A dozen of us from a couple of hostels headed back to Pax bar to get some drinks and around 4am I headed to bed.

2 hours later I was in hospital.

Apparently, I’d had enough fun so called it a night, made it into my top bunk and all was quiet. Suddenly I shifted about a bit and then fell out of bed hitting a table and then the floor. I lay there unconscious with blood pouring out the back of my head. One of the guys in the room fainted 3 times while trying to stem the bleeding and help me come round. David, was called up from the bar and took control and I was soon in good spirits, making jokes and generally proving to be quite lucid.

Nevertheless the ambulance was on its way, though the police were mistakenly called first, and I was whisked off to get stitches. Within an hour or two my head had been sewn up, a couple of prescriptions written and I was pointed in the direction of the taxi rank to find my way home. When I got there I’d been moved to a bottom bunk, probably for the best!DSC03767

Most of the rest of my time in BA was spent recovering and taking it easy. The antibiotics I’d been prescribed meant I couldn’t drink alcohol which was probably a good thing, but no fun seeing everyone else heading out. I was a lot more active on my last day in town when I went shopping for presents and had a last Argentinean steak lunch.

In the evening I packed my bag for the last time EVER and got a few hours sleep before my 7:40am shuttle bus to the airport. Air Europa to Madrid, a couple of hour wait and then the connecting flight to Gatwick all went without a hitch and soon I’d entered the UK again. It was 9am and my flight to Edinburgh was at 5pm so the day was spent hanging around the airport sampling some home delights: beans on toast, irn-bru and a newspaper.

At 6:30pm I arrived back in Scotland to finish my travels, ending where I began, with my mum at the airport.

January 24, 2011

London & Southend Stopover

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On the evening of the 13th of January 2011, approximately 555 days after I’d last been in Britain, I landed at Stansted Airport and caught the train and tube to Nick’s flat in Finsbury Park, London.We sat up chatting for a good few hours with the help of some IrnBru before the long day finally caught up with me.

The next day we took it easy before heading to a good old London boozer in Holborn. It was a real joy to be sitting in a real pub drinking real ale with a real $£**”%er. That evening we went to one of the newly opened Byron burger restaurants with Lou and Claire.

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They sure know how to cook a mean burger there, the meat was almost rare and very tasty. Later we met Nick’s mate Adam, girlfriend Lizzi and some of her friends.

On Saturday I met Dad in Carnaby street and we made it to a pub for pie and chips after a quick stroll through the National Portrait Gallery and a long stroll through central London. Unfortunately my food poisoning from Ubud decided to make a reappearance and I was laid up for most of the evening.

I met Dad again on Monday and we went to the usual haunt of the Tate Modern where we saw some impressive works by Gauguin. Then St Paul’s Cathedral, Oxford Street and King’s Place for a bite to eat.

The next day I caught the train to Southend to see the rest of the family. I met Jo and my nephews in town for lunch. This was very exciting as I’d last seen Harry when he was only 16 months old and had never met Jamie before. Harry had grown up into a handsome wee man in the intervening 18 months and was full of excitement ahead of his upcoming 3rd birthday party. Jamie was a smiling 15 month old baby who seemed perfectly at ease with the world.

Ruth arrived a few hours later and we checked into the grotty Travelodge in the town centre. The place was a shambles and looked like it was falling apart. We had a lovely homecooked dinner at Joanna’s before heading to bed.

The 18th of January was surprise day! For the last month or two we’d been spinning a lie to Mum that I was flying straight from KL to Argentina. This had involved keeping my plans secret and surreptitiously planning my arrival in the UK with a few informed people. It got even harder when I actually arrived in London and we all had to pretend that I was in Buenos Aires.

Finally, after a nightmare journey from stansted airport, Mum and Auntie Fi arrived at Joanna’s house. We were worried that Harry might give the game away, but he was impressively tight-lipped so I was able to execute my appearance perfectly. Once everyone was inside I stepped out from my hiding place and waved at them from the back garden. After a second of confusion Mum and Auntie Fi recognized me and were very pleased. No tears of joy though, how disappointing. :-)

Harry’s birthday party the next day was a riotous affair with a horde of babies and toddlers leading the procession to Kids’ Kingdom, a Little Marco’s style play ground with foam, ball pits and slides. We all got involved with herding the kids around and trying to keep an eye on the wee rascals as they hurtled around the play area. Everyone had built up an appetite by the end so we trooped back to Jo’s for the obligatory sweets, finger food and cake. Harry ended up with a real haul of presents including numerous Postman Pat toys.

My food poisoning reoccurred that evening and was not at all linked to the sweeties I’d munched throughout the afternoon. A few days later I went to the doctors but the good old NHS was not much help and all tests proved negative. A weird bug/virus for sure!

I packed my bag and returned to London on the 22nd where I met Hilary and Nick for lunch. In a busy day of hopping across the city, we also met Adam and Rav before going out for a Thai and beerage in Hoxton with Claire, Lou, Adam (again), Lizzi and Amir.

T’was great weekend, blighted only by our decision to watch The Expendables, an absolute stinker of a movie, on Sunday night. The takeaway pizza made up for it though.

On Monday the 24th, as Nick went to work I threw my backpack on my back and caught the train out to Gatwick Airport for my flight to Buenos Aires via Madrid. I finally bought a replacement camera in duty free, a Sony DSC-W350. My flight with Air Europa was everything you’d expect from a cheap, low quality airline with drinks being offered only once on the 13 hour flight from Madrid to Argentina. On the plus side, I did have a tv screen of my own for the first flight of my travels so far.

It was a short but sweet trip back to Britain and makes me look forward to seeing everyone again in only 4 months time.

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