Scotland Pt. 5, AKA England Pt. 1

What up world, time to get off your tenterhooks because the update to the Scotland travel saga is HERE, along with the answers to all your burning questions.  Will we turn our trip around and start actually doing things?  Will Rich get more souvenirs?  Will my sweater continue to cost $400?  Stay tuned to find out!  If you can handle it, you fuckin’ pussy.

Getting up Saturday, it was time to say goodbye to Scotland.  Laura had to work a night shift that night at her shitty news job in London, so we were going to relocate to L-don and enjoy half of Saturday, Sunday, and half of Monday in Great Britain’s biggest (and only) city.

The plan was simple enough – catch a bus from Glasgow back to Edinburgh, then a train from there to London.  It was about a 5 hour train ride, and our bus left at 12, so that would put us in London by 6 or 7, enough time to grab dinner with some other college friends, and then for me and Rich to finally ditch Laura and party with just us boys!!

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Not pictured: dead weight

We started off great.  Out of nothing more than pure laziness, we missed the first bus to Edinburgh, and had to catch a bus that got us there like, 5 minutes before our train left.  This nicely ratcheted the day from leisurely travel to mega-stressful, before we’d even had breakfast.  When we got to the bus station, there was a big line already forming for the bus to Edinburgh, long enough that where we weren’t sure we’d make it on (it was a first-come, first-served situation – I was all too ready to be done with this kind of lawless savagery that permeated this country).

Laura, ever resourceful, took it upon herself to spout a sob story to the people at the front of the line in order to allow us to cut some 60 travelers.  Laura inexplicably told them we had a flight to London we might miss, because I guess the actual reason of having a train to London we might miss just wasn’t compelling enough.  Rich and I stood there, wholly uncomfortable with the amorality of it all, but going along with it.  Like Nazis.

So we spent a very stressful, breakfast-less 1 hour bus ride to Edinburgh wondering if we were going to make our train.  Also, because Rich and I had waited to buy our train tickets, the only ones remaining were first class, so we had to spent 80 Euros ($100 in real money), as opposed to the like, 40 Euros we’d been promised.  So it was more expensive than our flight from London had been.

Then about 15 minutes before our bus got there, we learned our train had been canceled.

We had about 1.5 hours until the next train, so we grabbed some shitty fish and chips and, of course, a few beers.  Then we headed to the train station, where we learned that the train was delayed!  Great!

We grabbed a few more beers and sat around waiting for an indeterminate amount of time, passing the time by drinking in secret.

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No beers in sight.  Take notes, nerds

The train finally arrived a fucking hour later, by which time masses of irate Brits and Scots had arrived.

We get on, and we’re on this packed-ass standing room only train, and after 30 minutes the conductor comes on to tell us there’s some bullshit line work up ahead, and now this train would be additionally delayed by anywhere between 30 minutes and TWO HOURS.  We had a connecting train to catch with about 20 minutes of wiggle room, and there was no train to London after it tonight.

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Need I remind you I had a FIRST-CLASS ticket

So at this point, we started to come to grips with the fact that we were, in all likelihood, not making it to London tonight, and would be spending the night in some random-ass podunk Scotland town, likely getting hammered and playing charades.

The stuffy fart-tube finally arrived at some station a couple of hours later at a station called Lockerbie, where there was the possibility of a transfer to London, though it was all somehow very vague and uncertain, despite ostensibly up-to-date schedules at our fingertips.  Everyone on the train was also headed to London, and nobody knew what was going on.  Everyone got off, and then the conductor yelled out the window “Oy! If you want to go to London,  get back on this train and transfer at the next stop.”  About half the people got back on, and the rest, including us – fucking rebels – decided we knew better, and stayed.

The train pulls out, and there’s this strange moment in which we and a handful of strangers realize that we’re all stranded together in the middle of nowhere, in the cold, as dark is setting in, banking on the very uncertain possibility of a train to London.

After about 10 minutes of waiting, this stout-ass train station employee comes and tells us all that the next train coming through would be going to London.

The train approached, and everyone grabbed their bags.  The train approaches, doesn’t slow down, and blows right the fuck by.   And the fucking stout train lady was nowhere to be seen.

So now we’re all starting to feel pretty royally fucked.  But there’s really nothing for us to do except keep waiting.  I honestly have no idea how there was this much uncertainty; I blame either Laura for not figuring it out, or Scotland at large for not having its shit together.  Probably the guy who was supposed to make the mobile train page was stuffing his face with a deep-fried pizza at the time, and his greasy fingers slipped all over the screen until he gave up.

After another 30 minutes, another train pulls in and we all wait with baited breath, watching until we see the sign saying the destination: LONDON! Woooo!!!! SUCK it dickhead train conductor, you don’t know fuck-all about what trains are doing what!  Shut up and drive the train, dipshit, leave the routing to the people with brains!

Our luck was changing fast.  This train wasn’t packed, so first class seats were actually available for me and Rich.  Finally, we would be traveling at the level of comfort to which we were accustomed.  Laura, dirty little liar that she is, sweet-talked the hapless ticket man while he punched her fare, successfully keeping him from realizing that she was nothing more than a low-class pauper, stowing away with Rich and me.

We also learned that the railway policy was to refund any tickets that had been delayed by over 1.5 hours.  So those 80 Euro first class tickets?  100% free, baby!

So now it was time to kick back and enjoy 3 hours of true first class travel to London, complete with 2 free coffees and a shitty ham roll!  Our day had really turned around.  Even though we would now be getting to our destination about 6 hours later than anticipated.

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Now this is a vacation

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Portrait of a first-class gentleman

The train ride ended up being really fun, because we were all so relieved and in general disbelief at the roller coaster of travel issues we’d had that day.  Really full of highs and lows, but all ended up ok, with us pounding brews and ham rolls, secure in the knowledge that we were traveling in first class like we deserved.  It was just like a Disney movie.

We pulled into London around 11 pm, and then took a the London Underground about an hour to the shitty part of town that Laura lived in.  It was another 20 minute walk from the subway station to Laura’s “flat” (Brits and their wacky vernacular), so instead of hitting the town like we thought we would, we just watched tv and went to bed.

Another successful day traveling the world!

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