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Old 07-31-2002, 02:18 PM   #1
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Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: LGW
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LHR-MAN 25th July 2002 BD 586

LHR-MAN 25th July 2002 BD 586

My trip from London's Heathrow airport to Manchester didn't start too well. Initially, I had to get a train from Alton, my local station, to Woking, then take a 45 minute coach ride to the airport. I missed the 07:25 train by about 20 seconds, as I had to run up a flight of stairs and down a platform with my 15kg case. The train I caught left at 07:56. The train ride was uneventful to Woking, several stops, very busy due to the rush hour, but
uneventful.

At Woking, I sat and waited for the coach. The driver got off the coach to assist us with loading our luggage into it. There were a small group of about 15 of us waiting at this point. He called out each of the terminals in turn (they're quite far apart in the airport), assisting each passenger with their luggage. My plane was leaving from Terminal 1. I answered twice when he called out Terminal 1, yet he carried on. Once the final Terminal 4 person's luggage had been loaded on, I got a curt 'Why didn't you answer?' I replied, 'I answered twice, when you called Terminal 1, but you ignored me or something'. So he moved a few folks' bags backwards and loaded mine on.

The coach ride was uneventful, recent pop tunes played through the speakers for some of it until some irritating girl band came on the radio and the driver turned it off.

When we reached the airport, it occurred to me that I was a little pressed for time, so I made a beeline for the British Midland check-in area. Although I had ordered my ticket online, there was no e-service checkin as there is with British Airways (which is very cool, btw). I joined the queue with a sinking feeling. There were lots of us waiting and only three desks for domestic flights. Twenty minutes later, I was checked in and my case had a tag. I lamented the delay as I went in search of food.

I ended up at 'Brioche Doree', an outlet which sells baguettes and paninis. Looking through their menu, I noted that they have a baguette specifically called 'the vegetarian baguette' but no other vegetarian menu options. This baguette consists of cheese, tomato and lettuce leaves. It's very plain and boring! Still, it was reasonable for breakfast, I suppose.

The bird itself was a Boeing 737-400 with quite decent legroom for 18C in coach. The flight is short, (about an hour), with a small bag of nuts and a drink for sustenance. This is in contrast to BA who bring around sandwiches, chocolate etc. and a drink.

So begins a fortnight's stay in Manchester, which happens to coincide with the Commonwealth Games. On the first evening of my stay, I had a run-in with Basil (friendly guest house proprietor) for a) bringing in Chinese food b) being drunk, but not on his beer. Never mind.

On Saturday, I went up to Piccadilly, the centre of Manchester, where the BBC had thoughtfully erected a very large screen on which to watch the Games. I generally basked in the 85 degree heat, which is very uncommon in Manchester, lazed around in the park (quiet, compared to where the large BBC screen was) and strolled about. One of the highlights of the afternoon:- Pizza Hut upgraded my individual size pizza to medium at no cost, because they'd run out of dough.

Manchester's tram system is very good (fast and quiet). At weekends, they sell a ticket called the 'MetroMax' which allows you to go all over the city as you please for 2 (about $3). This is cool. It also saves you from embarrassing incidents with ticket conductors over unpaid fares. I got on the wrong tram and went halfway to the other side of the city before realizing!
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