More than a year has gone by since I last posted but this wasn’t due to a lack of travel. I can’t really narrow in on a particular reason…suffice it to say that sometimes life in general just gets in the way of things sometimes. Work, renovations, work, births, work, deaths, general malaise, and…work. I’m not complaining. Well, actually, I am but work does provide the means to travel so I really shouldn’t dis it!
|Honorata, Andrea and me eating street food in Shanghai.|
|Best Meal in Shanghai|
I’m now going back and doing the last year and a bit in review just to catch up before the next big trip to Peru this coming March.
So, after finishing my stint in Gaoyou I spent some time in Shanghai with a two of my favourite fellow teachers and then headed off to Scotland to meet up with my daughters to celebrate my fiftieth. Not being a huge fan of birthday celebrations I didn’t want to burden anyone with the
obligation of having to throw a party just because I had managed to reach the half-century mark. Since I hadn’t actually done anything noteworthy in order to reach that milestone, besides avoiding death I suppose, it seemed rather undeserving to be the centre of attention on the big day. My plan, therefore, was to not actually be in the country in which I reside on the auspicious occasion but to arrange my travel plans so that I could indulge in a low key affair in my home away from home, Prestwick. My darling offspring decided that since I was absenting myself they would just need to crash my party wherever it was. They had booked flights to Dublin where they would spend a weekend and then fly over to Prestwick via RyanAir to join me for five whirlwind days of exploring Scotland.
|First Class Air Qatar|
|Apple Computer Terminal Doha|
I originally looked at booking Air Malaysia for my flight from Shanghai to Scotland for a ridiculously low cost. Being the ultra thrifty, some might say “cheap” traveller that I am the temptation was great. But since this low cost was actually a response to the recent tragedies that befell that airline I opted to treat myself to a flight with Air Qatar. Loads of legroom, awesome food and extraordinary service! By far this has been my most comfortable and luxurious flight to date. The stopover in Doha was also one of the best. The airport was spotlessly clean and boasted amazing shops, restaurants and an Apple based computer complex open to all travellers. I did have to fly into Edinburgh and make my way to Prestwick via bus and then train but as usual I had no trouble with travel within Scotland. I arrived in Prestwick a day before the kids so I had a chance to rest up before they arrived.
Now I love my kids more than I can say and I was really thrilled to have them joining me so I could show them a bit of Scotland. Shelby had already been to Scotland on a few occasions but this was going to be a first for Sasha and her partner Bobby. Being used to travelling on my own, however, I knew I was going to need to make a few adjustments. The first omen of impending difficulties occurred before I even left China when I received the first of many texts and Face-time calls from Shelby telling me that Sasha was threatening to not even go to the airport. Sasha is an amazing person but can become rather stressed at times and apparently deadlines at work and Bobby getting a jump start on vacation imbibing had put her in a bit of a state. Shelby, being the trooper she is, managed to get both travel companions to the Toronto airport, feed her hypoglycaemic sister, and keep Bobby amused enough to get them both on board the flight to Dublin. From all accounts they had a great time in Dublin checking out numerous pubs and managed to make it to Scotland.
Karen and I were looking out the front room window and happened to see a trio of wayward travellers lugging huge suitcases (for a one week stay) down the adjoining street. Apparently I had told them St. Cuthbert’s Street instead of Road so they were wandering around the neighbourhood knocking on random doors looking for the Browns!
We all settled in for a nice chat and catch-up.