Tuesday 1 December 2009

A Winter's Tale

The journey back by Cathay Pacific was quite uneventful. We asked for Muslim food and what we got was excellent-certainly streaks ahead of MAS. For over 10 years we travelled by MAS but the service got more and more shoddy. We tolerated that and the awful food but when they started upping their price we gave up on them and opted for Emirates and Cathay Pacific despite the transit at Dubai and Hong Kong respectively. There is after all a threshhold to loyalty.
I've said this once and I'll say it again. Arriving at Heathrow is like entering a skip (a builder's large metal container for carrying away construction work rubble). It's a long, long walk to Immigration. It might do you good after sitting for 13 hours but not when you're also carrying your hand luggage. I do feel sorry for the elderly and those travelling with children. As for the trolleys, I reckon they belong to the dinosaur period, from the era before Thatcher. You have to be agile on your feet to maneuver these tyrannosaurus-trolleys. And you need eyes at the back of your head in case these trolley-creatures go amok and snap at your legs from the rear.

As I now carry a Malaysian passport I had to sort out my SWS (Settled With Spouse) visa to return to my second home, my spouse's home. At the KL British High Commission we were informed that Heathrow Immigration will stamp my Visa when I get there. So I showed the Officer the Visa on the old Passport- there was no trouble at all. And when I asked if he could stamp that visa on my new Passport he said he could do that a few years ago but not now unless-thanks to Gordon Brown (his words)- I'm willing to part with £300. He (the Immigration Officer, not GB) was a nice friendly bloke and said this fee, like hot air (my words) will keep on going up and advised me I should just travel with 2 passports in tow.

We then proceeded to pick up our luggage and on to the Central Bus Station to catch the National Express for Leicester. Well, the payment machine was not in working order, the Lounge was like a wind tunnel and when we moved to the bus bay it was like standing in an open field in winter with the cold wind blowing on your neck and somehow managing to find its way up your trousers as well. I could kill myself for not wearing longjohns. At least I had fat on me to ward off some of the cold but it was terrible for my skinny kacang panjang spouse. And oh yes, the clock registered 12.30 on one side and the correct time (7.30) on the opposite side. PUDURAYA - you a have a rival here!

We got into the coach which was as warm as toast and settled down to a snooze for the next 3-hour journey. It was raining hard and it was obvious the driver did not like this kind of driving. We found out later that he had been on the road since 11pm the night before. It was morning peak hour on the the M25 which was often described as the biggest parking lot in Britain because of the constant traffic jam. We got to the M1 and half an hour later the driver had to make an unscheduled stop at Toddington Services because of a technical problem with the coach. That episode deserves a different posting.

So goodnight to all back home in Malaysia and Singapore.


Kak Teh said...

Ms Hamid and abang iain, welcome back to cold, wet, gloomy and windy england! so you carry two passports? i carry five. i just cant afford to pay that much money.

imsunnysideup said...

With all that 'pain'----I;m sure you're enjoying the change from the humid weather , your Animal Rescue , your walk to the City Centre and the super-fast inter-net connection ( as compared to our famous snail pace from TM Net...

anak si-hamid said...

Kak Teh,
I must be mad, but I love the cold and the wind but not the wet.It's wonderful to bundle up and go for long invigorating walks without sweating like a pig.
My e-mail was hacked into last week- can't bear to write about the frustration and chaos. I lost all my contacts- so could I please have your address?
You know I heard a rumour that Gordon Brown will not allow, in the future, anyone to carry more than 5 passports!

anak si-hamid said...

Yes sunnysideup,
On the coach, travelling through a wet and windy country-with green fields(some) and leaveless trees, we were thinking how you would love this weather - just like your Hull.
Yes , we've been twice to Animal Rescue but have not found any gems to buy.

Helas木村 said...

glad u r save arrived after all the tough Journey.. (^_^)

anak si-hamid said...

Thank you Helas,
How are you? We hope you're behaving yourself. Anytime you want a holiday in UK, come over and stay with us-free board and lodging.
But first you will have to clean our windows -minimum wage £5/hour?

Helas木村 said...

waah.. i'm fine here ash.. I hope u also OK there..

waah... i hope 1 day can visit u at UK.. I know its almost possible, but iwish 1 day.. hehe, not only ur windows.. i give package mop the floor plus the fan as well hehe

p/s izit u bro bday 3.12 or 4.12. abit confuse here hehe

Kama At-Tarawis said...

AsH and Iain, glad to know you both are back home in cold wet England. Hope to meet up with you again in the not too distant future...

anak si-hamid said...

Dear Kama,
How kind of you to pop in. We hope to be here for the next 3 months- just to keep cool and keep the house warm.
Hope you're both in good nick.

NanaDJ said...

I am sure you must be happy to be back in England again. Enjoy your stay and hope to see you both when you return - at another Bloggers' meet perhaps.

anak si-hamid said...

Dear NanaDJ
Yes, it's good to be back home. My heart is Malaysian but for 25 years and still to day, Leicester has been my home too.
And I do miss the cold and wet and windy weather.
Hope you are all well and insyallah we'll see you and Kama sometime when we get back.

ph said...

My dear AsH, since there's no fan in the house, you can get Helas to scrub the floor at back where the shed is.

Kak Teh said...

Ms Hamid, I received one email purportedly from you as well - i had earlier received one from a friend Australia - same message - clearly a scam. Anyway, I didnt want to use the same address to tell you that and I had also lost yr number .

No more five passports? Aiyaaaaaa!

imsunnysideup said...

Better still, get one of those rectangular mat , hang it from the ceiling , attach a rope to it and get helas to swing it ---wallah, and you get the fan----jusr like the maharajahs a long time ago. And Iain can wear a turban. mmmmmm.... AND i'll be there to photgraph the scene !!!

whats that helas ?.... you agree ?

Helas木村 said...

yup.. ur wish is my command... hehe.. make sure the rope i can reach, hehe