Tag Archives: Life

Jillian 10 – Worst Travel Experience (Again)

"It doesn't really fit into best or worst categories," Jillian said once when we were talking about her travel experiences. Still? Yes, I know, but they are always interesting.

"There was once in Glasgow quite a few years ago, when I was staying with a friend of my mother's. It had been a long and harrowing journey from London's Euston station to Glasgow Central on the fast train. Can't remember what it's called. Perhaps The Flying Scotsman” she said. (Editor note: I think it was called Inter-City).

"Anyway. It was one of the new fully electric trains that had just introduced and it travelled, I think, at about 110 mph most of the way. It whipped through the stations like a tornado - the carriage rocked quite violently it seemed, and the noise of the wheels and the sound of the wind reflected back from the station buildings were very frightening. I wondered what would happen if we rocked so far that the platform or the roof would make contact with us and cause a catastrophic crash. Of course it hadn't happened so far and probably would never happen, but it was hellish scary."

"The trip took 5 hours but it seemed like forever." she said.

I sensed this was not the story. I was right.

"When I arrived, it was really embarrassing," she went on. "I was so exhausted, and it was getting latish, I could tell by all the half hidden yawns.”

“I think it was about 9.00 pm,” (she explained as an aside), “so I let them know I was ready for bed.”

A few friendly 'getting to know you' things happened. Including questions about what time I wanted to begin my exploring of Bearsden where they lived, and Glasgow in general, and what I wanted for breakfast.

BearsdenBearsden Coat of Arms lies on the northwestern fringe of Greater Glasgow, approximately 6 miles (10 km) from the City Centre, and is effectively a suburb, with housing development coinciding with the introduction of a railway line in 1863, and from where the town gets its name (Bearsden station was named after a nearby cottage). Wikipedia.

I said that since I was only going to be a few days I'd like to start quite early about 9.00am. And I mentioned that I thought a quick trip to Edinburgh might be a good idea. Shock horror, “That is so far away - on the other side of the country.” they said in unison, looking at me as if I had two heads. (It is actually about 60 miles or 70 km - just over an hour's journey by car and probably not much different by train). I gave that idea away. Pity, it would have been nice. But I didn't want to upset the hosts.

Next was the breakfast question. Easy answer.

"This," Jillian then said, "is where it became truly weird. I am in Scotland, right? Haggis and porridge? Yes? So not wanting to be a nuisance I said I'd just have porridge. I assumed that was the national breakfast.”

"MISTAKE. Big mistake.”

“I noticed a bit of activity outside the bedroom window as I crawled unwillingly from the warm bed on the rainy, cold morning that followed. My mother’s friend's husband (she couldn't remember names so this is a bit cryptic) was just pushing his bike back into the small lean-to thingy next to the very small and narrow cottage sort of structure in which they lived. See what I did there? Winston Churchill would be proud.

“They had NEVER eaten porridge, and, so as not to disappoint me, he had popped out to the early opening corner store to get some. Needless to say I was mortified.”

“And they didn't know how to make it either. It was horrible. But as I'd asked for it, I had to pretend I enjoyed it."

#ourjillian

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Jillian 9a – Worst Travel Experience … continued

For the start of these episodes go to http://career-change-strategies.com.au/jillian-1-meet-my-friend/

Wellington Airport.

Waiting at the antiquated and squealing, jerking baggage carousel. Finally it stopped. Nothing for Jillian.

Okaaaay.

What now?

It was then that it hit our friend Jillian. SHE HAD NOTHING. Her business clothes, fresh undies, toiletries, make-up, hair-brush the paperwork and stuff for her meetings, proper handbag - all was in that luggage. That luggage which she no longer appeared to be in possession of. I know, Churchill would not like that hanging preposition but bugger it - Jillian has lost her bag for God's sake.

Panic. She ran around frantically looking for someone, anyone to help her. Signs that existed were in English and Maori, but nothing appeared to help her figure out what to do.

Finally as she was close to breaking down here alone in Wellington, NZ on this fateful evening without anything, she began to cry. But she quickly decided that this was NOT the way for a business woman to act. With tears still clinging resolutely to her eyes she finally slowed down, and found a counter that was the most likely hiding place of those whose job it was to trace lost luggage.

"Nah. wasn't on the plane, Luv." said the helpful chap after asking someone on the other end of the old fashioned phone/intercom system, the same question phrased at least 4 different ways. Talk about the bleedin' obvious.

"So what do I do?" Jillian asked. "When is it likely to get here? What happens in the meantime?

"Dunno, Luv," he explained. Pause!

Obviously the answer to all 3 questions.

Jillian filled out a form. He had finally offered, "We'd better do a form, Miss"

He gave her a voucher for some airline stuff, soap tooth brush and the like - shit, yeah, she remembered that's in the bag too. Of course – it would be.

Then he added the clincher, "Since its after 5.00pm the airline counter is closed and you won't be able to redeem this until tomorrow. Sorry!"

“Sorry 'bout that.” he repeated unhelpfully.

“Shit, Shit. Shit.” Just another example of her shitty life, she thought. “Why doesn't stuff go right – just once would be OK? OK?”

Bet this wouldn't be happening to her boss Jack, she thought. Not bloody likely. “Why is it always me?” she wailed to herself.

Nothing open at the airport. Ironic isn't it. If she had know there was going to be no baggage as soon as she landed; shops would have been open and emergency supplies could have been obtained. Easily.

Outside, feeling completely naked with only her small clutch purse, an emergency touch-up lipstick and a credit card.

A taxi. Yep. That's the next step. Thinking. Thinking!

N.Z. still closes down in the evenings. The motel she was booked into was up in Lower Hutt. Quite  distance away.

Let's go.

Big mistake. The motel was staffed by a large bored woman with no interest in anything but the latest episode of “Close to Home”.

No emergency supplies. No help. No luck. Bad Day? No shit!

By this time the taxi had roared off.

“Was that a petrol station we passed just before the motel?” Jillian thought.

A short walk – thankful for small mercies – and YES a service station.

And finally a bit of luck. A small washing line and pegs. A traveller pack of soap, toothpaste, toothbrush and even some deodorant. Not much else. But how good is it to have something?

Back in the room taking stock.

A quick, but horrendously expensive international phone call later, Jillian had managed to let her boss know what had happened and asked if he could fax some brochures, prices and anything else he might be able to lay his hands on, that might be a help. He said he could. Another small win.

Freezing. Naked and attempting to wash her smalls with the bar of soap Jillian wondered if it could possibly get worse.

It could. And did.

Nothing was dry in the morning and as the soap had not been rinsed out thoroughly, the undies were wet, cold, stiff and VERY uncomfortable. It was cold and windy, no surprise, and she looked and felt utterly ridiculous in her summery Melbourne costume. And COSTUME was really the word. She felt like a clown.

There was something for her at reception, not the least of which was the staff and other  guests laughing at this amazingly stupid Australian woman in the green and gold.

Taxi to the office of the older, straight laced MD of the company considering doing business with an unknown Australian firm for the first time. One with a YOUNG female sales rep. What are they thinking?

Short ride. Reading through the info supplied, Jillian found it was extremely limited. No company info, hers or the prospects. “Guess we trust to memory”, she thought. Very basic, black and white brochure and a price list.

Great. “I wish I was dead!” she lamented to herself.

Well it turned out to be an OK meeting. They seemed to understand her predicament. Laughed, but she was beginning to expect that. She was so cold, thinking and speaking was a chore, but it was finally over.

The journey home in the big metal tube in the sky was as uneventful as it could be under the the circumstances, and the credit card took a BIG hit. The Big Sky Mall.

Booze, (Scotch, Gin and Red Wine), promotional rubbish including a jacket to cover the summer gear and a watch and camera she didn't need but the retail therapy helped. Yes it did. Pity there were no shoes.

Well probably a good thing there were no shoes.

The next day; back home. In her own apartment. Properly clothed, a little less mortified, and with a developing hangover, Jillian phoned her boss.

An order had been faxed through during the night and even though it was a small one, it made our Jillian smile. Maybe the chafed bits were worth it after-all.

That was about it, though, for orders from this company, and it kind of put an end to Jillian travelling for the rest of her time with this employer. Unfair. But that's the way it goes for a woman in a man's world.

As the ticket and accommodation had been purchased using her Amex card, Jillian was able to claim for all the lost stuff. Suitcase and all. A nice little win she thought. Bought some new clothes with the money. Sweet, Bro.

3 months later, her very badly battered bags arrived home. They had been to Hawaii and Los Angeles. Lucky them. “Even my bags have a better life than me.”

#ourjillian

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