Wings over the Water

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Well, here I am sitting at a rather high altitude over our great nation. We’ve been airborne for about an hour now, and far below me is no doubt the roiling waters of the great Atlantic Ocean. It always amazes me what clever creatures we humans are. Conquering the skies with our mighty flying birds. I hadn’t intended to actually spend much time blogging on this first leg of our journey to Saudi Arabia, but what can I say? Circumstances have lead to this outcome. What circumstances? Well, mainly the fact that the onboard entertainment system is kaput. Yup, no fun movies to pass the time. Too bad. I was looking forward to watching Tropic Thunder, and probably Hellboy II or Christmas Vacation, that all-time classic holiday movie. I guess I can’t complain though. I’ve got my iPod and I’m rockin’ the Pink Floyd with my sound isolating earphones, so that I don’t have to listen to the myriad of crying babies on this red-eye flight to London. Jody seems rather oblivious beside me, having dozed off even before we left the ground! Good for her, she’ll be well refreshed when we touch down in the great city of London for our 24 hour layover. What? A layover? Weren’t we supposed to fly out Sunday and just stop for an hour and a half? Well, read on to find out what happened. Click here for pictures.

In case you hadn’t noticed recently, the weather in Ottawa has been pretty hit and miss. One moment, it looks like it’s time to bust out the water wings and bermuda shorts, and next you know the mercury is heading indoors to warm up! Add that to the random massive snow dumps, and you can quickly see why there was a little concern on our part. On the best of days, Heathrow Airport is a challenge. After all, it is amongst the world’s busiest airports. We had been slated to have an hour and a half layover, and in that time had to change terminals and re check-in. Any sort of delay on the Ottawa end would have certainly put that in jeopardy.

Cue the feel-good music here. Jody works at home, and thankfully, is always keeping an ear on the radio. Well, as it turned out, she heard some ads from Air Canada that said that if your flight might be impacted by upcoming weather, they would change your flights if possible at no charge. No charge?! Amazing. That somewhat restores some of my faith in the industry. Sunday was now looking like it would be a hairy day, with forecasts increasingly increasing the amount of snow that we’d be getting on Sunday. So Jody, like a good trooper, got on the blower (where does that term come from anyway?) with Air Canada. It took an hour and a half on hold, but eventually, she got through, and we were rebooked. Sort of. We had confirmation numbers, and it looked like we had seats, but they weren’t officially assigned to us. Cross our fingers.

This change of course lead to a few other things that had to be done. Namely, we’d be taking the dog to the kennel one day earlier, and we’d also have a complete day less to pack. Not great news considering I’d completely put that off. Luckily, I’m not really a stickler for packing, and just grabbed one of my big duffle bags and started shoving stuff in mesh bags. No biggie. The more important aspect of this was the 24 hour layover we’d have in London. We hadn’t changed our other flight, as our Visas for Saudi Arabia were very strictly written up as has as our arrival and departure dates. So, we’d be needing a hotel, and we’d have time to do some sightseeing, which is right up Jody’s alley, as she’s never been to London.

I hopped on Priceline, and with Bill Shatner’s awesome assistance, I bid on a 4 star hotel right in the middle of the city, and ended up getting accepted for an $80 price. With taxes and charges, it was a cool hundred bucks total. Pretty good considering that area was generally going for 220+! We’ll be staying in the Holiday Inn Mayfair, a stones throw from Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park, Green Park, Trafalgar Square, and the shopping of Bond Street. Not to mention we’d be about a hundred meters from the Green Park tube station, which is on the Picadilly Line, whisking us quickly between the airport and downtown proper! What could be better. No doubt Jody is now dreaming of that cold pint of beer in a British pub while she chows down on fish and chips. Personally, I’m hoping to find a nice hole in the wall curry spot.

After a nice day of sightseeing and pub hopping, we’ll be back on another flight, and bound for the sand dunes and the alcohol-free world of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. There are many adventures awaiting us once there, but I’ll save all of that for when we actually do them. Suffice it to say, I’ll do my best to blog diligently at least every day or two, and try to get the posts uploaded in good time. There may be some challenges, but I know I’m up for it 🙂 Pictures will be a bit tricky as well, since photography is not looked upon all that favourably in a lot of situations, but I’ll do my best.

I guess that’s about all I really need to say for now. After all, I’m just flying right now. How boring is that? I’ll write to let you all know how the 24 hours in London goes. Looks like their about to serve a meal here, so I’ll put away the little laptop for a while. Hope all is well, and keep checking back for more news from ActiveSteve and happy Jody. Bu-bye.

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