October 1st, we left San Diego on the Boeing 777-3, the airline's newest and best aircraft for London. A 10 1/2 hour flight was very boring but the personal monitor with your choice of movies, news or real-time aircraft information helped pass the time. Flying at around 500 mph at 39,000 feet we made our way in an arc from San Diego to London passing over Canada, Greenland, Iceland. Daybreak brought the Irish coast into view through the clouds. It was simply a patchwork of land-plots, all very green. We continued on to London where we debarked and made our hurried way to the next flight to Glasgow, Scotland on a 737.
All of England from air was similar to Ireland, patchwork plots of land, none having a 90 degree angle to them, all very irregularly shaped. Probably a battle fought over each and every one of them, akin to the Hatfield and McCoy's.. "Ahh, we fought all night, lost two people, but gained 25 feet in the north part of the farm, alas loosing 15 in the east.". I don't think they have invented the T-square over there yet. All curves.
Ground shot between London and Glasgow, 19000 feet.
Landing in Glasgow we made our way with 4 checked bags and 2 carryon to Del and Jenny's car.
Finding the trunk smaller than our largest suitcase, we proceeded to cram it all in, on top of us, strapped to the roof and towing one bag on it's wheels with a piece of rope. We drove through Glasgow, not seeing anything because of the suitcases on our laps, however, Glasgow was described as a slum by Del and not worth seeing anyway.
We arrived in the small town of Bo'ness situated on the Firth of Forth (Fancy Scottish for a crack in the land where the sea rushes up to meet a river, the River Forth). We saw the BP refinery on the way in, the largest refinery in all of Europe and one of the primary pre-targeted locations by the Russians during the cold war.
We were shown to our room in the upstairs, with a wonderful view of the Firth. only a few hundred yards to the north. That day I went to downtown Bo'ness, population 19,000, to exchange some traveler's checks for pounds. Del showed me the police station, which by the way, closes at 7p.m. and the cops go home. I got my money, noting the absence of any note smaller than 5 pounds (about 7.50$us) They use coins exclusively for less than 5 pounds. The 1 and 2 pound coins are rather handy. You can easily have $20US in coin in your pocket. For dinner we went up to the Paki shop (Paki is an affectionate term for any business operated by mid-easterners). I chose to try the (in)famous Scottish dish of Haggis. I'm not quite sure of all the details, but am told it's sheep organs (heart, liver, kidney, etc) ground up like hamburger and stuffed into the sheep's stomach and fried. It was pretty tasty. Kymm only took one bite, proclaiming it "good" but not eating any more. Haha.
Several technical notes observed on the first day.
1. They drive on the wrong side of the road
2. They only rarely have traffic lights, all intersections handled by 'roundabouts'. Almost all intersections come to roundabouts where traffic enters the circle and goes to the desired offshoot. It all works really well and the net result is no goddamn traffic. There's none of the sitting in traffic around there. When you start your trip, you continually move until you arrive at your destination. Exception, in the big cities, where they've discovered lights.
3. The traffic lights flash yellow after the red to warn you it's going green! Del says this is because almost all cars are manual and it gives you notice to get the car in to gear. No one runs yellow lights after green over there and no one stops for pedestrians.