I’m in BD Fugue Cafe in Lille sipping cafe au Lait and fromage + jambon “sandwich”.
BD Fugue Cafe is part manga euro comic store and part cafe. No Uncanny X-Men on the top floor (they’re downstairs in the comics section), but a wonderful range of hard and soft cover graphic novels, manga and collectables.
The walls of the cafe are covered with prints from some of the best European comic artists (or should that be artistes?). A wonderful vibe and good coffee. I believe there are stores scattered around France.
I was booked on a RyanAir flight from Gatwick to Cologne. That cost Â£69.00 GBP including taxe, so it’s a great deal.
Unfortunately, Gatwick airport is run like a British train terminal. I asked the RyanAir passenger wrangler if this was normal and she said they were short staffed. However the basic logistics of the airport are doomed, the heightened security process makes it worse. Also I am sure the counter staff check-in the fewest people per hour of any airline I’ve travelled with.
I’m flying out of London Gatwick to Cologne Germany. My UK friends tell me to avoid Heathrow at all costs at the moment, the security is a nightmare. We’ll see how Gatwick is.
The best way to get to the airport is the Gatwick Express from Victoria Station, so I caught a cab, I could have caught the underground but I don’t want to navigate the tube with a big wheelie bag and a sore foot.
The strangest thing about the experience is the deja vu of traversing Victoria Station. I arrived in London yesterday at London Euston station. I’m leaving at Victoria station. The shops are identical fast food chains and I’m almost sure they are laid out in the same order.
I’m staying at the Grange City Hotel where I got a great deal, £85.00 for a five star room. I’m right next to Trinity House and a block from the Tower of London. For Sim’s review of broadband internet in hotels, I was disappointed to find their wifi service was expensive. So I didn’t bother connecting. It was actually more expensive than T-Mobile UK service which is available in most train stations and airports.
I have a blister on my foot from wandering the streets of London for 3 hours last night. I went out to look for an interesting place to eat. It started very promising, there was a 007 party at the Billingsgate Fish Market building. I crossed the Thames at London Bridge and passed many drunken and smokey pubs filled with Friday night drinkers. However two hours later I had not found a place that interesting and inviting enough to dine alone in.
I caught a VirginTrain from Manchester to London. Technically it was from Stockport four miles out of Manchester. The trick for booking these fares online is you can’t book the day of your travel with any reliability. The phone support people said I could, but the ticket counter guy said I couldn’t.
Anyway I paid GBP 28.00 to travel first class from Manchester to London. The published fare is over 150.00. See Virgin Trains.
Beware that a ticket that heavily discounted has no refunds, so don’t miss the train. The guy selling me a coffee on the station was so chatty I almost missed the train.
I’m writing this from Dubai Internation Airport. They’ve introduced a free wireless internet hotspot. There is a Globallink internet business centre here as well as a Samsung kiosk. The Samsung kiosk has a line of Nigerians waiting to use it, so I don’t know how long the wait is.
Despite being a modern airport, there are not enough seats. The gate lounge to my flight in 55 minutes is still not open. People are asleep on the floor and seats everywhere. The heavily tatooed english guy on the floor next to me just woke up, very confused. Travelling will do that to you.
I wish I had time to actually visit Dubai for a while. Friends have told me it’s a great place.
I wrote beforethat Samsung privides free internet kiosks at Sydney International Airport. Unfortunately in a sign of the times, all the free kiosks are spyware infected tonight. So infected that none of them are operational.
Firstly it’s foolish to run an unattended public internet accessable kiosk on Windows XP. I don’t know how often these PC’s are rebuilt I’d hope overnight. I’ll check them on the way back in Sydney.
Secondly it again reminds me to be paranoid about the sites I access from a public computer. No password enabled sites, no banking, ebay, paypal or any site that can be attractive to a bad guy. Even accessing webmail from one of these devices is risky if it’s your primary email address.
Many people don’t realise that you can dial US Toll free numbers (800) from overseas. The calls aren’t toll free, but with calling cards at about 1 cent per minute it’s cheaper than most local calls.
In Australia, dial your calling card access code, enter your pin, then dial the international access code + US country code (1) + area code (800) + number
e.g. calling card access number + pin + 0011 + 1 + 800 + rest of number.
Alternatively if you have free international minutes on your mobile/cell service you can dial
+1 800 GOT JUNK will get you the North American call centre of 1800-Got-Junk