There's a celebrity, get me out of here!
Trip Start Nov 08, 2003
74Trip End Oct 22, 2004
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Well here goes, finally got round to putting fingers to keyboard.
It's 5.35pm GMT and we're 4 hours into the flight from Frankfurt to Mumbai (that's Bombay in cockney).
We transferred from the Heathrow-Frankfurt plane, which left an hour late due to technical problems (which is the last thing you want to hear before getting on a Jumbo).
We've had two mini-bottles of fake champagne, a few glasses of cheap German plonk and a vegetarian curry in our Delhi bellies which is probably the best in-flight meal we've ever had, in battery hen conditions, due to the three 130-year-old Indian ladies in front of us who reclined their seats horizonally as soon as the plane left the ground, bless
Already had a chat with the French bloke across the channel (aisle) about Apple Macs, will I ever escape work?
End of 'The Italian Job' cut short due to miscalculation by stewardesses (thank god, what a load).
It's been a funny old week, lotsa farewells, lotsa shopping, lotsa packing and lotsa celebs.
Highlights/Lowlights of the week of Gaz:
Friday night in Walkabout: Big shout going out to all those who made it, aaaieeeee. Thanks for the card and cashola - nice Photoshop work (boy did I look rough on that card, I need a year off . . . doh . . . and nice footwork Ben, lovin ya moves.
Saturday night in Casa Carey: Thanks for the Xmas dins (yes you heard correctly), superb cake and equally superb cheroot of banknotes
Monday in Bluewater (boy do I love walking around the biggest shopping centre in Europe for 7 hours): Got lost on the way - and we're travelling round the world! First Z-list celeb spotted trying on glasses in specs shop - Karl Howman - Brush Strokes (Hallo Jacko) and Flash adverts.
Wednesday AM in the Smoke: Second C-List celeb spotted strolling down the Strand - Ben Miles (who?) - think: Forsyth Saga (drunk gambler), Coupling, Cold Feet (Internet millionaire who cops off with Faye Ripley) and Prime Suspect due on a TV set near you this week.
Bought nice pair of trekking/running shoes which will no doubt ponk of camel's nards in a weeks time.
Wednesday night with the White clan: The Last English Supper, Shepherds/Cottage pie (sorry, Helles Belles, forgot), certainly the best Shepage pie I've ever stuffed down my gullet
Thursday night back with the Hairy Careys: Fajitas microwaved to perfection by the fair hands of Brenella Lawson, followed by a mini Office-fest, how are we gonna survive without the Brentmeister General for a year?
Friday with the Gaz-family round Café Avery, the fantastic new coffee shop in West Wickham (cheap plug).
Highlights/lowlights for our final week in the UK by Sophie:
Mine's going to sound quite normal compared to Gary's - he's taking this writing mullarky quite seriously, I think he thinks he's the next Tim Moore. Anyway, what can I say, it was a real mixture of highs and lows in our last week. Finishing work was such a milestone, knowing we only had a week to go - if anybody sees this from work, thanks so much for my send off
It was hard to get really excited about the trip, knowing how upsetting it was going to be saying my goodbyes to all my family, and the thought of not going to see them for a year. Conor, Finn and Gabriel will have changed so much - I hope they are not going to forget their Auntie Sophie. Gary will be doing the travelogue mostly with my additions here and there - I will be sending regular emails to everyone letting you all know what we are doing and how we are feeling (probably homesick). Please, please send us updates on what you are all up to with some pictures would be great. I'll let the budding writer carry on where he left off........... Speak to you all soon.
Love you lots
Just about got the rucsacs zipped up on Friday afternoon. The hundreds of pounds spent on useless travel accessories (that we'll never use) nearly the broke the camel's back and very nearly ours.
And finally ending with a 3-hour journey from Hell, to Heathrow on Friday night, which matched 'Trains, Planes & Automobiles' for action. Culminating in getting lost in deepest darkest Hounslow (are we really gonna circumnavigate the globe?)
Respec an ting to Brandonski for the taking the banger car back.
Saturday morning at Heathrow, and yet more celebs, A/B List this time. Who was on our flight to Frankfurt? Only Damon Albarn and the whole Blur entourage. Noticed Alex James first, and didn't twig on at first - just thought - who's that scruffy looking oik.
Took a sneaky picture of Damon (first-name terms), but it came out blurred (getit).
Arrived Mumbai an hour late at 2.30am local time, eating nothing but vegetarian indian the whole time (which we may live to regret as you read on).
Thus beginneth carnage.
One and three-quarter hours to get through 38 security checks and a bogded baggage claim. Last off the plane, we were last in the visa/passport queue, which meant we were last at the carousel/knee-capping contraption and so we didn't see the kind person who had taken our bags off already and plonked them down in a quiet corner of the airport! So there we were waiting for 20 minutes for bags that were never going to appear, until an airport worker pointed it out to us - I could have kissed him . . . or chinned him come to think of it.
Next, 800 people had to put their baggage through 2 x-ray checks. 800 into 2 doesn't go unless you're a porn actress, and the ensuing scrum would have had Martin Johnson running for an early bath. Why do a baggage check leaving the airport - bit late now?
What seemed like a lifetime went, and we already wanted to get back on the plane and back to ol' blighty.
Outside we thought it couldn't be that busy, 3.45am and everyone would be tucked up in bed, or bopping to bangra down the local Empire.
48,000 chauffeurs, minibus drivers and taxis (am I exaggerating again?) all after making a quick Rupee, holding up name boards, most of them genuine, but I'm sure I saw Lord Lucan's name.
Out the corner of my eye I saw him, 4ft 8 of rippling muscles, our man. The bag that I had been dragging along this sacred land was immediately hoisted in one clean and jerk onto the top of his head, good work fella.
Bundled into the back of the Midland Hotel's van, we were Posh & Becks for a minute, hunted by papparazzi in our minds, but niggled by a little beggar-boy in reality.
Off we sped, Wacky Races style, and we nearly caught the pigeon, pipped at the post by DcDastardly and Mutley.
Arrived at the hotel. Outside a man was tucked up for the night on the bonnet of his car.
On bursting through our hotel rooms' door at 4am, we crashed out for the count, mmmmm 6 hours sleep.
I'm sure the forthcoming travelogues will be more condensed as we learn the art of writing less words for what we are trying to describe.
Footnote: Please note this first travelogue has been mostly written by Gaz and does not wholly reflect the views of Soph, who will be beginning her travel-writing career in the coming weeks, and so will probably not contain any immature phrases or made up words usually associated with me.