9:36 AM, 9-2-06
So I’m in Paris.
I left Edinburgh shortly after writing my last lengthy entry. I had been ambivalent as to whether I wanted to do a Highlands tour of Scotland, head to Amsterdam as originally planned, or go to Paris. Paris, at the time, seemed the least likely of options. After spending some time online researching my options, though, I found that the 16 hour ferry ride from Newcastle to Amsterdam was expensive, as was the highlands tour. The highlands tour also wouldn’t have left for another two days, pushing my schedule back and threatening to keep me from seeing all the other places I wanted to. I decided to check out Ryanair, this European airline that everyone kept talking about. I’d heard consistently how Ryanair had these flights for ninety-nine cents; it did, but only on specific destinations and if you booked two weeks in advanced. The flights were still cheap though, so I booked one out of Glasgow going to Paris.
I finished up in Edinburgh and caught a bus back to Glasgow. I’d passed through Glasgow briefly on my way to Edinburgh, but I didn’t end up staying. I’d had some interest in seeing the city, but Edinburgh was my priority. My flight, most dreadfully, was at 6:45 in the morning, so I had some time to kill. I decided not to bother with a hostel, as I didn’t really want to pay twenty euros just to sleep on a bed for four hours. The last bus to the airport left at midnight, so I had roughly seven hours to kill, and kill them I did. I wandered around the city of Glasgow aimlessly. The city was a sort of Victorian metropolitan, for lack of any better descriptor. It was a much busier city than Edinburgh, full of businessmen and women in suits and sheik clothing. People were not so friendly as in Edinburgh; I suppose the city felt sort of like a smaller form of London.
The main thing I wanted to see in Glasgow was “the Necropolis,” a huge graveyard perched on a hill overlooking their main cathedral. It was definitely a good choice to go at sunset. As the sun sunk downward, it stretched the shadows of the graves and monuments long, giving the place an eerie, hollowed feeling. There were some pretty amazing tombs and crypts, though perhaps not so amazing as I expected. I took a lot of pictures, but decided not to stay much past sunset as there were some indications that a lot of vagrants hung around there at night. I headed back into the city to get some food.
Yet still I had time to kill. For lack of anything better to do in the later evening hours, I went to a movie, A Scanner Darkly. The movie was all right, considering it starred the expressionless Keaneu Reeves with co-stars ex-drug addict Robert Downey Junior and cleptomaniac Winoa Ryder. What a team.
Here’s where things get interesting. So I got to the bus station in time to catch the last bus to the airport—or so I thought. Only I’d neglected one very important factor—the bus went to the wrong airport. Fortunately I mentioned to the very obliging bus driver that I was flying on Ryanair. He realized that Ryanair didn’t fly out of the Galway Airport, but instead out of the Galway Prestwick Airport. Oops. I was like, “okay, I’ll just get a cab.” He told me that would be ohhh, about 50 pounds. Awesome. So this airport was like an hour away by bus or train. Quickly, we checked the train schedule and found that the last train until 6AM was leaving in fifteen minutes. The bus driver offered to take me, as I wouldn’t have made it any other way. Much obliged, I got to the train station just in time to catch the train and head out to the airport.
And what a sad little airport it was. It had like, 3 terminals, and I’m not sure whether there were even any other airlines flying out of there besides Ryanair. I had a long wait ahead of me, nearly six hours, so I settled in on a bench, determined to get what sleep I could, which consisted of about two hours. I woke up earlier than I wanted I begrudgingly decided to check in and head to the terminal to get some much-needed food and more-needed coffee.
To say Ryanair is a bit dodgy, would be fair. I mean, it’s obviously low budget, but the planes were a bit suspect. Like the Spruce Goose was made entirely of wood, the Ryanair planes seemed to be made completely of plastic. The seats didn’t recline (a problem, as I really needed to sleep) and were made of plastic (except for the cushions, thank god). And then there was the plane landing. So I’d been kind of in and out of sleep throughout the whole plane flight, making the 2 hours flight pass in just minutes. I made the mistake of falling asleep just before landing though, and for a brief instant, was convinced I was going to die. The plane hit the runway hard and fast, and I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen a plane breaking so hard. When I got the chance to look out at the runway ahead, it extended ohh, another 300 or 400 yards—a long way, except when you’re going 80 miles/hour. I survived, however, as you can see.