I'm writing from an internet cafe in Aberdeen, waiting for our accommodation to become available. Weirdly (or not), I am the first person here. Some dramas have occurred to Team Edinburgh and they won't be coming up until later.
Meanwhile, I can finally bring myself to describe my partially hellacious (not really) trip through Her Majesty's immigration service.
Leaving Auckland was okay. I didn't get to see a couple of important people, but I had a fabulous family dinner (in honour of my grandmother's 90th birthday) and got to see most of my relatives. A couple of half-arsed going away things allowed me to see a bunch of friends, too, which is always nice.
My dad and brother took me to the airport, and then began the journey. A 11.5 hour flight to Seoul (which involved reading half of Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows and watching some random rom-com/coming of age movie starring Adam Brody and Meg Ryan), a stay at the Hyatt, and another 11 hour flight to London (no reading, but movies galore: Sione's Wedding, Ghost Rider, Children of Men, Shooter, Because I Said So, Disturbia. I love plane films; I get to see all the movies I kind of wanted to see but didn't want to pay for).
Upon arrival at Heathrow, I got in the surprising short queue and started talking to a grumpyish-looking man. He asked me a LOT of questions. I started to doubt my previously infallible ability to get people to believe anything I say. He eventually 'detained' my passport, and I had to wait for someone else to come and see me. I commenced waiting. After everyone else seemed to have been called, I got a very nice girl who had to check my luggage (I've also since come to the conclusion that people who 'check' luggage never do it very well). She took out some items that she thought might help my case (wedding invitation, certificates, diary). Then I had to drag my backpack back upstairs and wait some more. I was taken in to have a photo, and then an x-ray (?!). Following that, I got checked in to a holding room, where I couldn't take my phone in, or anything besides the cash that was in my handbag. After another long wait, I had my interview. I pretty much had to recount my exact movements since I arrived in the UK in 2001. Might as well have written my memoirs at the same time. Luckily the woman interviewing me was cool and she believed my story and understood why I only had a one-way ticket (the reason they held me in the first place). She just had to convince her boss to believe me too. Back to the holding room. Finally, about 5 hours after I arrived in London, I was allowed out. I've now got a visa in my passport that probably screams 'DODGY', but no matter. I'm back in.
Jasmin and Bodra kindly let me sleep on their couch for two nights, and after a nice dinner with Anna and Ryan and a 12 hour bus ride with all the derelicts of Scotland, I'm in Aberdeen. The ceilidh is tomorrow, and then back down to Edinburgh for more festival madness. I cannae wait!
Stories, thoughts, observations, rants and dribble. Just another of my attempts to keep the interested people informed ...