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1747 (ish) Interchange – Airport (and return)

1 Mar

Cable car

A fruitful day in the office, perhaps due to the distinct lack of meetings I’ve had to attend today. Eve has the dubious honour of being the first colleague mentioned in my blog, for she is kind enough to drop myself and Sudhir (who becomes the second) off at the interchange. We’re somewhat naughty today as Eve has to drop us off at the bus stop. I hypocritically despise taxi and minibus drivers who do this, but the truth is that we’re gone within half a minute, and there are no buses in sight – we’re not going to get caught up in the time-consuming activity of unloading luggage from the boot.

Sudhir heads off for his train, but the next direct train to Manchester isn’t for another half hour. I’ve got to find something to do until then. If it was wet weather then I’d probably head for New Street and while away some time at Borders in the Bullring. With the inherently dry weather we’vre experienced of late, I’ve tended to go to the main airport terminal instead, where there’s a better variety of shops. A ten minute walk from the station, the airport is reached quicker by making use of the shuttle service: two cable-hauled cars on an elevated track that once carried the world’s first automated commercial Maglev applications.

Be my bitch

The system features two cars on separate tracks which are hauled back and to between the two seperate stations. On the plus side, it is quick and it is frequent. On the negative side, it is quite a bumpy ride. On the devilish side however, the bmibaby is slowly driving me insane. It isn’t enough that the bmibaby plays its annoying jingle after the ITV local weather in Granada region. It isn’t enough that the two vehicles here are festooned with pictures (and footprints) of the bmibaby. No – every time the two vehicles set off from one of the station, the same repetitive advert is piped onto the advertising screens. I can hear it now, still ringing in my ears: da-dah da-dah daaa-daah… There’s always a first time for violence against children – especially when they’re animated logo babies.

There seem to be an unusual number of people at the airport tonight. Wednesdays are pretty quiet, with the majority of travellers appearing to be business people heading home after a day of high commerce – or the brevity of a trade show at the NEC. There are a lot of Asian families here tonight – a glance at the flight info shows there to be a flight to Islamabad tonight, Thursday, which I wouldn’t normally encounter. I’m too earlier for the final tearful goodbye scenes, but it’s nice to have an injection of youth into the normally sterile environment.

Blur

I am headed for Burger King, conveniently located twixt the two terminals. I’m not going to be home until ten to nine, and so if I don’t eat something now I’ll end up buying something on the train – and no doubt that will be accompanied by wine. So I opt for the “lesser” of two “evils” and plump for the Bacon Double Cheeseburger meal. The premises aren’t particularly noteworthy, but there is a bar facing out towards the huge glass windows that look out over the apron. Not much to see at this time of the year, but when it’s lighter there’ll be views of planes fueling, taxiing, taking off and landing on the runway in the distance. (Mainly FlyBE and Monarch, in case you’re interested.)

I lost five minutes of my life last week, in this very restaurant. I had treated myself to dessert and was spooning into a chocolate cookie ice cream. I had plenty of time to make my way back to the station for the 1828 train back to Manchester. And then suddenly there wasn’t enough time, and despite my desperate run for the train, it is out of sight by the time I make the platform. I am determined not to repeat this error, and I’m not prepared to take any chances this week. I order a take-out meal and am back sat on platform three by quarter past six, having run the bmibaby gauntlet once again.