Walden World

The wacky and wonderful tales of Beth's and Catherine's global adventures. And all things Walden too.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Sleepless and Splitless

Arrived in Gatwick airport at approximately 4:30 am Canadian time completely exhausted and jet lagged. Unfortunately our flight to Split did not leave for, say, 6 hours. What to do for six hours at Gatwick? Unfortunately the arrivals side of Gatwick can only be characterized as a dump: somewhere between a Canadian bus station and a run down mall.

After attempting to sit and wile away the hours over tea I realized I must sleep. Littered about the many seats were, what appeared to be, weary travellers, sleeping between flights. I therefore selected what I thought to be a quiet spot, stretched out on some seats, crossed my arms and attempted to sleep despite the din of airport conversation and smoking.

Just as soon as I began to drift off a booming voice woke me: "Ello there!" I looked up to see a huge, security policeman looming over me. "Ello?!! You alright then!?" Clearly he was concerned that I was some party girl who had been slipped rohypnol or had gotten blotto on cider and was now sleeping it off at Gatwick. "I m fine" I replied, "Just exhausted"

He looked at me suspiciously: "Where's yer luggage then?!" It became clear he thought I was a homeless person, no doubt having been chased out of central London, only to flee to Gatwick Airport, where I could be able to blend in with exhausted travellers, without fear of being escorted to a shelter.

"My friend has my luggage", I reply still horizontal on my bench "Travelling wid'someone eh' Where are they then?!?!"

Exhausted I motion toward the restaurant next door where Catherine sits with a cart full of luggage drinking Cafe au Lait. "She's in there" Finally satisfied, he leaves. I try and return to sleep however I remember that there are countless bobbies roaming the airport, peeking in every rubbish bin and inspecting everyone's bags. He was just one. The chances of again being woken are too great to risk. I get up off my bench to find Catherine and advise her that I have been mistaken for a ner'do well.

Some hours later Catherine is browsing La Senza to kill time. I stand there, bored as I usually am in a shop that sells bras, however I am also without any sleep and feel that I am going to pass out. I advise Catherine that I am exhausted and need to sit down. I walk over the bench right by La Senza. It is somewhat out of the way. Nearby another traveller is sprawled over a bench sans shoes, snoring...sleep I must have sleep...I remove my boots, lay lengthwise and fall immediately into a deep, deep slumber.

The next thing I know I can feel someone looking at me. What's more I feel breathe on my face. Someone is sniffing me. "Huh Catherine? Wha'?" I force my eyes open and focus, only to find that Catetherine has a long black muzzle, a cold black wet nose and floppy ears. There, looming over me is a huge security policeman with a large, black Lab security dog tethered to his arm. The dog is presently attemtping to determine whether a) I am dead b) am actually a bomb or c) blotto from rohypnol and too much cider and am sleeping it off at Gatwick. "Oh Hu?! What?" "Sorry, that's alight love" and off he goes.

I finally raise myself too terrified to return to sleep, lest next time I be awokened to find myself being probed by a remote control police bomb disposal robot.


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