RonO (rono_60103) wrote,

Trip Report, Glasgow and Interaction

Working on the cliché theory of "better late than never" here is the first of the final two installments of my trip report for our trip to the UK to attend Interaction and tour the country.

This report, and the final installment on the London part of our trip were delayed because of a lack of time and energy in Glasgow during and right after the worldcon, a lack of an internet connection, as well as time, while in London and a lack of energy upon returning from the trip.

As previously reported, we arrived in Glasgow on August 3. After filing my previous report we ventured out for dinner. We walked towards the Glasgow Central station looking for a place to eat. We walked several blocks only to discover that there were no places to eat along Argyle street between the Hilton and the train station. Also, most of the places at the station were closed, or were not serving food. Finally, we gave up and ate at the McDonalds, resulting in the worst dinner of the trip. On the way back, I attempted to get tickets for the train, only to have the agent explain that passes were only good Sunday through Saturday. After a poor meal, and fearing that we'd be paying for train trips each time we wanted to head to the con left us all feeling a bit depressed about the trip and the con.

As it turns out we were all more tired than we realized later. We discovered this when we all slept until nearly 10 the next morning. Once we were awake, I followed up on some on-line research I'd done the night before and discovered that our rail passes were good on the Glasgow "low level" trains that connected our hotel to Glasgow Central and the SECC.

Buoyed by this news, we ventured over to the SECC to get a brunch (having missed breakfast), and get checked into the convention. Some helpful fans kept us from boarding the train at the station which would not be stopping at the Exhibition Centre stop, but then kept talking loudly enough to make the train announcements hard to hear. We caught the next train and walked over the bridge to the SECC. At the SECC we got lunch at the stand just inside the doors. Unfortunately, the sandwich that Tara wanted was sold out, so she had to eat the one I would have preferred (which did not set well after the McDonald's dinner the night before). We also had to sit on the floor in the hallway since there were no free tables near the stand.

After we ate, we found our way to registration and discovered that Murphy's law had not held and all of our badges were in the same line. (I'd been worried that they'd split "M" and "O" into separate lines, forcing us to play line jumping games to get all 3 badges). We spent a few minutes looking over the program and tourist materials we picked up. Then we found the child care office and let Derrick spend some time there.

That afternoon, I sat on my one panel, "The Past, Present and Future of Christian Fantasy." The panel went well, better than I had feared. I was only completely left out when it briefly drifted to a discussion related to the Dr Who episode written by another panelists which, being an American, I've not had an opportunity to see.

After the panel, Tara and I went to the opening ceremony, and the reception sponsored by the City of Glasgow. There we met up with a couple of friends who regularly attend the Chicago area conventions and talked with them for a while. We then got Derrick and took the train to the Central station where we ended up eating at KFC, our second worst meal of the whole trip. Once we were done with dinner, I took my train pass and remained in the area, while Tara and Derrick went back to the hotel.

I wondered the area, and discovered a number of open restaurants and shops in the blocks just past the station. I then worked my way back to the Quality Hotel at the station, were the members of the Chicago in 2008 bid were meeting to plan the parties. After that meeting, I headed back to the hotel and turned in. While I was at the meeting, Tara had been busy washing socks and underwear. We had been planing on having our clothes washed by the Hotel in Glasgow until we saw the £3.00 per shirt, and similar, prices. I was not going to pay more to get my clothes cleaned than I had paid for them in the first place, and I was not having anyone dry clean my jeans. Overall, we were feeling better about the convention after the first day.

On Friday, we got up earlier, and headed over to the Central Station for breakfast. While there I took advantage of the Supercuts and go my hair cut. Unfortunately, they did not do beard trimming, which I actually needed more. After that we headed over to the convention. We spent the rest of the morning, and part of the afternoon, checking out the exhibits and the dealers' room. Both Tara and I went to the panel on why poor movies often make good TV shows. After that we returned to the dealers' room. After we finished our pass around the dealers' room, we headed up to the Golden Duck awards.

On the way, Tara was discussing how someone had asked where she got her Girl Genius pin. Discussing this, led me to connect where she got her pin, at GenCon in 2001, part of why we were at GenCon in 2001, and that that day was August 5, making it our fifth wedding anniversary. In all the hassle of the trip and the con, we'd both completely forgotten.

After the Golden Duck awards, we retrieved Derrick from Child Care and went off for dinner. After finding that many of the shops that were open on Thursday evening were closed on Friday we ended up having our third dinner in a row in an American restaurant. At least this time it was TGIFridays, and it wasn't a bad dinner.

After dinner we went back to the hotel. After resting for a bit, I headed down and helped with the Chicago in 2008 bid party. I left there about midnight, and stopped briefly at many of the other parties before crashing for the night.

Saturday we returned to the convention, and did more wondering in the exhibits and dealers' rooms. We dropped Derrick off at childcare and Tara went to a panel and I went to the art show. After a quick pass through the art show, I ran into Tara who had left the panel in disgust after it had turned from a discussion of alternate history into an opportunity to bash the US government.

We returned to the art show, and Tara took a look around. We then got Derrick from Childcare, ate a nice dinner at the SECC and went back to our hotel. Again I helped out at the Chicago in 2008 party, hit the other parties, and went to bed. At the Australia in 2010 party, I picked up two penguins since Tara and I were among the original pre-supporters of the bid in San José. Later I discovered that Tara had also gotten a penguin, so we ended up with one more than we should have. I guess we'll have to have Derrick pre-support the bid as well.

On Sunday we took the day off from the con for the most part. The train station near the Hilton was closed, so we would have to walk to the Central Station. Instead we walked up to another shopping area and did some shopping, got lunch and laid in supplies for the Christian Fandom party that night. During this, it became apparent that Derrick was way over-tired and was starting to misbehave badly. After getting our supplies we caught a cab back to the hotel and Derrick took a nap.

By this time Tara and Derrick were tired enough that Tara suggested that we consider not going on to London, and leaving directly from Glasgow on Tuesday or Wednesday. During the afternoon, I did some checking and determined that we would have to leave on Wednesday since the flights on Tuesday were well booked (often not having 2 seats together if I checked). I also tried to warn Tara that changing our tickets might cost us more than finishing out the trip.

After our period of rest, we went down to set up for the Christian Fandom party. We also needed to get dinner. Unfortunately our choices were to walk quite a ways from the hotel, or eat at the hotel restaurant. We elected to eat at the restaurant, and had a fairly good diner, but it was no where near worth what it cost us (over £50.00 if I recall correctly). Worse, since we ordered for Derrick off the menu while Tara and I got the buffet, we were nearly done eating before Derrick got his food.

The Christian Fandom party went very well, and was reasonably well attended. About 11:00, I realized that Derrick needed to get to bed, and that I was fading very fast. Since Tara seemed to be doing OK, I took Derrick up to our room and went to bed. It didn't seem like much later when Tara came up, but I suspect that it was an hour or so, and that I'd been dozing.

On Monday, I called American Airlines. After spending quite a bit of time on hold as the agent in the UK coordinated with her supervisor in Paris, it was determined that the total fees for changing our flights would be over $1,500.00 per ticket, significantly more than we paid for the tickets originally. Tara was shocked at the amount being charged, I wasn't too surprised. After that, we decided that we'd go on to London as planned.

After that we went back to the convention, took a last look around and went to the closing ceremonies. After closing, we went back to the area near Glasgow Central Station where we got our last few Glasgow souvenirs, and two copies of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, knowing that we'd be shipping stuff back from there rather than carrying it on down to London.

We got dinner Monday at an Italian place across from the KFC which we hadn't noticed either Wednesday or Thursday since it looks more like a coffee bar when you pass it on Argyle street. After dinner we returned to the hotel and packed to leave the next morning.

On Tuesday, I ran out quickly to the Central Station to get us reservations on the 11:00 Virgin Train to London. When I got back, Tara and Derrick were ready to go. We caught a cab at the hotel, who took us to the Mail Boxes Etc. and waited (saving us from having to unload and reload our luggage). At the MBE we shipped most of the stuff we bought in Scotland home, leaving us with lighter bags for the trip to London.

The cab then dropped us off at the Central Station where we waited until about 10:30 to catch our train to London.

(To be continued in the London report).


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