November 12, 2008

Scotland Visit

Family Personal

I really hate leaving home base for too long. I get back and feel like the sky is falling. I think the dust is finally settling and I can get back into the groove again. I wanted to share some of my pictures from my trip to Scotland a few weeks ago. My grandmother is not doing very well so it was a last minute thing to get across the pond.

If I ever see another airport again, it will be too soon. Part of my adventure was borderline comical.

I flew from San Francisco to Los Angeles for a nine hour layover. The flight was at 7am and I had a shuttle pick me up at 5am. The shuttle driver wasn’t having a great morning – he picked me up late and the other passengers were already grumbling and complaining. A sweet couple and I were the last to be dropped off at our terminal. We had gotten to the airport with enough time though the check-in line was a bit long. I got out of the van and was waiting for the driver to get our luggage when he realized that he had locked us all out of the van (and the van was still running). He didn’t speak very much English and was obviously panicking while trying to explain to us what had happened. He called his wife who had a spare set of keys – 15 minutes away. I called the shuttle company and was told someone would be there to help in 5 minutes. Score one for me!
The shuttle company guy showed up armed with a club. No joke. No keys, just a hard blunt object with which to break the window. We were starting to draw onlookers. Sadly, the club merely bounced off the windows without even a scratch. The driver tried unsuccessfully to break in with a stool found at one of the curbside check-in booths. (Keep in mind it was close to 6am by now.) The shuttle company driver left since he had nothing to contribute once his club had failed us.
The driver’s wife eventually showed up and we got our luggage but had to deal with the line. I had about one hour before my departure to check into an internationally-bound flight to London.
Somehow it all came together as I was rushed through check-in and made my flight to LA. I was in LA’s airport for nine hours straight, totally exhausted from waking up before the sun and dealing with the Shuttle Debacle of 08 that morning. Good thing I brought plenty of books and magazines. The LA terminal that housed my gate was very dull and old and all of the seats had bars between them so there was no comfortable sleeping for me.
I flew from LA to London and had a relatively short layover in Heathrow before flying to Glasgow. The Heathrow airport was huge and beautiful and had all sorts of comfy couches and rest areas. Parts of it reminded me of Ikea. Check it out for yourself:



Jet-lagged and cranky, I finally made it to Scotland to see my family.

My cousin works at a very posh resort in Scotland called Cameron House. I wandered around the grounds one afternoon that miraculously gave us sunshine rather than miserable rain.





Here are some images from around Loch Lomond, where I stayed.







I visited my grandma at least once a day while I was there. The dementia is certainly Alzheimer’s now. She was so tiny. She hadn’t eaten for weeks and her body rejected the IV fluids during my stay. It was sad to see so many of my aunts and uncles visiting her and she couldn’t recognize a single face. She spoke gibberish and ate a few bites every now and then. Sometimes she would sing something incoherent. She is 84 and has survived her husband and one of her 12 children.





I have had to return to the States and haven’t heard much about my grandmother since I’ve left. There is not very much time left but she has several loving children surrounding her when it’s time to go.

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