Preparation leaving to France Nov. 9th

Camberley Travel Blog

 › entry 1 of 12 › view all entries
Victoria and the kids

I left 4:30am for Bishop Airport after visiting my parents outside of  Flint, Mi. I enjoyed visiting my parents, my sister and her kids. It is nice to be reacquainted with the kids. After so many years in Asia I became somewhat complacent in how dishonest some people are in depressed places like Flint. It is a shit hole.

A real piece of shit human being and antique dealer (Carriagetown Antique Center) lied and ripped me off on 3 Herman Miller Chairs, and an original Aero Leathers Sign he sold without my say, way way below market $62 and $85. This is all after I started moving my stuff out. I think he actually bought them himself, or he was pissed cause he pleaded I should be gay and at the beginning and in the end I said no still straight.

Justin and the kids
At any rate,  It is a pity to let down or it is a pity to have to keep my guard up. There is a saying the only people you can trust in this world is your family- this may be true. Then again, maybe it is karma for anything bad I have done to date. Or maybe just a simple fool being taken advantage of. A lesson to be learned but now I am traveling again.  The two worlds, one of reality and economics- realism where peoples concerns highlight and infuriate a populace, making people vote and be angry over the mundane. And then the other,   Traveling with a backpack, traveling without set plans  more of a spiritual pilgrimage reliant on kindness, generosity  and purity of words. 

Customs Customs Customs!!!

To come to England I prepared well, and with one 50lbs and 60 linear inches I packed a box to exactness.

Justins parents.
The bigger the size the more we seem to need. So it is good to have limitations through life, otherwise we all would want the big house/ plasma screen tv/2 kids/credit cards and ALL that ought to be only in board games ages 4 to 12 or TV game shows for the illiterate. (that said, thank you spell check) The series of customs agents I met, thank I’d be broke in bribes if necessary in the first world!

At Bishop Airport, the first customs agent cut through the heavily taped box and item by item- the pepper spray, laundry detergent, loose tobacco, knifes, tools, voltage inverters were eye raisers but all made it through after a good solid 45 minutes. Got to admit, still heavily taped but now “Inspected by US Customs”.  Next, the good ole body search.

The kids dressing for the Halloween carnival.
  Time was nearing , the agents went about their business, the magic wand over the body, inspect the shoes, prosthetic leg, Wipe the leg, come back wipe the hands- clean no drugs, no explosives for the hundredth time. Here I must admit I would like to see the racial/ethnic profiling a bit more.  Carrying Mom’s homemade strawberry jam in my carry on gave me a sweat bead down my cheek.  The customs guard waited until I got my body check before she started on my bags coming out of the scanner. I ended up being the last one to board- ugh. Are you carrying a jar?” Yes, jam- it is frozen. Then she proceeded to pull out with great slowness, “Ma’am , may I get you the jam, the plane will leave soon?” No, you can’t.
Never quickening her pace. She was short, table high, bag adding another 2 foot- It was like some Christmas grab bag for elementary students. She would reach her hand in, fish around for the best present and pull out….1 packet of gum, another packet and another… Getting rude “Ma’am, really either go quicker or allow me to pull out the cold plastic bag the frozen jam is in.” Like she just had no sense of cold finally she said. “ok”. Reached in boom, amongst the 5 things left in my f_ing bag- Here is the jam! She said, “It is frozen so it is ok, it isn’t liquid, your lucky. The gate is there behind you.”  From Flint to Chicago is less than 2 hours by plane. And yet one more. After handing my ticket to the woman in Chicago, entering the retractable tunnel, 3 gun toting gaurds- 2 slightly round boyish men and in the center a very yummy kinda Jennifer Lopez looking woman.
I smiled and stared in her eyes. She did all the talking for the three. How much are you carrying. I pull out a envelope with $1300 I recently sold my car for. She said something about no more than $10,000 and I thought it better to keep the conversation more on how beautiful her eyes were making some sincere eye contact and then went a step further… (he he he) “It is so difficult for a woman to wear a uniform and look beautiful. You look better than Charlie Angel’s girls did when they were going through Police Acadamy, remember 1978? She smiled wide and all the more yummy I was thinking. Uniform is military excepted- the MP girls in “Stripes”, Christ Almighty yada yad yada…  She let me board probably just to stop my thoughts stumbling out the mouthpiece.
  Without a further search of myself and enough Travelers Cheques  that I am sure would have left me watching the plane from the wrong side of the window.  And then finally- London! I arrive in a Harris Tweed jacket, kakis, a proper 1940’s tie, a bush hat and a neatly trimmed beard(I am thinking 1920’s African British exploiter), I race to immigration and a woman takes my passport. I think ‘luck, a woman!’. Then she starts to drill me- yes/no ma’am. Blah blah blah… does she have a proper  brain? Is this the peter principle? Am I no more than a quota? Why?  She left, met with the other customs officers, all animated she was flaying her arms around and one guy looked at me rolled his eyes- ‘shit’.
Evil little so and so  needs more love. My lost, oh the time wasted.  So meet my interrogator, David. Real nice guy. “Please call my buddy, he’s waiting  at arrival.” He does and questions him, our stories match. Met in Beijing in 99, haven’t seen each other in 10 years, friends, staying with him in Camberely.  Tells my buddy to pick me up in the morning, I am spending the night. We go through all the questions, finger prints, then he helps me by explaining how my answers should be and then we do the paper work Q&A . My answers are much better now and he smiles the teacher to the student smile. 2 am all finished with the Q&A, do some investment talk and give him my email for later talk if he wishes.
Inside after a good cleaning
I go to the waiting room, crashed is an African across the well worn and often slept on waiting room chairs. I sit on the hard plastic of the cleaner appearing Henry Miller knock off chairs, Korean girl wailing about something on the phone is now at peace watching some inane tv reality bs. I look through the magazine selection- best are the Japanese magazines if I am a pervert but I am not. No matter what magazine ie. The Science Digest in Japan-  Always always some pictures of a little teen in a bikini looking at the camera provocatively. I don’t feel like going to the telephone booth for a little yank! (Just kidding but the image came to me as I was typing and I thought how wonderfully British of me to say).  Anywho, David says no worries and 3am we are walking out to the arrival area where Justin will get a call at 7am to pick me up.
Finished waxing and the English rain came in 5 minutes later. Maybe the only chance to see the car dry in the UK
David does email me a few days later. And I emailed him with some EU customs questions.   A new friend I hope.

Justin and Family

I won’t go into our history but Justin is a true traveler and a better friend for his help.  Justin is what we all should be who are travelers. Sites like couch surfing want this essence but it is still to the person and more chaps are wannabe travelers and more just the partier than the better half. Wife Victoria helps me in my belief women are smarter than men. She’s super patient and has this even keel about her that allows her to be a lovely host at anytime. The kids- Olivia and Poppy  are  darlings, more so when they are not crying. Hanging out with Justin and Family gives me a happy feeling.

I am so happy that he is doing well. He has his own double glazing business. I kinda feel something is missing about myself . Traveling away from this sense of family makes me sad leaving. But happy to have met so many wonderful people. So Justin and Victoria have special parents. Victoria’s mother is a spitting image of Victoria’s demeanor and we get along quite well. She likes opera and antiques and is a retired nurse- I think she is special. Justin’s parents are amazingly active! Dad and Mom are 68 and 65. Dad climbs up the ladders and works side by side with Justin. Me scared shitless of heights got up there a few times only cause I felt like a complete pus not to pull my own.  It does me good to do alittle work.  His Mom is a retired school teacher, Italian and both are bubbling over with positive reinforcement.
Won't be like this until I sell it.
Justin’s friends I met: Moggie, Neal, Mattie, Adrian treated me like one of their own.  True to my imagination of British friends and family- close and true. Beautiful people- God bless them all.   I went to a football game (very cool), 30 pounds is like $55. That is like a weeks wages back in America (my private joke). But  well worth a 3-1 QPR victory. Hubba it was cool- they have this #7 who with his footwork had the opponent all on the ground. While in the UK this time (it is cold and nasty)- this purpose is to sort out a car, insurance, etc. Justin and his wife gave me this valuable time. Also a tent, chair, and camping stuff. Saved me some money.  I bought a 1998 Honda CRV, and it is more than a bit of a soccer mom car but with my track record I need a tank and a cheap one cause  by the time I get done may as well be lighting the money spent on fire.
Game QPR vs. Reading
Good intentions- strong cheap car I can turn a profit on but you know there are people who should never drive- I am that person. Shittiest luck with driving.  Still washed, waxed, cleaned and maintained. The car 900pds, insurance 580pds., MOT 300pds. Without leaving the drive I spent near $4000 just for transportation that may be lucky to finish this race.  At any rate, what else… I bought a futon for the back. Need a cassette player. A motorcycle chain to tie down the  spare. In the states I bought some new age boy scout brand zip off pants- CHEAP. But they have become my work pants so I bought a proper pair of kiwi zip offs to wear to my many dinner dates.  All will be ready by Tuesday to cross over to Calais from Dover.

One more thing, I thought I had throat cancer. Likely alittle over reaction but it is fun to drama it up sometimes. I was able to walk in the doctors and get a prescription and pay 7.20 pds. for the penicillin. Over and done.

As you can see from the pics of the inside all loaded there is room to sleep in should it be raining or I am in the city. I bought some hooks to place on the window to put cardboard over and block out the sun. With the futons doubled up and my sleeping bag or duvet Justin wife gave me I should sleep like a baby.  I have been staying at Justin’s and Victoria’s a month.  I move slow but it all seems pretty thorough so other than the tendency to crash vehicles I feel pretty confident.   Now on to Rouen to start my Cathederal  venture.

All ready!

ROUEN, the capital of Upper Normandy, is one of France's most ancient cities. Standing on the site of Roman Rotomagus, the lowest point on the river then capable of being bridged, it was laid out by the Viking Rollo shortly after he became Duke of Normandy in 911. Captured by the English in 1419, it was the scene in 1431 of the trial and execution of Joan of Arc, and returned to French control in 1449.

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Victoria and the kids
Victoria and the kids
Justin and the kids
Justin and the kids
Justins parents.
Justins parents.
The kids dressing for the Hallowee…
The kids dressing for the Hallowe…
Inside after a good cleaning
Inside after a good cleaning
Finished waxing and the English ra…
Finished waxing and the English r…
Wont be like this until I sell it.
Won't be like this until I sell it.
Game QPR vs. Reading
Game QPR vs. Reading
All ready!
All ready!
Camberley
photo by: mikpeaches