Eurostar boredom 0
My Bose phones are nestled snugly over my ears and I’m flying with Frank to somewhere exotic. I hear the murmur of other passengers but no detail. I don’t want to know what they are saying. I am in a single seat as opposed to my preferred table. I am also at the opposite end of the train to what I requested. This is what happens when you let a travel agent book you a ticket. Actually it’s what it is like when you let the office manager book you a ticket via a travel agent. I gave specific instructions as to where I wanted to sit (ie at the front of the train) and I am not there (ie at the back of the train).I don’t really mind but little things like this are learnt from many years of travelling for business. Sitting at the front of the train means it is quicker to get out of the station at the other end. Not a biggie. Just a little tip learnt. I don’t normally let someone else book my travel and won’t bother again. If someone doesn’t travel much (eg a travel agent!) or isn’t a native English speaker (French) and misinterprets my written instructions, didn’t read them or they weren’t forwarded they probably don’t understand the significance. It is like knowing which end of the platform to stand on the London Underground system because when you get off the train you will be near the exit. Ah well.Thus far I have managed to negotiate my first business trip of the year without consuming any of the free alcohol in the lounge. So far so good then. I did have some nibbles but that is of secondary relevance. The fact that I was able to use the lounge was a bit of a surprise. I’m travelling Premium Economy not Business Class and I was expecting my Carte Blanch status with Club Eurostar to have expired. Maybe they are giving me until the end of the month or lulling me into a false sense of security. Or something else. Anyway I’m glad I still have that status for now. It saves a lot of time at check in (fast track) and gets me into the lounge (comfort/phone charging/free drinks). The nibbles are rubbish and they don’t have diet mixers but ah well.The Eurostar trip to Brussels is quite boring. There is next to no connectivity. It’s worse than that. The connectivity that exists is so slow that whilst you still try to connect it hearkens back to the old dial up days where you would have to go away and make a cup of tea or simlar whilst your 5MB file was downloading.So on this train I have buried myself in my offline laptop and am listening to music also offline. Hooray for Spotify Premium. I do have some TV programmes downloaded to iPlayer. Problem is I probably wouldn’t normally watch them so it is something akin to desperate stakes if I opt to watch them whilst travelling. My next, difficult, decision will come when they start serving the meal. The meal on Eurostar isn’t worth having but it is something that alleviates the boredom. I might have a glass of red wine with something. Don’t want top spoil my appetite for later. Am thinking maybe steak frites around the corner from the hotel. Maybs. See how it goes.Brussels itself i quite a cool spot. Plenty of places to go out in the evening. You do have to get used to the fact that the weakest beer is 5% (Stella) so you have to adjust your drinking patterns (ish).I succumbed btw to the meal. It isn’t particularly substantial so shouldn’t spoil dinner later. Still listening to Frank. Had to forward through some of the tracks. Frank’s big hits are fantastic but he recorded a lot of stuff and some of them are a bit bland.In castigating the boring nature of the Eurostar ride to Brussels I am reminded that it is no different in journey length to theLincoln to London train. The journey from home ot Brussels takes around 6 hours. This is because I leave the house 30 mins before the train goes, just to be on the safe side, and I usually have a 90 minute layover in London. Any shorter is risking it – the East Coast main line is not the most reliable.The staff are very god on this train. Extra wine being delivered without question. My attempts to live a quiet life are hampered by this travel lark. I will pretty much be away for all of February. That is a challenge. The problem is (problem?!) we are off to San Francisco on 5th Feb, travelling 1st Class BA (thanks BA AMEX Avios). There is no way I am going to fly BA 1st Class drinking mineral water and eating salad. Knowworramean? The champagne is £120 a bottle for a start. Retail.We arrive some time before the main party (NANOG). We are therefore staying in a different hotel on our own dollar (Fairmont Nob Hill versus a generic Hilton somewhere in the Financial District) for a couple of nights. I am not going to drink mineral water and eat salad at the Tonga Room in the Fairmont. Innit, etc. Thats life, somehow, Jim, as we know it.Weare through the Channel Tunnel. It looks cold out there. This I was expecting and have planned for. I have layers. I like the cold provided I am suitably attired. Today I am wearing a cotton tshirt, Fatface cotton top (it has a name but can’t remember what – something rugged), a Harris tweed jacket and my Irish tweek pea jacket. Unsurprisingly wearing this combination of natural fibres. I m very fond of my Harris Tweed sports jacket and my tweed pea jacket. V cool as far as I am concerned. Outside the train the mist is settling over the first world war battlefields. I think that’s our general location. Different times. As I race by on the tain it seems surreal to think that within my grandmother’s lifetime men were in trenches up to their knees in mud in atrocious conditions with someone trying to bomb the hell out of them. I am not born, am I?I’ve moved on to my spotify fave playlist, known as tref’s faves. Not much, if anything after the 1980s. That’s my era.Being a Brussels bound train this carriage is very much filled with suits I can’t understand the genre myself. The desire to fit in and not stand out. Total opposite to my own philosophy. I guess its is a need thing. People need jobs and don’t want to rock the boat, or the casbah! Rock that casbah I say.The only people I have spoken to on this train are the staff. I guess that’s normal.