Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Hampton by Hilton (Edinburgh, Scotland)

My morning started about 4:15 a.m. when I woke up for a potty break. I noticed an email from KLM that informed me that my flight had been cancelled. This flight would have taken me from Edinburgh to Keflavik Iceland. For the next hour I cancelled my hotel for Friday night in Edinburgh and rebooked for London Heathrow Hilton and will take a flight from London to Keflavik. Then I went back to bed.

On the way down to breakfast a guy got on the elevator on the 7th floor and on the way down coughed, and didn’t cover his cough. I held my breath until we got out of the elevator. He didn’t look well.

I was planning to take an after breakfast nap but decided I should take the train into Edinburgh and pick up my passport. I called ahead to make sure the Russian Visa Service Center was open. I tried to book an Uber to the train station but the application wouldn’t take my request, so I took a taxi.

Once I arrived in Edinburgh I took another taxi to the Russian Visa Service Center and had a good conversation with the taxi driver. He mentioned his sister works at a hospital in Manchester and said that because more people are washing their hands and staying home the number of people coming in with colds and flu (non-coronavirus) had dropped by half. He waited for me to get my passport and then he took me to get my haircut. I tipped him well.

Nice to get my hair cut. It was looking a bit shaggy since I hadn’t had it cut since I was in Cyprus, almost a month ago. The guy who cut my hair asked where in the U.S. I was from and knew about Portland, Oregon. I continue to be impressed how well people outside the U.S. know our cities and states.

My taxi driver in Glasgow told me how his number of fares has dropped dramatically. More so this past week. He said there was nothing he could do and plans to get by the best he can. I gave him a hefty tip as I left his cab. Talking to people that are affected by this virus is heartbreaking. When I walked into the hotel the lobby was empty, and this is a big hotel with 20 floors. (I’m on the 19th floor.) At breakfast there were only a handful of people in the dining room so think that hotel has very few guests.

After my afternoon nap I double-checked that I hadn’t made any mistakes booking and cancelling flights and hotels earlier this morning. Discovered that KLM may not refund my ticket for the flight they cancelled. But good news is that there are places in the John Ross, one that looks really good (and within my budget) that’s available. Not large, but I can make it work for the next year. Also, hotel prices are dropping in Portland so I’ll have a place to stay while I find permanent place to stay. (A Hilton hotel of course.)

I’m beginning to see the light at the end of the “travel adventure tunnel”. But still need to take it one step at a time. Tomorrow, weather permitting, I’ll walk down to the River Clyde and take in the view. Yesterday I did a little clothes shopping (shopping therapy) and it gave me a chance to walk around the shopping district of Glasgow.

Just need to remember: One step at a time.

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