The hassles of travelling
Tue, July 24, 2012 - 4:00 PM
Nation Sports journalist Sherrylyn Toppin is in London covering the 2012 Olympics.
Travelling has become such a hassle.
The rules and regulations are enough to make you want to stay home – except that you don’t!
*Don’t let anyone pack for you.
*Do get to the Airport at least three hours before departure to get through security checks.
*Don’t carry liquids or gels in your carry on larger than 100ml.
*Do undress when you are going through security. Modesty can be left at home.
*Do not leave your luggage unattended or it could be taken and destroyed.
And the list goes on and on.
Don’t get me wrong, I love travelling, especially when I am going on holiday. Travelling for work is not to be taken for granted, but working with strict daily deadlines, especially in a country where the time zone is behind Barbados is like trying to push a horse up a hill.
But back to those infernal rules.
The restrictions on taking drink into the sterile area are a double burden on passengers. Imagine after you have spent a small fortune on a ticket, accommodation (if you aren’t lucky enough to have relatives or friends in the city where you are going) and spending money, you are forced to pay the ridiculous prices for what counts as food at the Airport.
And this could be after you were forced to throw away a perfectly good bottle of water or coffee because it isn’t allowed into the sterile area. I know that these rules are in place for our safety and in the back of my mind I appreciate and understand.
My purse doesn’t.
Why should a pack of cashews and a 500ml bottle of water cost $18 Barbados dollars?
Are you serious?
Why does a sports drink cost $8 and a PET bottle $4.50.
By the way, it is PET and not PEP bottle, so please make sure those signs are right for Kadooment Day and Bridgetown Market.
As if that was not enough, let’s add insult to injury. Millions of dollars were spent refurbishing the Grantley Adams International Airport, but it is clearly for dry weather only. It’s all well and good for those passenger shuttles to ferry you to the plane when it is raining, but they don’t stop you from getting soaked when you are climbing the stairs, now do they?
But the amount of travelling I did since I left Barbados around 5 p.m. Monday to get to London Gatwick; the train into Central London; walking in the wrong direction because I didn’t understand the directions; then taking a taxi to the right place only to unpack my bag and go back out.
I hardly slept a wink on the plane. It is almost 8 a.m. London time and my body is still on the Barbados clock. Then one of the volunteers gives me a choice – walk back to the train station and spend seven minutes on the train or take the bus and drive for 40 minutes.
But when I reach the train station, there are a lot of journalists rambling because the pink signs direct you out of the building and not to the platform. Pause, shake your head at the inefficiency and then retrace your steps.
The train leaves on time and it does take about seven minutes to cover the same route the bus would take. Just imagine.
Then up and down the stairs to accreditation, up and down the stairs to another platform because I am in East London now and going even further east to see the Barbados team train. So another train and a bus, but I don’t know where I am going even though one of the volunteers printed me a lovely map.
I go past the venue, then have to get out, cross the road and take another bus back. The first driver thought I was going to West Ham Football Stadium, nope just here, sir, thanks.
But the sun is like fire when I walk into the venue and the chief official is livid because he doesn’t know I am there. I have to introduce myself, he says, they are under strict rules governing the interaction of the press and athletes at the training venues.
Finally, I’m allowed to work in peace while the Bajans work up a sweat on the hottest day of the year so far. Two hours or more later, it’s back on the bus, but I missed the stop again. Good thing all of these trains link, get back on and head to Central London. I made it. I can laugh at myself because I don’t get lost in London, not when I’m on holiday.
But on a positive note, one of the nicest people I met in London today was a journalist who was very helpful when I went to the Media Accreditation Centre.
Turns out he used to cover windsurfing and knows our two-time Olympian Brian Talma.
It really is a small world.
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