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Diary of a flying Scotsman
#1
This is gonna be a long one folks, coffee and cigars will be needed I'm afraid, but I can only do this adventure justice by putting the whole story down in print.

 

 

 



Where do I start with this adventure?

 The reason is as good a place as any.

My buddy Big Dave asked if I would like to visit Laguna Seka for the Moto GP this year as a way of celebrating his 40th birthday. This sounded great to me, a visit to the USA, some great bike racing on one of my favourite tracks in the world (where the infamous corkscrew resides), a chance to drool over the brolly dollies first hand as opposed to the TV screen, and all in the hot sun instead of the cold wet rain we were due to get in Scotland for the weekend. Our wifes even gave their blessing to head off and be cavemen instead of fathers/husbands etc for a change.

 

Problem though, I told him we had better be quick, as it was actually on the screen as we talked. Bummer, what now? I had always wanted to visit New York, so had he, so the decision was made. Next trip home we head to NY and see the sights of the city that never sleeps.

 

On a side note, I thought it would be a great opportunity to meet some of the BOTL face to face for a few hours and smoke some great cigars, and thus the scene was set.

 

 

 

Friday 1st September 2006.

 

We arrived at Aberdeen airport to be met with 2 enormous ques, one for Amsterdam, the other for Paris. Now anything to do with the French leaves me feeling unclean, but the best deal we could get was through Air France, so I bit my lip and waited for over an hour with Big D while we witnessed various “World Citizens” (how about that for political correctness) mess around with cases that were too heavy, hand luggage that was too large and too numerous and no passports/tickets/visa etc etc. After this was done with we argued with a Frenchman who thought he should not have to wait his turn, and marched to the front of the line ……. I let Big D handle this one after winding him up and letting him go, 2 seconds later, Monsieur le cheat was at the back of the line with his tail between his legs. We made it through with seconds to spare and were on our way for the first leg of the journey.

 

Look out Paris …………. A couple of Jocks are on their way, and this time we are not coming to pull your ass out of the fire.

 

PARIS:

 

Never in my life have I had to endure such an unorganised joke of an airport. Much gesticulations were done, some scowls were passed between us and them and eventually we were allowed to pass through their country to continue with our journey, this would have been a good time to relax, However, we decided to throw caution to the wind here, and popped in to the Cigar World shop for a 5er of ISOM’s. At the time of leaving, we had packed a couple of litres of Scotland’s holy water, but left the Cuban cigars behind as it would be heart breaking to make the trip and be pulled up on a silly thing like smuggling illegal contraband into the USA. I had decided that if they were bought in Paris, and carried on as hand luggage, then confiscated at the end of the journey, it would not be as painful as losing some aged sticks from my stock, and there was a chance that a 5er purchased enroute would be tolerated where by a 15 stick caddy full would be seen as pre-meditated.

 

The choice was limited in the five pack department, and Siglo iv’s were it from the house of Cohiba as the only Robusto’s available were in a box of 25 that the ever so friendly (not) lady would not open and split. Shopping done, it was time to find a bar.

 

Work with me here people …… it’s a stag weekend, we have been up since 03:45, had no breakfast and only sipped at the insipid coffee the Frogair flight could offer, and by this time its nearing acceptable times to be seen with a beer, ie: not too early to be regarded as an alcoholic.

 

I was wearing my FDNY t shirt that Skipper gifted me for the journey, and when we sat down in the bar, I was greeted with smiles, knowing glances, nods of approval and even a pat on the back from the sea of American citizens that were partaking of some light refreshment at the same time as we were. We put our hands up and admitted we were Scottish, told our tale and ended up with invites to the Mid-West and Chicago should we ever wish to go across the water again. Those Americans were our first friendly faces so far.

 

THE FLIGHT:

 

Now let me just say that this next part of the tale is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth (the whole story is, but this part needs to be re-affirmed). It sounds too far fetched to believe, but trust me here.

 

The double D’s managed to get on to the air bus with little or no fuss, beer on the breath, red eyes and a look of “let me out of this country” must be a good way of getting through French customs, because we were in the first dozen people to get on and seated. This allowed us to people watch ….. a great past-time that I can thoroughly recommend, simply find a spot, make yourself comfortable and open your eyes and ears to the wonderful species called the Human Race as they go about their business …….. anyway, we watched some more “World Citizens” carry on their 3 enormous bags each and struggle with the concept of pre-arranged seating by simply placing their butts wherever it suited them to do so until they were moved on by people who actually had working frontal lobes. This was amusing until I had to move to let my seating companion sit next to me beside the window (Big D and I had arranged for aisle seats for max comfort for the long haul). My neighbour for the journey was a woman, no problem there …….. until she decided to pull a litre bottle of water out of one of her huge bags (both of which she refused to put in the overhead lockers and insisted on having them at her feet).

 

Now at this point you folks should be aware that I have been amazed that frogair paid little or no regard to the rules set out by the USA for all flights into their airspace.

 

One small carry on bag

No liquids

No medication

No cosmetics

No gells

No gum

Etc etc,

 

I had witnessed people with lots of bags, and now I was sitting next to a middle eastern woman with a litre of liquid and a handful of pills, 2 huge bags that she was protecting like new born babies and to put the cherry on the cake ……. She pulled out a Koran prayer book and started chanting, all the while looking like she was ready to take a heart attack and sweating like Mike Jackson on a school bus.

 

Why me?

 

That’s all I could think …… why me?

 

So, while big D slept for his flight over the pond, yours truly spent every moment with one eye firmly fixed on Alice Kaheeda waiting for her to pull some electronic device out of her bag to mix with her fluid, at which point my intension was to introduce her nose to my elbow at mach 2.

 

She was extremely agitated for the whole flight, even hiding her head under the Air France blanket while siffting through her bag, and even more flustered as we landed at Newark, I made a point of letting her go in front of me to leave the plane and go to customs. This was going to be interesting I thought.

 

CUSTOMS:

 

Yup, customs was interesting, I watched numerous people be marched away for not having correct paperwork, no understanding of the English language and in the case of Alice Kaheeda, no reason for coming to the USA …….. she actually could not answer why she was there, business or pleasure = no, go figure. Anyway, she was marched off to a room by 2 guys and I never saw her again.

 

Then it was my turn, I greeted the officer with a smile and a “good afternoon”, he looked at me with surprise at first, asked where I was from and on hearing Scotland, welcomed me to the USA. My explanation for our trip (we came here to PAAAAARTTTY) was taken with the humour it was meant and I was wished a great stay. Again, the American people were the friendly faces.

 

We took a shuttle bus to Manhattan to allow me to take in my first visit to America and see, hear, smell and feel the experiance as opposed to the tube and just sitting in a tunnel for 30 minutes, 45 minutes of great journey later, we checked in to the hotel, overlooking Madison Square Gardens, called Skipper to let him know the eagle had landed and was pleased as punch to find out he was as excited as I was that we had made it over, then we went straight out to find an Irish Bar and start ticking things off of the list of “MUST DO WHILE IN NEW YORK”. I tried calling Rob, as I wanted to wind him up with my best Sean Connery impression, but was having difficulties with my cell roaming at that point, so tommorrow was just going to have to be the day for that, it was begining to get late now in any case.

 

Day one was over with, it had been a very long day, but the journey was just beginning.

 

Cool



[Image: Justarrived.jpg]
The 2 most important days of your life are: The day you were born & the day you find out why
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#2
Wow Dave!!Smile

I can't wait for the next day!!

BTW, where can I get an autographed copy of this book? Wink
If Sonny had EZ-Pass, he'd have survived that hit...
Never apologize mister, it's a sign of weakness. - Capt. Nathan Cutting Brittles
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#3
Great stuff Dave.... Keep it flowing.  I can just see you typing away while pausing every now and then, then and now and now again, for a wee dram of scotch.Big Grin
Freakin' ray of sunshine, ain't I.
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#4
I CAN NOT REITERATE ENOUGH HOW MUCH WE NEED TO GET THIS STUFF DOWN AS A MEMOIR!

I also can't tell you how much I hated missing this chance to herf with all the crew but especially with Parkster here.  To kick me more in the nuts, I had to go to Manhattan today for work and was walking in front of the Garden.

I can't wait to read more Dave.
My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives.
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#5
I am glad you had a good experience so far with America. With all the extra security, questions and fingerprints, I sometimes worry that we are really pissing off the rest of the world when they come to visit.
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#6
Headley Wrote:I CAN NOT REITERATE ENOUGH HOW MUCH WE NEED TO GET THIS STUFF DOWN AS A MEMOIR!
Amen to that Headley!

Dave, many thanks for this post, you continue to take us all on journeys with you. I can't tell you how happy I am that you and BigDave got to make this trip and meet some of the fine brothers here in the States.

By the way.............have you ever arm wrestled BigDave??.........Confusedhock:
"God is a havana smoker, I've see his gray clouds"
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#7
Parkster, you're skill to entertain with words is a gift I enjoy time and time again!  Glad to hear your travels were safe and as much fun as we all knew they'd be.  Next time I hope to be there in person myself.Wink
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#8
Dave, you are a true writer my friend.  I took look forward to the first book of Parkster Big Grin
THEY CALL ME THE SHEPHERD!!! AKA LK HUNTER, FACE BOOK MARIO HUNTER, THE GREAT ONE HUNTER, ETC.
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#9
Great stuff from a gifted writer and a terrific human being...

 

Thanks Parkster for the multitudes of laughs... now... back to work for me.
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#10
Dammit! I didn't know when I started reading this that it "was to be continued". lol

Remember guys we still have an open contest to see who will play the Parkster in the upcoming movie.

Please continue Dave.
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