Sunday, October 12, 2008
Trip - part three
Tuesday we did some great workshops looking at public health and urban agriculture and school projects to teach kids about food. Then on the evening they took us to Reading Terminal Market on a fleet of yellow school buses for a reception. The market was closed and they had a dozen stalls open for us to eat from and a band playing. It was great, delicious icecream, greek food, mexican, more organic beef and yummy cheese. My favourite was called Vampire slayer. We watched the presidential debate on the TV in the beer garden with our US colleagues. This was much more fun than our politics - more like a reality TV show. Senator McCain has dentures that whistle and sounds like Hughie Green, the man who used to host Opportunity Knocks. 'I wanna tell you frens'
Senator Obama seemed pleasant enough but overly cautious so you still really couldn't get his measure. It was a really memorable evening.
Wednesday bought the plenary on climate change - very interesting but some sweeping assumptions were being given as facts and the historical context of natural climate change was ignored in favour of the last three hundred years. For me this devalued the points they were making which was a pity as some of them were very valid.
We then attempted to check out - due to the screw up we almost couldn't pay our bill and had to pay some of it in dollars as they couldn't get the company card to work and had locked my card out. Eventually we sorted it out and avoided arrest. We then caught the bus into Philly to see the market when it was open and to visit the tourist sites.
The market was great, we bought chillies and Amish stuff and had lunch at a salad bar where you buy your food by weight. We then made our way to the Independence Centre where I bought La a Ben Franklin bear. The centre is a lovely building, with great design. We went to see the Liberty Bell and exhibition which again was fascinating, before winding up at Penn Landing.
Shopped and Touristed out we set off for the airport. We checked in on time and went out to the plane only to find we were blocked in by a UAA plane, we spent two hours on the tarmac while they moved the plane and let thirty other aircraft take off. Flight was okay till we got to Heathrow where we circled for thirty mins due to fog on the runway. This then meant we couldn't attach to the building and had to be parked on the tarmac. The first set of steps they bought jammed and we waited again for another set of steps before we could get off and be bussed into Terminal Five.
We got tickets for the National Express coach back to Birmingham as by now it was rushhour in London and we didn't think the tube was a great idea.
It turned out the bus wasn't either - apparently due to lots of accidents on the M25 it was an hour and a half late.
We finally managed to persuade the driver of the bus to B'ham international that he could take us to the airport there as we knew we could pick up a train. Although as it happened Mr Nell came and got us.
I finally got home at 2.30 pm almost twenty four hours after we'd checked in at Philly and having been awake for over thirty hours - no wonder I'm still tired!
All in all the most amazing trip and I'm so grateful to my job that I had this wonderful opportunity to experience all these amazing things. Who'd have thought after all the problems over the last few years?