15th June 2007
This diary is mainly composed by Ted. It tells our story about leaving Germany and going to Belfast.
For our growing community of english readers everything has been translated by Vince. Have fun!
Belfast, the first day...
Friday, June 15th
We are there!
Of course we didn't make it without any trouble. This time it hit me.
Airport Hannover-Langenhagen customs didn't want to allow me my pilot style suitcase. "what are you going to do with that broadsword in there?" Seriously, that was a butter knife (Ok, Heubach style... 30cm), never go without appropriate tools.
Alright then... way back through 2 terminals to put it into my other luggage which has to be found and fished out of the container. Ehm...! No way. Keep the whole suitcase and put it to my other luggage. Frees me from carrying it through stansted when we switch planes.
And yes we screwed the free allowance! 20kg was the limit, we had that... by +15 or +20kg with ease.
That's 5 Euros per Kilo extra... They obviously didn't seem to be bothered by that and we went for free on that one.
Specsaver Airlines, no extra charge (for the Germans: Fielmann-Reisen, mein Papa hat nix dazu bezahlt). Happy days! ;-)
And on the airstrip, hey, an Airbus 319, cute. German crew, no problemo. You didn't really feel the lift-off - pitty - the landing was gay. touch touch... *moan*... we're down. Then we had to wait for 10 mins on the taxi way... we were ahead of schedule.
Well the guys in the tower must be sweating 24/7, starts and landings in zipper-methods. Way too much traffic for such a "small" airport. BUT they have automated trains for terminal transfers... no driver... suspicious...
Arrived at the terminal, we FINALLY found a smoking area.
Well this flight was full to the roof, the flight to Belfast afterwards was pretty much only us two and a handfull of whatever.
Boeing 737-700... *BANG* yes that WAS our touchdown! Everyone wake up!
Arrived, no customs, no control, get the bags, find a smoking area!
Found a Taxi and headed off to "gem..." (the company we are going to work for).
Of course we found it, although it was the wrong building. Two charming ladies showed us the way and took care of our bags. Veronica Chafer - the girl who sent us the welcome letter - awaited us in the right building and now the name finally became a face as well. End 20, spanish, 8 months in Rosenheim (Munich). She took us through the whole introduction ceremony incl. brewery visit and sheep sacrificing (kidding). From now on we are employees, ROCK YEAH! Been waiting since 2001!
Right, today also is our silver anniversary. Our friends at home planned a surprise party for June and I took care of her being able to leave work earlier. Hopefully everything worked out just fine!
About our enquiry about how many new guys there are still to come, we got the answer that the other 8? 5? 16? will be here first thing on Monday. So why exactly are we here already?!
Wo cares, we got special treatment ;-)
So paperwork don, now housing. Who does what, what is an agent, where to find who... and so on.
Got a few websites and started searching: "Shared Flat, double bed, TV, shared bath.." £190 up to end of August. Called. Got an Australian women on the line... in Belfast... why not. Got an appointment and headed off. HUNGRY! FOOD!
Left the bags at gem and headed into the city. In the rain. 4km. By foot. Sure!
Good thing we have a map. If Belfast only had street signs. Where the heck are we?! And more important... where is the next toilet?! Found a subway... no toilett. Next shop... same situation. Italian Restaurant... finally! Hey, All you can eat! £5! Done. Tasty and enough!
And now? still an hour to go... we went for a coffee shop and had a Belfast coffee... light-black water. EEEEEWWWWW! If you don't do everything by yourself...
Finally appointment time (5 minutes early). The two landlords show us around the house. "Hey look, like Vancouver!" Small room, one bed, shared kitched, no view, etc. We take it.
Back at gem we get our stuff and head of to the hotel they booked for us (taxi!). We answered Veronicas look with "We are the last optimists and.. we`ve got it!"
At the hotel we unpack, Vince adjusts the TV and... is sound asleep two minutes later. Was a hard day and a short night before that.
Good night everyone!