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Thursday, July 14, 2005

Keefieboy in England

I arrived safely and on time at Heathrow, and so did my luggage (yay!). I passed through Customs unhindered, there were no staff on view, but apparently they all hide behind screens and only leap out when their electronic gizmos pick something up. Or they were having a tea-break.

I stepped out of Terminal 3 into a crisp but sunny morning - it was shortly after 7 am, and the sun was just starting to get its act together. I was expecting at least some chaos on the Underground, especially as it was the morning rush-hour, but the ticket clerk at Heathrow's Underground station was extremely patient and helpful, and figured out a working route to get me to Walthamstow, which is in the northeast corner of London, almost diagonally opposite Heathrow itself.

The trip across London took almost two hours, and involved a fair bit of trudging between various platforms and trains, and you'll be pleased to know they still have not found a solution to cooling all of these tunnels. I know I was. Not.

So, I arrived at the home of my bruvver- and sister-in-law and OffSpring just in time to have a cup of tea, a wash and brush-up, unload various gifts and then head out the door to find a pub. We took a bus up to Wood Green, and sat outside a JD Wetherspoon's pub in glorious sunshine. OffSpring and I watched the world go by for a few hours. It seemed that half the women walking by were pregnant, and the other half were pushing babies in push-chairs.

We took a bus home. No air-conditioning, very hot and uncomfortable, and I retired to bed for a much-needed snooze. No air-conditioning, very hot and uncomfortable.

I bought a pre-paid SIM card from Vodafone on my way across London, and here's a lesson for Etisalat. They didn't want to see passport copies of me and my family stretching back 3 generations. They didn't want any documents at all. I didn't even have to fill in a form. All they wanted was five pounds for the card, and an optional sum to load it with credit. Fantastic! And it is set up for international roaming and GPRS so I can check my email on my mobile.

3 Comments:

Blogger muscati said...

I read that telecom providers in Europe might soon be required to take ID information from customers before selling pre-paid cards. The untraceability of of these prepaid cards is scaring government with regards to their possible use by terrorists.

5:16 pm  
Anonymous Abbie said...

I'm in the UK at the moment and also have a Vodafone SIM that I picked up for next to nothing. I can get GPRS but I didnt know you could check e mail on it as I was told a while back that its not secure enough to do so yet.

10:23 pm  
Blogger Keefieboy said...

Yes I can see the point about totally anonymous SIM cards, but Etisalat's approach is just massively loaded the wrong way - even long-standing customers have to go through the extensive rigmarole of providing tons of documents, photos, etc.

As for Vodafone GPRS - couldn't get it working with my PalmOne Treo 650 - Vodafone UK reckon they've never heard of it and don't know what the settings should be. PalmOne tell me to contact Vodafone.

7:37 pm  

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