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The Trip Down

Adventurous day at the airport today!

I decided to take a bus earlier than I'd needed to, 8:49, just in case, but I'd written down the train time instead of the bus time so I ended up taking a train too early as well. Took a short tour around Bålsta in a beautiful morning calm, and what started as a sprinkle of rain soon turned to soft but heavy snow, melting as it hit the ground... I took a photo to show my buddy up North. Behold: it snows! :D

SNOW!

Eventually I ventured back to the bus station a bit before the next train, and stood there in standing slumber until people started arriving; sheltering themselves under the roof of our small open booth, away from the wet rain. It was almost like a curtain now. Magical blight.

After what seemed like a long time the bus finally arrived, right on time, and we began a sleepy ride to the airport. I admired the snowy fields, old houses and water, and closed my eyes a bit between the sight-seeing sessions, my eyelids heavier and heavier, my head swinging with the motions of the bus until... I bent my neck a bit too far back somehow. Crack. Shot of pain.

I snapped back wondering if something had been damaged in my neck... it seemed OK. Side movement OK. Posture OK. Head bob... Bob's head still OK. Suddenly I was wide awake though, and realizing we were just a few minutes away from the airport I kept my eyes open the rest of the way.

We arrived there on time as well. I checked in about an hour and a half before departure (would've been just a half hour with the next one) and walked around until my thick winter jacket really started making itself noticed.

I wasn't planning on buying anything outside the gate, but stopped by McDonalds for a milkshake anyway... and that's where I'm writing this, with quite a few minutes to spare. Better early than late... like last time.

I guess this would be the time when vloggers vlog a bit, and spend their time efficiently capturing the moment; conveying their thoughts in more entertaining ways, not just typing on slow keys like this. How they dare do so in public is beyond me. Be joined me. Be whole. Be complete. Be mindful.

I just received a message from Norwegian btw. The departure time is fifteen minutes delayed.

The ride to the airport went alright, just hope I don't miss the bus from the airport, because that would mean missing the next bus, which is a considerably longer ride, and doesn't occur very often. In fact it's longer than the flight itself... unless we get severely delayed. The margin's just about twenty minutes after landing...

A few minutes before twelve the plane draws in. I wait tensely. I wonder if it'll depart on time. I look for people leaving. I wait for the announcer to let us know we can board. I listen to a kid attempting to beat box and whistle behind me. I look out the window at the red nose of the plane. Like Rudolph. And I'm hungry again.

Maybe I could eat lunch while I train... at sleeping. Oh well, it's soon crunch time; I'm game. I'll shut off my cell cause I hear they: complain... if you have it on on the plane. Coms and all.

It's now 12:22. We're finally packing into the plane. Doubt we'll leave on time but hope we'll catch up.

Flight time's estimated to one hour. Arrival was estimated at 13:30.

Seems pretty tight. It really was easier when someone was just waiting to pick us up at the airport, no matter what delays, or if the buses could just have gone from there directly, without connecting carriages to time in too. Worst case scenario: Taxi? Maybe better: Cancel my bus ticket and catch the next one... three hours later. Good time to tour the city, and spend some solo time strolling through the shops. But I'm getting ahead of the flight time. Should be more like 'travel clog'.

Moments later we landed. Got out of the plane quicker than expected. Bought a ticket first. Bus was outside already. Quick bathroom break. Got on the bus and took it to centrum, jumped off one or two stops in advance and walked the last bit. Took a wrong turn but felt like I might be going the wrong way, so fortunately asked an old lady who set me straight and tried keeping up with my pace for a while to converse a bit. Asked if I was from town. I slowed down a bit. Talked a bit. Time was alright.

At the bus station none of the signs had my name on them - or the name of the place I was going to. I asked a driver, then a young lady waiting by the only bus stop where someone else was waiting (she was) - which was coincidentally the same stop as I needed to be at! We chatted sporadically but I was stressed for no reason and bad at conversation. Moments later... the bus came in and here we go again. Final part of the ride.

Did I mention there's SNOW up here? En masse. Darkness too, as expected, but looking out the window at roadside banks and forests that gray as the sun slowly disappears below the lightline it still feels cozy somehow, and when the headlights are on the world is still bright.

I bought a bottle of Vitamin Water before I hopped on the bus, 'Well Awake', and have in addition to that now consumed pretty much all of the small snacks I brought with me... that I didn't bring to give away. Should've eaten lunch at the airport when I had the time.

Dinner waits when I arrive though, and hopefully a fun/not all too hectic weekend with a good buddy, this particular winter residing in small town winter time idyll Överkalix.

We're getting close, so I guess that's all for this travel log! Till I return to post them after the return trip Tuesday... so far all is well. Adele.

What the hell? Just seemed like the best way to end this post. I'll be back. Mars Attack.

I Didn't Train For This

I woke up an hour earlier than usual today. Half an hour earlier than I had planned in addition to the half hour I intended, and I actually willed myself to get out of bed when I realized this. Good start.

So I was off to work an hour earlier. The sky was blue, the sun was shining, and I'm not sure about the birds but I was in a great mood regardless. Gray days of winter begone. It's a New Year.

Little did I know some idiots had tried to derail the trains at Stockholm Central this particular morning. About four hours earlier police had been called in, commuter trains (and other trains) came to a standstill, and out in Bro the platform was barren, the signs blank, and in the loudspeakers an unpersonal robot voice kept relaying: Traffic information: Delays and canceled departures may occur in commuter train traffic following previous police action. Over and over.

I started getting a bit aggravated. I paced around the platform at first (it's good exercise), but eventually gave up and stood still and stubborn, until my feet started to numb and I unwillingly barreled off again on my round. It took over an hour before the first train rolled in... and another half before it reached the next station (the final one on the line) and rolled in again headed back towards Stockholm City.

I did contemplate alternative travel routes, but by bus it would've been over four hours. By car it would have cost. By replacement buses... oh wait there were none. No replacements, no information and no alternate travel routes. No good.

Finally the train did come, and I jumped aboard, but on our way: traffic slowed to a crawl. One station before Stockholm City I jumped off and ran to the subway to circumvent the blockade our conductor warned might lie ahead of us - delaying all potential progress between said two stations.

I ran all stairs (good exercise), caught the first subway train, made it to Stockholm City in good time and jumped on the first commuter train bound South, and waited... after a while someone told us we were waiting on a driver. So we waited some more... eventually the guy popped up on the speakers again and recommended we take the train on the other side of the platform instead, because this might be one long wait.

So I jumped on that train, we pulled out of the station, and onward... and I finally made it to work! Not an hour earlier as I'd hoped, but an hour later. And then some.

My commute time is usually forty minutes. Today it was over three hours.

The thing is I could have stayed home that extra hour and done something useful - like sleep, instead of standing around on a cold platform for over an hour, playing Driver Renegade 3D on the train for another hour, and scurrying between trains and platforms and subway halls for that other half. But oh well, these things happen. At least no trains were derailed, at least it's still a first-world problem rant, and at least I'll be compensated 19 SEK if I spend another ten minutes filling in a questionnaire about the delay! Which I have, btw, it's a symbolic sum.

The skies are gray and cloudy and dark now, and I'm no longer really feeling that New Year spirit and resolve, but tomorrow's a new day, and good times are coming up! First vacation of the year's due this weekend. :) Just hope I don't miss the flight again.

With today in mind I might just take the commuter train to the bus to the airport a bit earlier than I had planned...

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