December 14, 2011
by Mike Reali in London, England
Day Two, blogging from a Welcome Break (aka Rest Stop), eating ready made microwavable spinach dal, 90 miles from our London hostel. After an unexpected (but not disastrous) train delay on day one, we were unable to make it to the port in time to pick up the ambulance before it closed. So Dennis and I got to explore Liverpool a bit and pick up the ambulance (mostly) jet-lag free in the morning. Liverpool’s not a bad place to be stuck for a night at all. Some fish and chips and a hot toddy (it’s freezing here) did the trick, and I was out like a brick (rhyme unintended) by 10:30. Our port experience in the UK has been loads easier than its US counterpart. Phil, our customs agent, suggested places to stay, picked us up in the morning, and took us to the port. All of the necessary paperwork was a breeze, and everyone was very friendly. Most fortunately though, we were able to shoot a lot of photos and video. (Arranging permission in advance helps.) We were meant to be shooting just the ambulance, but nobody seemed to mind me photographing the surroundings, and at one point a dock worker even suggested I photograph a ship as it left the port! The ambulance, predictably, didn’t start. The battery had been left on despite our detailed instructions taped to the dashboard. A jump didn’t work, and the can of quick starting fluid that we’d left in a cabinet for just this occurrence was apparently the only thing that was taken from the ambulance. So we had some tea with a couple seasoned dock workers until someone showed up with another can for us. The sound of that engine firing up was like a symphony, and after a quick visit to Pauline for our gate pass we were off! Driving on the left hand side took a little extra concentration at the start but you quickly get used to it. The drive back to London is about four hours, and we’ve got about an hour and a half to go. Dennis is studiously working on the details of how we’ll receive the rest of our supplies and donated goods that we’d shipped separately. Tomorrow we’ll pick up our packages from UPS, and most importantly the rest of our team!