I have been the first one to trumpet the efficiency of the Brits and most particularly the Dutch but this trip has been an eye opener. I had a number of less than stellar experiences and was frankly quite disappointed.
Heathrow terminal one is a disaster. If you, for instance, want to fly in to Heathrow and then transfer to a flight to Ireland its a nightmare. After you ride on a bus for 10 minutes from terminal 3 to terminal 1 and go through security (I have never understood this one since you come from the airside of the airport) you then have a literally 25 minute WALK to your plane. that’s well over a mile. I had at least three bad experiences in restaurants in both countries. People are listless. They just don’t seem to care at all.
I could list crabby London Cabbies (unheard of), incredible poor service in a computer store, where I never did get waited on, the "four star" hotel in Amsterdam for $200 a night that had foam rubber for the mattress, The clearing of security not once but twice at Schipol to get to the plane– that’s right, once to get into the airport proper, full body search, and once again at the gate, full body search.)
Don’t get me wrong — I have been going to the UK and Holland for nearly 30 years. I know what to expect and when to expect it. Taking into consideration my advanced age and my membership card in the curmudgeon club, I found the "little things" just falling apart.
The most shocking part of the trip was the arrival at LAX. I expected the usual 45 minute fiasco. I was through immigration without breaking stride (well almost, I did stop and nearly drop my teeth when the officer actually smiled at me and welcomed me home), and that was it.
I’m back now, and should catch up on the blog in a day or so..