And awake again! Kind of. Because the trip home sure was extra exhausting... but I'm getting ahead of myself.
So let's start off at the beginning, which was last Thursday, the 26th. That was the day I set off on my epic journey (ahem). It's usually quite easy; it's a drive of about an hour from where I live to the airport, and I have my father to drive me, so that went off pretty much without a hitch. Pretty much, because as it turns out they're doing a whole lot of construction on the freeway around the airport, adding tunnels and overpasses and offramps and onramps and heck do I know what else. So it was rather chaotic, and made for some interesting driving through the roadworks with slews of people who could not figure out where exactly they had to go and shifting lanes at the last moment and whatnot.
But that aside, it went easily enough and we arrived at the airport well in time, because I always make sure to get there more than well in advance. And the plane left on time, too! The recently changed policies of KLM did mean that I would have to pay extra to bring any checked luggage, so I had decided to just bring my small suitcase and not the big one, because I can take the small one as hand luggage. Of course, not everything fit in there, so I had to take a few things out again and leave them at home, and bring an extra carrier bag to transport my magazine for the journey and my plush tigress who always travels with me, because with her in the suitcase I couldn't get the thing closed. Good thing I still had a plastic Confuzzled bag from two years ago, so I was all set!
Anyways, in any way I was at the airport way in time, checked in at the machine, and go right through because I didn't have any luggage to check in, and the plane even left on time, too. I have to admit, though; the pilot put it on the ground on the Bristol airport runway a bit roughly. But again everything went smooth, I went straight through customs and into the arrivals hall where I already spotted :iconRorschfox: waiting for me. We went to the parking meter thing, paid for the ticket, got on the shuttle bus to the parking lot, got into his car and drove off to the Bristol Premier Inn (there's two we know of, but this one we tend to always stay in because it's closest, we have very good experiences with it, and not unimportantly, it has a very good restaurant. Of course, there was a road closure near the hotel so we couldn't get directly to it, but fortunately the (slightly temperamental at times) sat-nav guided us around the closed road and we got to the hotel easily. And yes, we had a really good meal there.
So the next day we set off for Birmingham. Lots of freeway to cover, but it went surprisingly smoothly, despite several roadworks. And we even got there without getting lost even once (Rorschfox has a reputation to uphold about getting lost >~_^<). Since it was so early still when we got there, we left everything in the car because we knew we wouldn't be able to check into the hotel itself until 3PM. We did walk right into the convention registration, though, that was rather surprising, but very nice! As always, we were sponsors, so we got the nice goodie bag and everything. There had been an email before telling us that the supplier from which they were getting the decorated glasses had been unable to fulfill the order but had supplied small aluminum drink bottles instead, and they're very nice too! And this year the sponsors did not only get a T-shirt in the goodie bag, but a hoodie as well! Nice!
So, checked into the hotel, got to the room to drop off our stuff, and pretty much hung out, really, as there was not yet much to do. All the actual stuff would be starting the next day. For us, that meant getting into art show to put in the pictures that Rorschfox had enetered for the art show, and getting into the dealer's den to set up the table. We were nicely situated, too; across from :iconUltrafox: and right next to :iconPanHesekielShiroi:! She did the awesomest sketch for me in my sketchbook, too! I will be uploading that later, so keep your eyes pealed!
As I was assisting Rorschfox in the dealer's den, I got the full access as well, and it meant I could nip out whenever I wanted to get drinks or some food or to smoke a cigarette or just to stretch my legs (which unfortunately I have to do a lot due to my embolism troubles). The funny thing was, I had brought my 3DS, with Pokemon Shuffle and Omega Red on the system drive, and Animal Crossing; New Leaf in the cartridge holder. Not exactly to do a lot of playing games, but more for picking up Streetpasses from other people since I expected a lot of other furries to have similar devices with them. Well, they suuuure did! Haha! Every five minutes I slightly pulled the thing from my pocket and saw the bright green light flashing to show me there were new Streetpass/Spotpass notifications, hee! And walking around with the thing in my pocket meant I picked up a lot of Playcoins as well!
*chuckles* Rorschfox and me did agree that were are slowly getting too old for all this amazing convention stuff, though. After the dealer's den we'd get some food from the Streetvendors that were set up in the hotel lobby, nommed the food, stepped outside to smoke a cigarette (well, me, because he don't smoke), then go up to our room, sit on the bed with the DS to play a bit, and we'd have fallen asleep before 6PM had passed, haha. Then around 9PM I'd wake up to take my medication, and we'd close the curtains, got into our beds and went right back to sleep, haha. Every evening, too! We're such old sods, hee!
I did get a lot of writing done in the dealer's den, though! I started working on the new part of Hazel's story where she's going to explore Nezinoma Salis with Summer Sky, and I wrote a good 11 A4 pages full of story! I've done the first two parts of her story already, which are posted in my FA gallery and will be reposted here soon too, and I will be typing all that handwritten text up later, so the next story should be up relatively soon as well!
The next days were pretty much similar, to be quite honest. Get up around 6AM, shower one by one, go to the breakfast lounge around 7AM, have breakfast, smoke a cigarette, (see people hanging around outside who had not even slept yet, let alone had breakfast yet), go back up to our room to mess around with the 3DSWes a bit, go back down to get into the dealer's den around 9AM, close up between 4 and 5PM, get food, nom it, have a cigarette, go up to the room, pretty much fall asleep till 9PM, take meds, and go right back to sleep.
We did attend the art auction, though, which was pretty darn funny! Even if there were not very many people there, and they closed it a bit early too because there was a Zootopia/Zootropolis showing scheduled after the art auction.
And of course, I had thought to bring my camera, so when the fursuit parade started coming through the dealer's den, I had it at the ready and started recording. I didn't even get halfway through the parade before my camera went "BATTERIES EMPTY" and shut itself off. And the ONE thing I had NOT thought to bring... you guessed it. Oh well, but at least I did still get a good bit of the parade on video.
*chuckles* The last day was a bit of a let-down due to our physical condition and age getting the better of us. We WERE gonna see the Pawpet show, which always is the highlight of the convention. Well, we got over to where it would be, so we would be in time to get into the line. We know, from plenty of previous experiences, that it always starts half an hour to an hour and a half late. But well, hanging there on a couch waiting for the queues to be set up, we found that we wouldn't even be able to make it to the line; we were just completely bushed. So we went back up to our room as well, since we also knew we had to get on the road the next day pretty early *chuckles* We did consider tuning into Confuzzled TV to see the Pawpet show in our room, but, well... we'd fallen asleep before we'd even finished considering whether or not to do that, haha.
You will notice that Confuzzled has already ended a few days ago, and I'm only back now. That's because this year, we had decided to things a little different. Rorschfox has taken me along as dealer's assistant to Eurofurence a couple of times as well in the past, and as he picks me up at home in that case, he got to meet my parents and see where I live and everything. This year, we tacked on a couple of days of extra vacation so I could go along with him to where he lives and meet his parents and see the lovely tourist-y town he lives in and everything. That was really nice too!
(*chuckles* There was a tiiiiiny bit of a disappointment though; he lives close to Torquay, and people as old as me and familiar with very good British comedy series will remember that Torquay has been the site of the infamous Fawlty Towers hotel. I knew that even after the building had been deserted after the show had stopped, it had caught fire once, but was more or less saved, so I had hoped we might pass by it and I could get a photo of it, or at least catch a glimpse. But unfortunately, it was completely gone. Ah well, it's a shame, but at least I can say I have passed by the site where the hotel of one of my favorite comedy series used to be)
We stayed at a local Premier Inn hotel, too, and went back for a last overnight at the Bristol Premier Inn the next day. Those hotels really are amazing; if you're not from England and you're planning to go there sometime, either for Confuzzled or just for a vacation, I can really recommend the Premier Inns.
*chuckles* Of course, getting there was a hassle because the sat-nav made us tour through pretty much the entirety of Bristol!
So, my flight back home was going to be at 5:25PM. We stayed in the hotel as long as we could, then sat in the car on the parking lot for a while more, and eventually started making our way to the airport. And again the sat-nav showed us the scenic route; we've seen more of Bristol in those two drives than we every had before on all the previous trips! But we got the airport well in time, I self-checked in well in time, got through Customs easy enough, and then started the long wait until I would see my flight announced on the departures boards. After a while it did, I moved to another set of seats (because the first floor only has 4 gates, the other 30 or so are one floor higher, and I knew my flight would be leaving from about gate 10 or so; you do have to wait until the gate number is announced on the board though). Well, soon as I got there, I saw my flight showing in orange; delayed 20 minutes. Then 30 minutes. Then another little while later it showed "gate opens 5:10PM". Ah, well, okay. Took a bathroom break, walked past the entrances to gates 17-34 towards the entrances for gates 5-10, sat down there, and checked the board to see... my 5:25 flight being delayed till 6:15. Greeeeeeeeeat... With the time difference, I already knew my flight would, at normal time, arrive at Schiphol airport at a quarter to 8PM my time, after which I needed to get a train to Utrecht Central Station, and from there a bus to where I live, which meant I would be lucky to be home near 10PM my time. And now my flight was delayed almost an hour... wonderful.
It did leave at 6:15, though. I managed to get a 9 o'clock train to Utrecht (where I almost completely lost my bearings because they are totally redoing the station hall and the bus stations and a whooooole lot more), decided to not even get anything to eat despite my last food having been the hotel breakfast but went right on to the buses, caught a late bus back to my town, and it was totally packed, too! And then still a good bit of a walk from the nearest bus stop to my place... I ended up getting into the house at about 10:45PM. With the added bonus that the next morning, this morning, I had to get up at 7AM again because I had a blood test. Phew!
So yeah, the trip back home was a bit of a drag (actually, a big drag). But aside from that, it was all so much worth it! I missed last year's Confuzzled, so I was really glad to be able to attend again this year, because I missed it a bunch! Even if it was exhausting for us, it was so very much fun! And I will be going back again next year, too!
*chuckles* So, yeah. Back home now, back to work! I have a lot of hand-written text to type out for Hazel's story, and finish up that story as well so I can post it! And post the scan of the sketch Pan Hesekiel Shiroi did for me! It's totally brilliant!