Trying to get to Cargo Service Centre at Heathrow

A tale of woe and stress – all we wanted to do was ship a box, a suitcase and a hammock to Tanzania…

  1. Got the wrong bus, because driver #1 said the 555 didn’t go there, and driver #2 said ‘the H50 did’.Both lied.
  2. Asked for directions and were given directions that involved walking along a muddy roadside verge. So decided to walk in the opposite direction. We located a bridge which we used to cross the unmentioned canals.
  3. Walking very far and finding that we weren’t reaching the roundabout we had been told about.
  4. Deciding to call Cargo Service Centre to find where it is, and discovering we had lost the piece of paper with the phone number on.
  5. Walking back on our tracks to another cargo place to ask for directions, and finding we were going the right way before we backtracked.
  6. Discovering that it was never intended that anyone would ever walk around in the Heathrow area to actually go anywhere. Hence the footpaths stopped and started, apparently at random.
  7. reaching Cargo Service Centre, going to the most obvious door to find it was the incorrect door.
  8. Having to show ID to get to the correct door, and not having a reference number.
  9. Getting to the counter and encountering the least helpful man in Surrey.
  10. Not knowing what to write in the consignee details box and told “if you sent a letter you would have to put an address on it”. I thought we picked our stuff up at the airport when we got there.
  11. Not having Leah’s address or phone number, and having to call Phil for them.
  12. Not knowing what to put down in a) the value for customs; and b) the value for shipment fields, and the least helpful man in Surrey not wanting or able to explain why there are two boxes and what the difference is.
  13. Yuki thinking she had lost her keys – they were in my pocket.
  14. Things took a turn for the better – another man explained what to put in the two boxes(“Cross out £500 for Customs, and write ‘personal effects’)
  15. Got our bags weighed – 27.5 kilos. It cost £94.70 to ship the stuff.
  16. After we got back from weighing everyone was nice to us.
  17. Yuki very nearly getting a raspberry Tracker out of the snack machine instead of a Snickers. Luckily she got the Crunchie I wanted on the first attempt, despite trying for her choice.
  18. Waiting for the bus and flagging down a 208. Asking the driver if it went to the airport. It didn’t and he wasn’t very happy about being asked. He gave me the dirtiest look in Surrey. Yuki saw it, not me.
  19. Getting the 557 and discovering that travelcards are valid on it, so we each had to pay £1 to go a very short distance.
  20. After lighting up a cigarrette, the bus driver decided to have a look at the tenner we had handed him, and decided that it was counterfeit. He called back to us. I didn’t want to take the tenner back in case he had switched it, and told Yuki to sit back down with me.
  21. The bus driver continued to complain about the tenner, so I told him of my suspicions. He pulled over behind a police van, and we couldn’t/wouldn’t pay another £2. Eventually he said to us he wasn’t going to chuck us off the bus, he just didn’t want the “dodgy” tenner. We gave him £1.50 and the change he had given us for the tenner. Hegave the “dodgy” tenner back. He showed us how he thought it was dodgy – it didn’t have the circular foil, but the old threaded one. It was in fact an old Dickens tenner. We must have stuffed it into our piggy bank a couple of years ago.
  22. When we got off the bus we went to an American Express Bureau de Change at terminal 4, and showed the tenner to the cashier and told her the story. She looked at it and said it was fine, then swapped it for a new Darwin tenner. “He must have been an idiot”.

It was at this point that we were fully able to look back on what had happened as an adventure with some amusing points.

What did we learn?

  • Heathrow is not designed for pedestrians;
  • People at Heathrow think everything is a lot closer that it really is because they usually drive;
  • The majority of people at Heathrow are miserable;
  • There is a farm at Heathrow, but it is empty. Perhaps the farmer committed suicide.
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