Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

Spoke too soon !!

"Nearly back home from the jungle" was the title of my last blog post as I flew out of the Amazon rainforest and got an internet connection in Manaus. Well I am still only "nearly back home" because once again it seems that a bit of snow/adverse weather conditions has ground the UK transport system to a halt. Gordon and I got to Miami airport in plenty of time late yesterday afternoon after the obligatory trip to the massive Bass Pro shop at the nearby Dolphin Mall (if you have not been to a Bass Pro store it will blow your mind - I get short of breath, it's like a fishing Tesco) to be told that our BA flight home had been cancelled and would we like to spend an extra night and most of the next day (today) in Miami ? As if we had a choice !! OK, so the staff on the BA desk could not have been kinder, and if you are going to get delayed on the way home then I can think of worse places than somewhere warm where the hotels have free wi-fi, air-con and coffee, but of course it drives me mad that back in good old Blighty we can't even cope with a bit of winter weather...........

OK, so it's a bit rich you might be thinking for me to be stuck here in Miami criticising our UK transport system - yes, it's nice and warm here with big blue skies and back home you've got cold and snow and a transport system that basically can't cope with it as far as I can tell. But let's stop and think about it for a minute - it's not as if we get much snow when compared say to Norway or Canada and they seem to carry on just fine, yet the moment a bit of the white stuff falls on UK ground the country seems to grind to a complete standstill. And if it's not snow causing disruption it's rain, winds or the wrong kind of leaves. I can remember when we had a bit of snow down in the westcountry a few years back and it was like Armageddon had arrived with the stories on the local news. But for all my questioning of how we deal with a bit of adverse weather back home, it changes not a thing - because I am still stuck here in Miami many thousands of miles away from home and all I want to do is to get home and see my family.

I love what I do and I know how incredibly privileged I am to go and see/photograph/experience the kinds of places that I sometimes work in. If you asked me what man's most incredible invention was I would always say air travel, indeed I sometimes think we take it for granted that we can jump on a plane and journey around the world with such comparative ease when compared say to spending weeks or months at sea on a boat. But the simple fact for me is that however quick and amazing the whole concept of air travel is, I don't ever see a way around the whole system that is airports, immigration procedures, waiting around, queuing, delays, security etc. It strikes me that for the ability to reach the far-flung corners of our awesome world in such short times we must on the flipside accept the inevitable ups and downs. Taking the rough with the smooth if you like. Anybody who has travelled through Miami airport for example will know what I am talking about - coming in from the UK and then back from Brazil as we have done on this trip was a couple of nearly two hour "experiences" to get through the US passport control/immigration system. What can you do about it ? Absolutely nothing if you want to get into the US - which I do, increasingly. I love this country and there is so much of it that I want to see. You queue up with the hundreds of other people and go through the process, knowing in reality that it's still pretty incredible that only a half-day or so ago you were standing on (cold) British soil and now you're halfway around the world - after spending that half-day or so cooped up in cattle class breathing truly horrible air and trying to eat the edible parts of a pretty filthy meal without putting your elbows into your neighbour's face I grant you, unless that is you are one of those fortunate people who enter an airplane and turn left instead of right like us mere mortals !! Believe me, working in fishing ain't ever going to get me out of cattle class, but I balance it out with the amazing places I am so fortunate to see with my work. I still pinch myself on trips like these that somebody like me is getting to experience some of the best fishing there is, but those of you with children out there will know how increasingly tough it is to be away from them. At the end of the day I can pretty easily deal with these delays, but the thing that breaks me the most is building up to seeing my family again and then having that to contain that excitement for a little while longer while the weather does its thing - and knowing that my girls and my wife are (I hope !!) looking forward to seeing me and expecting me home on a certain day and now aren't going to see me for a bit longer. It's called travel and it is what it is.

Presuming that sometime this week I actually make it home, then next Tuesday I am flying to a country for a few days of meetings/various things (more to come) where it's going to be I believe seriously below zero - talk about a change to Miami and Brazil, and I believe that this country I am going to pretty successfully deals with snow and cold weather as naturally as perhaps we should be doing so in the UK. Or is that merely wishful thinking on my part as I sit here in my hotel room in Miami editing my photos from the Brazilian Amazon ? Hopefully the next time you hear from me I shall be at my desk in my home in Cornwall..............

Henry Gilbey4 Comments