(London) -- It's Tuesday afternoon here in London where I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to get to a technology conference in Alicante, Spain by Thursday and to Bahrain early next week. In theory, my flight from London Gatwick to Alicante is scheduled to operate Thursday afternoon but as this ash cloud bounces across the skies of the UK and Europe all travel plans are well, "up in the air."
I'm expected to be on a panel in Alicante over the weekend and give a speech in the gulf Kingdom of Bahrain early next week at an Internet safety conference If I can't get to Spain, it's not clear if I'll be able to get to Bahrain and if I can't get to Bahrain, I'm not sure how and when I'll get home since my return flight is from that other island -- in the Persian Gulf. Even when planes start flying, anyone without a reservation is likely to be sitting on the ground for quite awhile.
So, yes, it's quite stressful but it could be worse. I'm not destitute and have friends and work to do in London. Besides, thanks to the Internet and Skype I can work and make phone calls to my heart's content. I feel sorry for people traveling on a shoestring who are facing unplanned hotel bills. My heart reaches out to people who can't get back to their small children or their jobs.
It's kind of ironic as I sit here connected to the world via high-speed Internet yet unable to physically get out of the U.K. The technology that allows virtual travel is working fine but that other marvelous technology -- the airplane -- is useless against this particular force of nature.
The other irony is that older travel technology is working fine. Trains are running and boats are sailing and, ultimately, that is how I might be able to find my way to Spain. It's not easy and it's certainly not fast, but there are ways to get to Spain via train and boat.
My hope is to catch a ride on "Gordan's Ark" which is how one London tabloid described the Royal Navy ships that British Prime Minister Gordan Brown has dispatched to Spain to ferry stranded British citizens back to their home country. Those ships need to make round trips and I'm trying to figure out how to get on one going from England to Spain. If anyone here has connections with the Navy or the Labour goverment, please tweet me or send me a Facebook message. Failing that, perhaps you can recommend some good restaurants in London. I might be here awhile.
Found out last night that the conference in Spain was canceled just as British and European officials announced that flights would resume. Had they made the announcement a few hours earlier, the conference might not have been canceled. Now my challenge is to find a way to Bahrain.