Thursday, August 8 – Friday, August 9
I worked today before my 8pm flight – but didn’t walk enough
and when you are going to be stuck on a plane for 10+ hours, getting in your
steps becomes very important. So after my very slow (not just because of
traffic, but because my driver really like the right lane, never once getting
in the HOV lane!) Lyft to the airport I got through TSA, got to my gate and
began my pacing. I got to the airport with only 4,500 steps and had just over
an hour to get the rest of my 10,000 steps in – so I paced and I paced. I ended
up grabbing my Kindle and reading and pacing – Im sure as it got closer to
boarding the people were getting annoyed with my pacing – but I don’t care – I
was on a mission!
I hit 10,000 steps (insert happy dance here) right as
boarding was to begin. I saw some people queuing – they call that “gate lice”
in Passenger shaming terms – and I wasn’t going to be one of them. They
announced that the systems had crashed and that there would be a delay in
boarding. It only lasted about 10 minutes, but once we were able to board, it
went very slow, the computers were running slow and there were only half the
amount of check in computers available. Because of my Platinum status on
American I got to board with the elites on the flight – well after first class
I had asked before the flight if the middle seat was taken
and they confirmed it was, I am bummed because I changed my seat last night so
I could have an open seat. Once I was by my seat the guy on the aisle was
already on the plane (he must be status too) and since boarding was going slow
because of the delay, I opted to put my pillow and technology bag on my seat
and go stand in the galley
The flight attendants I talked to were just amazing and
hysterical. We talked about how crazy the TSA regulations in the states are, as
well as the UK version. For example, in the States the flight attendants don’t
have a liquid allowance, but in the UK they do. And in the UK the armed forces
can take their riffles and guns through security as long as they have a pass,
but they cannot take water, as it may be used as a weapon – as opposed to the
guns they have with them?!
We also talked about how crazy people are on airplanes and
having to detain people mid-flight. Theyre given four types of situations and
the solutions to all of them. Once of the flight attendants is a volunteer
police officer in his town – and he knows (or seems to know) his stuff.
Boarding was complete; I had to return to my seat, and to my
surprise, the middle seat was open! Woohoo! I had to bother the aisle guy again
to get in and that’s when I noticed it – I was in a window seat with no
window!! However, the lack of window actually means Ill be warmer on the flight
since there is no window, there is no loss of heat!
They served the first mean about an hour and a half into the
flight. I was really trying to exhaust myself so I stayed awake for it. They
had what they called “red chicken curry” or the “vegetarian option” (I never
did figure out what that actually was). I went with the curry; there was
nothing “curry” about it, I never actually saw or tasted any curry – but it
tasted really good. Simple salad, roll, dinner and some lemon custard, jello
thing for dessert.
I don’t recall much after I finished eating because I fell
asleep, and I slept hard! According to my FitBit I slept for over 5 hours. Im
glad I brought my full size pillow (yes I know, judge away, but the Dr said it
would help my back and he was right) it made sleeping so easy.
I woke up a bit before we landed – I missed breakfast (which
is always my favorite part of the meals). We had left about 30 minutes late and
arrived about 20 minutes early – yeah!!
After deplaning, came customs – many countries now have a
chip in the passport that means you can bypass the annoying passport control
people – it also means you don’t get a stamp – but I already have a London
Heathrow stamp, so that’s fine by mean. I needed to get to the Underground
station. I followed the signs and bought a ticket – I ran into someone who
works for the Underground and he said it was delayed about 40 minutes and so I
should take the TFN train and transfer along the way to the Underground. I
followed all the directions and made it to the transfer point. The ticket guy
there wasn’t as friendly as the airport – but he wasn’t mean. He kept trying to
keep my card and I kept asking for it back – finally he opened the gate and let
me have my ticket back.
My Airbnb was only about a 7 minute walk from the Kings
Cross Station (trains and Underground). His directions to get to his place were
spot on – but Google did assist a bit. The host, Mike, must be a shy guy. He
lives, sleeps and works in 60% of the flat and the remaining is a storage
closet, shared bathroom and guest room. It’s a great set up for Airbnb and its
on the first floor (or in every other country in the world, the zero level). We
chatted for a bit, I reviewed the binder he had set out for important
information of the area, put on shorts and headed out to explore.
The moment I went to walk out the front door it dumped rain
– so I ran back in to get my rain jacket that I had decided at the last minute
to bring, sure glad I did that! I decided to put in the GPS – Westminster Abbey
– since there is a lot to see and do in that area. I started the one-hour
journey by foot and had to stop once because it was raining so hard.
On my way I decided to add a stop at the British Museum . It has been ages (like 15 years??) to my route – it was halfway between my flat and Westminster Abbey. Its free to get into the museum, I had forgotten this. They ask for a $5 donation – but its not required. You can now even text a number and make your donation that way!
I wanted to check out the Rosetta Stone again – its just a great part of history!! Its shocking to think that we learned so much from this stone – that before was just a guess! I walked around a bit more and then continued on my walk, I was getting hungry. My walk took me through the off-Broadway theater neighborhood – very busy, everyone is out on this Friday night to go see a show. I decided I was really hungry now so I looked for a place to eat and finally decided on an Italian place.
I got myself some olives and pizza with a 7up and water.
Literally EVERYTHING tastes better here. A big reason is they don’t allow
artificial colors (like Fanta isn’t cartoon orange, its like orange juice
orange), and they don’t modify their food either. They don’t cut pizza here –
you cut each bite yourself. I really like that because it forces me to eat
slower. I wrote out (and re-wrote my boarding pass writing) most of this blog there.
Once the food is delivered I switch over to reading (current read: Nelson
After dinner I continued my venture over to Westminster
Abbey. Last time I was here Big Ben was under construction, it has been over 2
years since Ive been here so I expected it to be cleared – but when I got to
the neighborhood I realized in fact there was ever MORE scaffolding that
before!! They are doing a full restoration of the Parliament and Big Ben (much
needed). Its an amazingly large project, but it will be great when its done. I
walked around a bit, went to the Abbey gates and then hopped on the Tube back
to the Airbnb. I was exhausted and worn out – exactly what I needed to sleep
through the night.