Day 2 - Sunday 1/31/2010
Oh boy was this a day! My second flight was great. It was a redeye from phili to London. Apparently we sat on the tarmac for 1-1/2 hours waiting for the pilot, preflight checks, and de-icing, but no matter….we took off, or so I assume. This is merely an assumption because Aunt Coreen’s tip proved true. The seat next to me was empty, I had a few blankets (yes, more than 1!), and thus I fell asleep within minutes of getting on board. The sleeping pill I took to ensure this may have helped, but nonetheless, I woke up for the movie and dinner, then passed out again, waking as we were landing. I should have skipped the movie altogether, assuming that anything the airplane played would be doomed, but the Informant didn’t look awful. Like I said, I should have skipped the movie altogether.
Enough about travel…I’ll fast forward through the next 2 hours to the good part. Deplane, go to immigration (where I convince the guy who would remind you of Arthur Dent from Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy in excitement level, that yes I do want to stay in London for a month), pick up baggage, skip customs (it’s a wonder England even has the sign up), buy my favorite English chocolate bar (a Lion bar, and it was as good as I remember), buy an oyster card for the U, maneuver 2 giant bags and a backpack onto the underground on Picadilly line to Cockfosters (true), minded the gap on my way out, met up with Lisa and her boy Sierra at Pret a Manger, and unloaded all my bags at Lisa’s amazing London flat.
After a fantastic hot shower (see, I’m speaking British already!), I realize I’m officially a London tourist. Crap! I totally forgot about this part. I spent so much time preparing and packing, I had no idea what to do once I got to London. Luckily, Lisa had some ideas. We took the U to London Bridge (not the infamous Tower Bridge that most people think is called London Bridge), stopped at a pub for mulled wine, a pint, and fish and chips (in that order), walked by Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, Tate Modern, wandered across the Millennium Bridge, walked by some filming event involving geese and teenagers eating (random), popped into st paul’s cathedral, and strolled down Fleet street (the old newspaper street).
Then I got to watch Lisa play in an all-girls volleyball league. Very aggressive. It was fun and a nice rest. Sadly they lost, but you’d never know it from the after party. We went to this great Brazillian place (their coach is from Brazil so she knew the hot spots). After a capriahno (sp?) and mojito, I was warm for the first time all day. Also there was a fun film-maker there from Columbia who was related to one of the volleyball players. He was the great artsy type, quite nice to look at, and loved talking about his films. Not one dorky engineer word was said the entire night. It was blissful!
Shockingly, the sky was gorgeous, not a cloud in sight, but that made it bitterly cold. Oh yea, and I didn’t bring a jacket, just a sweater and a plan to layer. Lisa and her Australian flat-mate laughed at me and she graciously offered to loan me a nice warm coat. We boarded a double decker bus back to Lisa’s and the day could finally end. It was awesome, but I was tired! Somehow airplane sleep just doesn’t really feel like sleep. Day 1 in London, and I realized was wrong about the mean thoughts I’ve had towards it since I left. It really is a nice place.
Time on a plane: 13 hours
Summary: Made it to London rested, walked by a lot of fantastic buildings, got a prerequisite pint, was chilled to the bone, and had a great sleep.