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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

how to get to London

As the plane touched down on one of Heathrow's runways I was fairly vibrating with anticipation.  John, my friend and traveling companion, grabbed our luggage from the overhead compartment. Minutes later I stepped foot, for the very first time,  in the airport featured so prominently as a place of true joy and happy reunion in that classic Everyman movie, Love Actually.

It was everything I wanted it to be. Although no one was there to great us personally, I felt as though England and I would become quite good friends. Thus, we began the second leg of our journey - waiting in queue for approximately a kabillion hours in customs.*

By the time we arrived at Victoria Station  (rail to Paddington, one wrong train, and then the Circle Line to Victoria) we were both exhausted. My inner excitement hadn't waned, but I needed a caffeine fix to make up for the sleep stolen by the Time Zone Bandit.  John doesn't drink coffee, but the traveling had zapped his energy as well. So we checked into the hotel, located an appropriate nourishment vendor, in this case a Costa, and noshed. Coffee for me, tea for John and we were on our way.

Before we bought tickets for a Big Bus,*  and sunscreen (so responsible!) we decided to arm ourselves with Underground Passes for the week.

"Do you mind if I ask you some questions, then?" the man behind the counter asked.
 I had asked his advice: Oyster Card for the week? Or daily passes?

"Where do you think you'll be visiting the most of?" he smiled. His English accent was so thick I could have hidden four of Fagen's boys inside.***  I rattled off a list of places, including my intention to visit St. Mungo's.
I told him, "I'm a nurse."

"A nurse!" he exclaimed. Then he lowered his voice conspiratorially.
 "I have kidney stones," he said. "I mean, I'm passing one right now.. hopefully today. But you probably don't want to hear all that."

"I've heard worse," I laughed, "go on."
So he did.

Overhearing this conversation, John approached the counter. The man initially mistook him for a doctor,  ("you medical folk will have a splendid time!" ) but was just as pleased to find out John is a writer.

Not in the country even four hours and we made a friend. Not too shabby, London.
* Ah, the romance of the road!
** More on that later...
*** Oliver! jokes!

1 comment:

liz said...

Oliver jokes!! I'm dying!!!