Friday, September 5, 2008

I slept. On the plane.

I am amazed by this, as I've only been able to do it recently, and even then, not for very long.  But after watching Ocean's 13 on the tiny little screen (same way I watched Ocean's 12), I put on my eye shades, reclined my seat all of 4 inches, thought I sat there for about 45 minutes -- and the next thing I heard was "we're beginning our initial descent into Heathrow."  I probably slept for 6 hours.  Much joy.

I needed the sleep.  That's an understatement -- I'd had about 4 hours the night before, and had been up too late all week.  And there was much to do upon my arrival.

- Outrace everyone on the plane to Immigration

- Wait in very long line at Immigration (because I couldn't outrace people from other planes).

- Get allowed in country.  (The agent asked how long I was staying.  I said until Monday.  He actually looked at his watch.)

- Get bags.

- Go to high-speed train station.

- (Miss train by a minute.)

- Get next train to London

- Leave bags at Left Baggage.  (This is where I discovered the only flaw in my otherwise perfect plan.  Left Baggage at Paddington Station closes at 11:00 p.m.  I really needed a 24 hour Left Baggage.)

- Take underground to other rail station.

- It is 4:52.  I need to make a 5:00 train to meet a friend in Warwickshire.  The ticket machine refuses to read my credit card and I end up having to wait in line for an agent.  By the time I get my ticket, it is 4:58.  I run for the train.  The train is at a far platform.  I run and jump on.  A couple jumps on after me, asking, "Is this the train to Birmingham?"  Winded, I catch my breath and say, "I have no idea."  Train leaves.  (It does, indeed, go to Birmingham.)

- I arrive at 6:30.  (You see that Left Baggage Closing at 11:00 problem?)  I call my friend (as I hadn't been able to call in advance and tell her what train I'd be on.)  She picks me up in 10 minutes.

- She takes me back to her house.  Cooks me a plate of pasta.  We talk while I toss back food (and briefly say hi to her husband and kids).  By 8:00, we had to leave for the train station, so I'd get on the 8:15.  (The next train out would return me at 10:35, an underground ride away from Paddington.  If it was even 10 minutes late, I'd be totally screwed.)

- Returned to London, trying not to think about spending twice as long on trains as my visit with my friend.  Underground to Paddington; luggage redeemed.  Taxi to hotel.

- Check in hotel.  Room on 2nd floor.  Noisy street noise outside my window.  I call to the desk and ask to be moved.  He puts me on hold, then tells me he has no spare rooms.  I am annoyed, but figure I'm stuck.  I use the restroom.  (This will be the second flaw in my otherwise perfect plan.)  I go downstairs in the hopes of wheedling another room out of him  in person.  He then says, "Have you used the room?"  I admit having peed.  He then says there's nothing he can do.

- LIAR!  I point out that I hadn't used the room when I'd called down and he'd said there were no more rooms, and only used it when he told me I was stuck here.  Now, apparently, there WERE rooms I could switch to, but I can't have them because my behind has touched their perfectly sanitized toilet seat.  (I would ask to speak to the manager at this point, but, rather annoyingly, he IS the manager.)  He tells me the street noise is coming from a bar, and they have to close soon, so it'll get quiet once everyone goes home.  I point out that it will be this noisy again tomorrow.  He agrees and says he'll move me tomorrow.  I should leave all my stuff packed up in my room when I leave in the morning, and they'll put me someplace else.  He promises to put a note in the system.  I'm dubious, but go with it.

- I also buy an hour of internet access, so I can make some use of the time while waiting for the bar to empty (and not unpacking).  It's about midnight now.  I can still hear drunk people yelling outside my window, but hopefully the exhaustion will cancel that out.


1 comment:

rdautumnsage said...

I'm exhausted just reading about what you had to go through. Wow! (hugs)Indigo