Thursday, March 10, 2011


Well, it’s been quite the day. And a half. Or two. I sort of lost count.

Actually, although I didn’ t know it at the time, the story begins on Tuesday night, when I was packing. And since I generally procrastinate packing, it was LATE Tuesday night. I made a list, put all the items from the list into packing cubes and folders, and put them all in a suitcase.

Er... not all. They wouldn’t all fit.

Now, I was planning on taking my red suitcase, and putting everything else in my matching red rolling duffel carryon. But it would have been AWFULLY tight. I’d have to wear the wool coat, and there wouldn’t be any room for souvenirs. Or, I could go back in all of the cubes and folders and take LESS stuff. Or I could just take another suitcase. (I have a green one that matches the red one.)

Checked online. Am flying Business Class (yay for points!) and I’m allowed three free checked bags. Fine. Let’s use two of them. It’s after midnight and I don’t want to repack. (I’ve course, I’ve only got two hands, so I have to switch to a backpack for the carryon. But since I’ve got tons of space in the two checked bags, this isn’t a problem.) I throw a few cubes in the green suitcase, and I’m done with it.

I do not pack my travel alarm clock. I’d brought it last time and ended up not using it, since I could use the alarm on my cell phone. So, yes, even though the travel alarm clock takes up, like, no space, I did not bring it.

So, Wednesday morning, get on plane at LAX. Connect at JFK. Arrive at Heathrow the next morning 12 hours later. I’m pretty sure I missed a night’s sleep somewhere in there, but, hey, whatever. London! Yay!!

Go through Passport Control. Go to baggage claim. Green bag is waiting for me.

You see where this is going? I certainly did.

At this point, I considered the contents of the bags. My “bathroom bag” is in the green bag. That’s a plus. So is my wool coat. Another plus. Jeans are in the other bag. So is underwear. Dawns on me that, in future, when taking two bags, it might be a good idea to more EVENLY split up the contents.

The nice people at the desk inform me that my red bag didn’t even make it on the plane in L.A. They put it on the next flight – a direct flight to Heathrow which should arrive at 12:45. It was noon at this point, and I didn’t really have to be anywhere. (Had a masssage appointment at 4, but that was about it.) I decide to wait.

The plane didn’t land until closer to 1:00. The bags didn’t start coming off until about 1:15. My bag was pretty much mid-pack. I get it, and finally get to clear customs and make my way out of Heathrow.

There’s free WiFi on the train out of Heathrow. I crank it up on my phone and check my email. Something odd is going on. My phone, using Wi-Fi and GPS, knows I’m in London. It really does. It even shows my location on the train track in Google maps. But, at the same time, it doesn’t know I’m in London. It thinks I’m in … I don’t know where the hell it thinks I am. It thinks the time is about 4 hours and 20 minutes off. I could understand five hours – it would be thinking I’m still on New York time. But this 20 minutes thing is just bizarre. I don’t know any time zone that has that current time.

(The time zones in my Google calendar app? They’re still in New York time.)

Make a mental note (which, with jet lag, is always a dodgy proposition) to buy an alarm clock in London. This is what I get for not packing my travel alarm, dammit.

Arrive at my central London hotel at 2:00 – I realize I have about an hour before I have to leave and find this massage establishment, assuming I want to take a shower before the massage. And, I mean, I do. I’ve been travelling and it’s only polite. So I quickly remove the cubes and folders from my bags, and put on a change of clothes. I am surprised to discover a “Hello, we pawed through your stuff” card from the TSA in the GREEN bag – that is, the bag that actually made the flight.

Shortly after 3:00, I make my way out of the hotel and hunt down the massage establishment in question. I’d been checking UK Groupon for months until I found one for a massage that I could use (ideally, one that didn’t require a mobile phone number for booking, as I don’t have a British mobile phone). I finally found and booked this one. So, I show up at the spa for my (pre-paid, inexpensive) massage.

You were going to get a whole journal article on the very interesting ways in which Ling beat me up. Also bent me into a variety of positions during the massage. Seriously. Not just “face down” and “flip over,” but “lean on your right side” and “put this leg over here.” I sum up: she moved my body around so much EXTERNALLY, it got things moving INTERNALLY so much that I, er, had to pass gas right there on the table. Twice.

From there, I stopped by a shop to pick up a damn travel alarm clock, got some cash for my travels tomorrow, and (and, again, I condense what was a very long story) wander the streets of London for about an hour while (a) killing time before meeting a friend for dinner; and (b) vainly looking for an internet cafe. I was actually supposed to meet the friend at a cupcake shop, but the shop was closed. Turned out ok, though, as the shop was rather near a restaurant I quite like, and I hadn’t eaten since the flight to Heathrow, so a real meal was definitely welcome. Friend quite liked the restaurant too. I was very pleased to (a) see the friend; (b) get a meal; and (c) actually introduce a local to a good place she’d never eaten at.

Which brings us, more or less, to now. Am nicely ensconced back in my hotel room. (With new alarm clock.) It’s just going on 11:00 now, and I’m pleased I managed to stay awake this late without totally falling apart. (I’ve been very careful on stairs tonight, as, with this state of tiredness, I’ve felt like I might put a foot wrong with unpleasant consequences.) There’s quite a bit of stuff I feel like I should be doing now, but I’m pretty much going to just do a quick weather check, lay out some clothes for tomorrow, and deal with any emails that absolutely cannot wait another day.

Night all.

(In London! Yay!!!)

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