Monday, May 21, 2012

And... now I'm in London

(Clearly, I had to get the post about Vancouver written before I actually left on the next vacation.)

We begin, as we often do, with me buying a new wristwatch at the airport.  I am really annoyed by this.  At the top of my packing list, I note what I'm going to wear on the plane, and I actually wrote "watch" on it.  And still I didn't remember to wear the watch.  (I realized that I'd forgotten it, as per usual, when I was about to take it off to go through security.)  And it isn't like I didn't just do this a year or two ago.  That's it -- next time I'm just packing the damn watch in my carryon, because remembering to wear it is clearly beyond my ability.

The terminal from which I departed at LAX had something like 5 shops in it, and 3 of them sold watches.  The Duty Free shop had designer watches -- I didn't see anything for less than $100.  When I asked in the next shop (watches and sunglasses) for "the cheapest watch in the shop," she helpfully told me that they sold out of the $20 (ladies') Mickey Mouse watches.  She asked if I'd be interested in a child's Spongebob Squarepants model, and ultimately agreed that a tidy little Anne Klein ($55 -- the same thing I paid for a swatch the last time I did this) was the cheapest watch in the store.  The third shop (the "I Love LA" store) had one carousel of ugly off-label watches, all for $12.99, and very few actually ticking.  I ignored those watches (on the theory that I couldn't depend on one to give me the real time) and reluctantly coughed up the $55.  To discover that, on the plane, there was a decent breo sports watch in the airplane duty free for about $12.  

The whole watch thing made me very grumpy, and I had to remind myself that I was on vacation, so this was fun.

On the plane, I was sitting on an aisle with three people to my left.  I anticipated a family of 3 -- perhaps 2 adults and 1 kid.  What I had not expected was what I got:  grandma babysitting the 3-year-old and the 6-year-old, while mom and dad were livin' large up in First Class.  I was sitting next to the 6-year-old, and can safely admit to getting no damn sleep at all on this flight (possibly 15 minutes, which is probably worse than no sleep).  I was alternately awoken by: 6-year-old deciding to put his pillow on the armrest between our seats, resulting in his head poking me in the ribs; the kid's mom coming back from First Class to give the kid her Bose noise-cancelling headphones; the kid's mom again coming back and (despite the people sleeping around) speaking quite loudly to the kid (I assume this was so she'd be heard over the headphones); and the person in front of me constantly adjusting her seat.  (And that's omitting when the kid knocked his (thankfully empty) glass into my lap.  Not the best flight ... is what I'm saying.

So, when my international loaner phone from Verizon didn't want to download data (despite my having signed up for their global data plan), I just sat my annoyed self down on a chair in Heathrow, called Verizon Global Tech Support, and demanded that this, dammit, be made to work.  (Tech support didn't really help matters, but I eventually got it working myself.)

This started looking way way up when I found my flat.  I hadn't been able to find a reasonably priced hotel room, but I found a good rental flat on Flipkey and this one was exactly as described.  It's been newly renovated, and it's really quite lovely.  I'm pleased with it -- and the fact that there's a theatre bookshelf just across the way and a gelato shop on the corner ... well, BONUS.

Not much vacationy to actually report.  I went to the store and stocked my mini-fridge (yogurt for breakfast, fruit and veggies for snacks -- am I just naturally eating healthy on vacation or is it because this country still hasn't figured out pretzels?); found a retro clothing store for which I have a groupon (didn't buy anything, but I figured out my size in their clothes); and met my friends (the same ones I went to Vancouver with) for dinner.  We're not travelling together, we just happen to be both be here at the same time.

They took some pictures of their kid standing in a classic red phone box, apologizing that they're "dorks."  Tomorrow, however, we're going to be "geeks."  Total fine line.  

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