Our flight finally arrived at San Francisco and we were off. I don’t mind flying. The food was pretty good and the in flight movie (Failure to Launch, oddly appropriate don't you think?) was ok, but it was long – nine and a half hours. It was also a red eye flight and I didn’t get much sleep.
Heathrow Airport is a huge contrast to San Francisco.
It might have been nice once, but now it is run down and dirty. It reminds me of Tomorrow Land in Disney Land when I was little. It was such an outdated vision of the future that it was laughable. In both places the once modern white surfaces and glass panels were dirty and in disrepair. This is not a welcoming place to enter the country. It also didn’t help that the first things we were greeted with after baggage claim were a liquor store and a small casino. The last thing I wanted to see when I arrived in Great Britain was a slot machine. But the grimy nature of Heathrow was an oddly appropriate setting to be reminded of Las Vegas.
We were met at the Meeting Point by Corrine, one of our instructors, and taken into London on the Underground. Once again, grimy and rundown, in large part due to the heavy traffic. It was also hot and humid. It’s a 40 minute ride into London and with luggage it is not fun. It is even less fun to drag that luggage through the heavy traffic and narrow streets of London, but we finally arrived at our flat.
[photo of flat will go here]
I am in room 17F, on the third floor (61 steps!), which I have all to myself. My flatmates are Megan R., Audrey, Susie, Janelle, Kelly, Una, DeAnne, Susan, Tim and Marty. There are six bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a common room with a kitchen. Remember everything I said about my little basement apartment in Salt Lake? I take it all back! This place is a dump with a rat problem. At least here this is my view out the window:
If I lean out far enough I can see the top of the Victoria & Albert Museum.
When we arrived we were given just enough time to drop our stuff, and grab a sandwich before we were led to Sainsbury’s, the grocery store, by Darrin and his daughter Kelsey. It was quite a walk, and I bought only what I knew I could carry back. Everything is so expensive here! We are incredibly spoiled in the US.
Back at the flat, once again, we had just enough time to drop off our stuff before we headed out on a walking tour of the city. We jumped on the Tube at South Kensington, which was quite a feat. There are over 20 of us and the trains are crowded. You have to be aggressive or you will never get anywhere. This is the London Underground:
And this is Trax.
Trax isn’t usually this empty, but once again I realize I’ve been spoiled. Trax is clean, air conditioned, and very quiet. The Tube is hot, stuffy, and loud.
We got off at Westminster and walked out in front of Big Ben and Westminster Abbey.
We were right on the Thames and across from the London Eye, the world’s largest ferris wheel. After a quick walk through the streets, and traffic, of London we were finally taken back and allowed to sleep.
5 months ago