Monday, Monday

Today was a lazy day. After crashing for a couple of hours in the hotel, we went about the neighborhood. Although I want to be immersed in the culture as much as possible, we stopped in to Starbucks for a coffee and a couple of ginger snaps. That was lunch. Neither of us was relay hungry, and we didn’t know the neighborhood that well. It’s a nice neighborhood, South Kensington. Think Back Bay. There’s a ton of row houses and small alleys. Instead of red brick, though, it’s all white or yellow brick. The scale of the buildings is small, too, and it reminds of Newbury Street. There’s a Lamborghini dealership and Morgan dealership in the neighborhood, so it must be really swank.

After coffee, we crashed again for another nap. This is against my best judgment, because I wanted to avoid jet lag, but it was unavoidable since I didn’t sleep a wink on the plane. We woke up for dinner, and it seemed like we were living the Life of Reilly. We picked a pub, because I was dying to eat in a true pub, from the tourist book I have. We stepped out of the hotel, hailed a cab and £4.40, plus tip, later, we were at a nice pub in Chelsea known as Copper something or other.

Sue and I sat at the bar on stools. I ordered a pint of Guinness, which was poured correctly and served at the right temperature. I’ve always heard that a pint in the US doesn’t compare to one in GB or Ireland. It’s true. It was sweet nectar, and it went well with the bangers and mash. Susan’s steak au poivre was served in some kind of sauce, which she braved her way through. I was very proud of her.

Before the meal came, there was a small floor show created by the argument of an elderly Brit couple. The wife got severely cross at her husband after he stabbed her wit his fork. After she scolded him rather loudly, he kicked her under the table.

As were were finishing, a rather pushy woman hailed the busty bartenderess, and barked a drink order at her. After the pushy woman delivered the drinks, she returned to pay and put on a scene about getting some napkins this instant to clean up some spillage. The bartenderess kindly told the pushy battle axe that she would do it straight after ringing up a customer. The battle axe, got near hysterical saying to do it “right now. Right now!” We all made fun of her after she retired to her table.

Instead of hailing a cab, we walked several blocks along some street named for a king, a queen or some other dead person of significance to Sloane Square, which is named after the man who started a museum with his vast collection of old crap. I think it was either the National Gallery or the British Museum. From Sloan, we hopped the Tube home for a nice, long sleep. Tomorrow is Discovering London!

All ‘board!

We got Logan Airport in record time, thanks to the wonderful addition of the HOV lane directly to the Ted Williams Tunnel. After a quick goodbye to Florrie and Bob, we whisked into the terminal, breezed through check-in and headed to the security line. That was like navigating a line at Disney, where the line takes you to another line, which leads, yes, to another line.

With about two hours to kill, we decided to grab a bite at the Houlihan’s in Terminal E. We were told there was nothing to eat there, but the terminal was packed with its own food court and a restaurant. There was quite a bit of confusion at the entrance. No one was there to seat patrons and several people had jammed the opening. Finally, a host yelled out a name. Susan asked him to repeat it, and he said, “Natalie, party of two.” Susan immediately signaled herself as the missing Natalie and we were brought to our table. There we were greeted by James, our special needs waiter. He provided a great floor show, by repeated everyone’s order loud enough for the whole dining room to hear. Susan, er, Natalie, and I heard that the man with the barbecue chicken salad didn’t get any barbecue sauce because the restaurant was out.

Afterwards we hunkered down in a chair waiting for our flight to board. Boarding went smoothly, but we were greeted by a grumpy Swiss lady in my seat. She insisted we sit in the other two seats in the row. I was not happy about this, and proceeded to wonder allowed why the diagram showed seat D as being next to seat H. That is when the Swiss lady took out her headphones. Before sitting, too, this lady further endeared herself to me by saying I had to put my small pullman in the overhead bin, as if I had never flown before. I turned to her, and less than politely said, “Thanks, I’ve flown before.”

It seemed all would quiet down once the flight got under way, of course, until the people behind us were pilly. Susan’s seat was broken, and reclined without notice during takeoff. This itself wasn’t a problem for the lady behind her until after the seatbelt lights went off, when she reached over and asked Susan to put her chair up. Wait. It gets better. After I put my chair back, her delightful husband asked me to put my chair up, too. I refrained from complaining back to him, that he was in his seat pocket so much I thought he was being fresh.

We landed, and I hadn’t slept a wink. Susan didn’t get much sleep either. I watched both Ocean’s 12 and Spanglish, although I had to watch several minutes of Ocean’s 12 on a nearby seatback screen because mine blacked out until I asked them to fix it.

Instead of taking a car transfer, Susan and I braved the Tube. Let’s say, the Tube is far better than the T in Boston. It’s cleaner, there’s more lines, and there’s more lines that actually traverse the city. Our journey from Terminal 4 started with a short bus ride to Hatton Cross station, and finished with a straight shot on the Picadilly Line to South Kensington. After a brief bit of confusion after coming out of the Tube, Susan and I found our hotel, the Regency, a couple of blocks away. It is a really nice hotel,
but this is not our room,
nor is this. More on the room in another post.

The first day, which will be told in greater detail later, was punctuated by moments of sleep, and highlighted by a delightful pub dinner of bangers and mash and a Guinness for me, and a steak dinner with Coke Lite for Susan.

Ready for launch

It’s 15 minutes before our ride is to arrive. Susan is on the couch counting the minutes. Simon won’t eat, despite putting shredded cheese on his dog food. I still have to put on a belt and sneakers.

The flight leaves at 8:30 p.m. and lands at 8 a.m. GMT.