I got a couple of things right and a couple of things wrong since I left home Tuesday morning, and I finally got a hint of what my friends who've lived in London moan about it.
- Taking the 9am flight to London did, in fact, prevent jet lag, as I felt fine when I arrived at Heathrow in what my body thought was early evening. Usually I have two hours of fitful sleep and arrive at what my body thinks is the middle of sleep-deprived hell. Yesterday, however, I felt perfectly wide awake when I got to my hotel.
- On the other hand, the two inches of snow that fell on O'Hare between the time I checked in and the time we finally left the gate caused a 75-minute delay. This in turn led to arriving, not at 22:45 as scheduled, but at midnight. It's important to note at this point that the last tube is at 23:30, and the last Heathrow Express is at 23:45.
- On the other hand, I got on the N9 night less than 30 minutes after we landed (!) and, for only £1.30 on my Oyster card, whisked me to Hyde Park Gate in less than an hour.
- On the other hand, I had to get near Paddington, about two miles from Hyde Park Gate, which I considered while standing on a streetcorner at 1:30 in the morning.
- On the other hand, this is London, a major international capital, so a black cab stopped to pick me up in less than a minute.
- On the other hand, this is London, so the black cab cost £10 for the ten-minute ride.
- On the other hand, the hotel took no time at all to check me in and send me to my reasonably-comfortable and inexpensive (£69) room.
- On the other hand, they put me in the room directly across from the lift next to the security door that people started banging through around 6am—which, you may realize, my body thought was midnight.
- On the other hand, I managed some sleep, checked out with plenty of time to find coffee, and happily walked around my second-favorite city in the world for two hours.
- On the other hand, my first attempt at getting coffee failed miserably when the table collapsed, spilling hot latte all over the floor and my jeans.
- On the other hand, there's plenty of latte in this big, bad city, so I got caffeinated just fine.
Aren't you glad I'm not an economist? What would Harry Truman say...
I'm now back at Heathrow for the second leg of my trip, going to a country I haven't seen in ten years. More later.