Since the client on the Paris thing for some reason declined to spend $9,000 per person for us to fly business class, I decided to take American 90 to London and then take Eurostar under the Channel. The strategy worked; I got sleep on a real bed Sunday night, and was coherent and lucid Monday afternoon at the job site.
This time, I put a clock on the train. Here's what my phone GPS showed about 30 minutes outside London:
The screen shot above (click for full size) shows that about here the train was moving 281 km/h, which is how it gets from London to Paris with two stops in under two and a half hours. Flying from London City to Orly would take about that long, and I'd still have had to take the RER up to the job site. At one point I clocked it at 297 km/h, which is still not the fastest train in France. SNCF's TGV-320 goes—wait for it—320 km/h. (Then there's the Shanghai Maglev...)
This is why I love Europe.
Because I stayed in the Airport Sheraton, had only carry-on bags, and got my boarding pass last night, I got on my flight home less than half an hour after leaving my hotel room this morning. Then, at O'Hare, because of the aforementioned lack of checked baggage, a New York-style walking speed, and Global Entry, I got from the airplane to my car in exactly half an hour. Parker was in the car half an hour after that.
Compare that to the trip out, when I left my house at 7, the plane finally left the gate at 10:30, and—oh, right, it only took me 55 minutes to get from the airplane to my hotel in London, including the ridiculously long walk from Terminal 3 to the Heathrow Express and flagging down a taxi at Paddington.
Anyway, dog and man are home, I've completed my deliverable for tomorrow, and I will now get a nap before Euchre Club meets at 7:30.
I had a pretty good blog entry to post a couple of hours ago, and I forgot it totally. This is because I was wrestling a virtual machine to the ground because it had gone somewhere HTTP requests could not follow. I'd have posted about that nonsense, too, except the VM hosts The Daily Parker, you see.
I am therefore reduced to a link round-up, though this time I will embed, rather than link to, two of the things that people have sent me in the past day and a half:
- I had an excellent dinner tonight.
- Science writer Michael Hanlon thinks innovation peaked in 1973. I disagree, but I haven't got a rebuttal yet.
- People in L.A. suspect that arsonists burned down one of the most anti-urban development projects ever thrust upon Americans.
- My flight Sunday got delayed in part because of de-icing. Patrick Smith explains why this happens.
- Chicago steak houses are suffering because the price of wholesale beef has shot up in recent days. I feel for them, I really do, but I also want to have a Morton's steak before year's end. Anyone want to join me?
- Talking Points Memo has a timeline of the New Republic's self-immolation. I still mourn.
- I got some personal news today that will make Daily Parker headlines when it's officially announced next week.
- I'm staying up until 3am CET (8pm Chicago time) because I don't want to fall asleep at Euchre tomorrow. Just remember: the left bower is trump, you idiot.
- A propos of nothing, I'm posting one of the best speeches by one of the worst characters in all Shakespeare:
There is a tide in the affairs of men.
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.
You have been patient, and have earned your reward. Here are your two videos, hat tip to reader MG:
And this, but you have to skip ahead to 37m 53s to get the point:
Business travel sometimes presents contradictions. Here are mine today:
- Good news: I got assigned to do a technical diligence in Paris.
- Bad news: We'll be at the airport for two days, with only one opportunity to see the city.
- Good news: Hey, it's an all-expense-paid trip to Europe.
- Bad news: In coach, which is really grim on an overnight flight such as one from Chicago to Paris.
- Good news: There's a 9am flight to London and the Eurostar to get me to Paris the next morning.
- Bad news: I have to get up at 6:30am on a Sunday.
- Good news: There's no traffic on the Kennedy at this hour on Sunday morning, so I got from my house to the airport and through security in only 30 minutes.
- Bad news: It's still Sunday, and I'm missing two full days for travel.
On balance, it's worth the trip. But yes, I'm going to be grumpy about some aspects of it.
Updates as the situation warrants.
Well, we made it to Heathrow only an hour late, and scrambled to get our initial findings out to our director in the 45 minutes we had available in the lounge...until our flight to Chicago was also delayed an hour and fifteen minutes. Really I just want to get on the plane and sleep. But then I also want to get home with enough time to nap before an event I've been looking forward to. So, here's hoping the published delay right now is the real delay, and I still have a couple of hours to unpack and change.
Also, I was off just a bit in my surmise how the credit card transit tickets worked. It's not that Norway has less transit theft than other countries (though I suspect this is true anyway), it's that you have to swipe your credit card to get out of gates when you arrive. Still, we left the hotel at 5:20 and got to the airport by 6. That's pretty impressive.
The Nag's Head, Angel:
Coincidentally, this pub has the same name as my go-to pub when I lived in Hoboken, N.J., 15 years ago.
Waiting at Heathrow for the flight home has only one consolation: the lounge and its open bar. Still, I've just spent four days doing essentially all of my favorite things to do in London, so it's a little melancholic being back at the airport.
I also didn't take a lot of photos. Once I'm back in Chicago and can tell what time of day it is (tomorrow, most likely), I'll extract them from my phone.
Regular blog postings should resume in the morning.
And still in London. Postings should resume tomorrow.
This is only my 7th time at O'Hare in the past month, but since two of those times were yesterday and the day before, it feels like I just never left. Today, though, I'm going to the Ancestral Homeland. That makes it all better.
Well, almost. I mean, it's still O'Hare. And Heathrow isn't exactly the jewel in the British crown, either. And so far this week I've flown the equivalent of a trans-Atlantic trip already.
No matter. Boarding in 20 minutes; dinner in London tonight. Mustn't grumble.
Over the next 10 days I have four long flights, one round-trip to Los Angeles and one to London. Even though I'll have to work a bit on all four of them, I'm also getting ready to have some quality reading time. (In fact, there will be at least one afternoon in London spent reading and drinking beer, as usual.)
To start, I've added two challenging books to my Kindle: Cervantes' Don Quijote (in the original Spanish) and Chaucer's Canterbury Tales (in the original Middle English). I've never read either; both will push me linguistically. (And now that I'm thinking about it, I'm also adding a Spanish-English dictionary...)
Also, I've sent these articles to the device:
The L.A. trip was expected, as it's a follow-up to the trip I took last week, but it's still weirdly timed. And poor Parker will be boarded forever. Of course, when I take the recycling out to the alley, clearly I've been gone forever when I return, so that's not exactly a neutral benchmark.