I've stopped in London for a day and a half to get my bearings and ease the transition back to real life. Also because it was less expensive than changing my return flight to the U.S. or staying one more night in Dubai.
- This isn't your granddad's British Airways. The flight from Dubai landed early, and the flight's bags got to the carousel before the passengers. Yes, you say, because British immigration takes forever. No! I say, because from the plane stopping at the gate (in their spanking-new Terminal 5) to baggage claim took me 20 minutes. You can't even get from the gate to immigration at O'Hare Terminal 5 that fast.
- While walking around South Kensington last night, I heard a weird snapping sound across the street from me. It turned out a fox was trying to remove a windshield wiper from a car. I must have spooked it because it jumped off the car and scooted into a nearby shrubbery when I looked at it. South Kensington is right smack in London's Zone 1—equivalent (in many ways) to Lincoln Park in Chicago, or the West Village in New York. You don't expect to see foxes in dense residential neighborhoods just like you don't expect to find coyotes in the drink cooler at a downtown Chicago Quizno's.
- In Dubai you might see a shawerma restaurant next to a Lebanese restaurant, both with Arabic signs. In London last night I saw a shawerma place next to a Lebanese place, both with Arabic signs, but with a wine shop between them. That you don't see in Dubai.
- Right now it's 34°C in Dubai, 4°C in London, and 14°C in Chicago. Good thing I packed for two out of three climates.
I am now off to explore this area of London, once I work out what day, time, and month it is.