Fags, flats, flyovers and tubes.

London Travel Blog

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    My alarm goes off in the morning and I growl in response.  I am grumpy.  Here I am about to go traveling for two months and all I want to do is burrow into my bed and sleep forever, I think to myself drily. 
    This is the first time I've approached the aiport with a growing sense of dread.  Usually, I greet the aiport with joy - coming or going - planes make me happy.  This time, I was a heartbeat away from a full-blown panic attack.  It all seemed utterly ridiculous to me, thinking that I was ballsy enough to go traipsing through a foreign CONTINENT for two months. 
    F---.  I wish I took a xanex. 

    When I get dropped off the airport, I dissolve into tears as my ride drives away.  People stare at me curiously as I sob and walk to check-in.  After a minor mix-up with airline carriers... I finally get checked-in without a hitch.  Turns out I am flying with Virgin and not Continental.  I sleep for the entire crossing of the Atlantic - missing out on the fabulous old school service Virgin provides - like meals and snacks and movies and free eye patches and earphones. 

    Oh! To be a stranger in a strange land!  The customs agent asks me a million different questions upon my arrival to the UK - and in my jetlagged anxious haze I am suddenly filled with the urge to punch her in the face.  I mean, does the fact that I pay rent monthly really factor into your decision about whether or not I should be let into the country or not???  I have discovered my liking for deadpan sarcasm lately and for a minute I toy with the idea of telling her that in fact, I was prostitute coming to the UK to meet my pimp, after which we were going to go on "working tour" of Europe. 
    I bite my tongue. 

    Thank god, Matt was waiting for me when I arrived.  He takes me out of Heathrow airport and soon I was... am... settled comfortably in his flat in Hammerstein.  Eventually, Matt and Dave and I have nice little catching-up session which has done much to alleviate my anxiety and get me more excited about my upcoming adventures. 
    It was good to see my Brit boys.  Matt and Dave were living in Jersey City and working in Manhattan when I met them the summer of 2006. For the second half of that year, I spent much of my time helping them explore NYC and just hanging out with them.  Since they left the States, I've had little contact with them so it was really good to see them.  Dave has already promised to come and meet me in Greece so we can explore Pompay together.  The boys had me drinking and laughing and ridiculing my "American-ness"... all which helped me feel so much more at ease.

    Tomorrow, I take my first stab at this whole "travel by myself" thing!  Matt and Dave both have to work... so somehow I must make my way out of this apartment - flat, sorry - and navigate the subway - the tube, I mean - and take it to see the Tower of London.  Then make my way back here.  Tower of London - boring to some I know - but Lady Jane Grey was beheaded there as well as Anne Bolelyn.  Anyone who knows me knows that I am competely enamoured with Tudor-Stuart Britain.  

    I get to visit the Tower of London!  I'm so excited. 

    As I hug Dave good night, I whisper to him, "Dave!  I'm in Londonnnnn!" 
    He laughs and tells me to go to sleep.

PS. Some new vocabulary I'm trying to adjust to:
pissed = drunk
flat = apartment
petrol = gas
fag = cigarette
tube = subway
flyover = freeway
quid = buck

PPS.  On the way to the apar-- flat, Matt graciously points out that here in the UK, everyone drives on the left side of the street, not like in America.  "And of course, we would drive on the right side," I say pointedly.  Matt looks at me and shakes his head with a sigh. 
    Hey, I thought it was funny. 
PavelR says:
Tomorrow Im heading to London also :) but for two days only :(
Posted on: Jun 13, 2008
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photo by: ulysses