5 July through 7 July
Well, it’s time to leave whether I think I’m ready or not. I have prepped the house for my house and cat sitter, the wonderful and thoughtful Melanie Turner. Melanie has done this for me numerous times and I appreciate having someone in the house that considerately looks after my animals and the house. It is definitely peace of mind for me.
On the other hand Sheba and Suri (my cats) are not very sure about what is going on (again). It’s hard to believe the last time I went (two years ago) I had just gotten Suri. She has grown into a beautiful cat and calmed down considerably. They now get along pretty well. I will miss them terribly but, it’s only three weeks.
I’ve packed much lighter this time. I had this fantasy I would take my smallest suitcase. Almost made it but, no such luck. By trying to pack in the smaller suitcase, it did cut down on what I am taking. I managed to cut a few more items as I switched to the larger luggage. I finished once Terry arrived with my new razor. The old one died as I tried to change the blade. We had few moments together before he took me to the airport. Thanks Mr. Lennie.
At the airport, Christina and her family were already checking in at the counter. Thanks to Mr. Lennie, I’ve joined the digital age of travel and had checked in from home. Dropping off my luggage I was happy to see it only weighed 43 pounds. I told the guy at the counter, “great that means I can buy 7 pounds of junk to bring back. Without Mr. Lennie, I didn’t get TSA pre-check so, I had to take off everything (shoes, belt etc) at the security screening and in doing so, forgot I decided to bring my tablet. They had to send it back through which meant longer scrutiny for me at the security gate.
At the gate we relaxed and very quickly they announced our flight was delayed for a time. At this point the story begins to downhill for the rest of the day and continuing into arrival day. The flight was finally boarded. The delay was due to air traffic congestion in Philadelphia but, we were cleared to take off. Once on the tarmac however, we were stopped and they announced it would be an hour before we could take off from Lexington. Sitting on the hot plane we determined we would never make our connection and it seemed we would get an opportunity to opt of this situation when they next announced we could go back to the terminal and deplane if we desired. We all decided we could re-book for tomorrow. Then another turn of events, no, we were leaving for Philadelphia.
The flight continued and we arrived with no time to spare. We hurried from Terminal F to Terminal A and just made out connection. Long, overnight fights are never easy for me and I slept not at all (of course). I did watch a movie, Love Simon. I missed this when it was at the Kentucky. I highly recommend this film.
We arrived the next morning on time and the line at the passport check-in was very long. It took about 30 minutes to get through I think. Once through we proceeded to pick up our luggage which, of course, was not there. I told you it was a tight connection. Checking with the agents, we told it was indeed in Philadelphia and since I had checked departing flights the day before when it looked as though we might have to re book, I knew the luggage wasn’t going to get to London before 10 pm that evening so, that means no luggage until the next day. That process of reporting and arranging all that took forever which I don’t understand.
We caught the Heathrow Express and headed to London. This year is very different. We are staying in a new dormitory and Christina is here with her family. They are staying at an Airbnb away from the dorm. The dormitory, this year, is a vast improvement over last year I am happy to say and I secured an en suite room with a shower and toilet in my room. Still no a/c but, that is negligible and I always adjust to that.
We were all extremely exhausted with no sleep and I was feeling very dirty since I had not showered since the morning before and it is now after noon the next day and with no luggage and few toiletries (I had packed some essentials in carry-on. We spent most of the afternoon just getting everyone settled. During this, I was making a list of essentials to get me through till the next day. We spent some time in Regent’s Park. It was a calming and cool place. The temperature is supposed to be extremely hot this weekend but, on this day not too bad. Of course, I’m wearing jeans which isn’t helping but, I got nothing else.
We went for dinner and then to Boots (drug store) to get some additional toiletry items and I came back to the dorm. As I prepared to shower and try to feel normal, I now realize I have no way to charge anything. My suitcase contains all my electrical converters and my clothes are now basically disgusting because I’m sweaty and smelly. I tried to accomplish a few things but, I’m so tired and so . . . . . .
I woke up at 2:30 am London time and panicked thinking it was later in KY and I wasn’t going to be able to sleep. When I realized that wasn’t the case, I was able to go back to sleep eventually (not before working on this blog for an hour or so). However, my phone is still dead so, I woke late the next morning with no way to contact Christina. I tried to clean up. I showered but, I had to put on those dirty clothes. I went out trying to find Christina’s hotel but managed to get lost, wound on the other side of the British Museum, never
did find her hotel. I did find my ways to Tottenham Court Rd and some breakfast. I returned to the dormitory, still no luggage but, I did find Christina and her family waiting for me in the lobby. We ventured out to accomplish the tasks that needed to be done which hopefully would include getting the first week’s tube passes and some of the theater tickets. As we traveled to King’s Cross station (it is Saturday) the crowd’s seemed to swell larger than usual and there seemed to be a lot of my people (gay) about. I didn’t have my phone (because it was dead) to confirm but, I was pretty sure the Pride Parade was about to happen somewhere. That would be odd since it has never coincided with previous visits. More on that later. We made to King’s Cross and no travel center to purchase tube passes so, we went to Euston Station and found the center where we went two years earlier. They couldn’t process the order because the computer was down and unable to handle the credit transaction. He suggested we go to King’s Cross where, he assured us there was travel center. By this time, we were very hot (heatwave in London), sore and I was convinced very smelly. It was only 10:30 am. After a little pick me up, we went back to King’s Cross and they told us there machines were down as well but, we could go and get cash. We weren’t certain the university procard would handle that but, surprise, it did and we managed to finally get the tube passes. Meanwhile I managed to get all my steps in well before noon.
We got on the tube and headed to get theater tickets. We took the Piccadilly Line to Leicester Square. Expecting a crush of crowds in that busy part of the city we were pleasantly surprised to find the crowds somewhat smaller for a Saturday (Pride Parade). Making our way to the Noel Coward, theater we were able to pick up tickets for our first show The Lieutenant of Inishmore. We see this on Monday evening. It stars Aidan Turner. For all you Poldark fans on Masterpiece, you know of who I speak.
We weren’t so lucky on the second set of tickets because they would release them without the reference number and with no phones that work we couldn’t pull it up.
So, here I am mid-afternoon on Saturday, I had to miss the Pride Parade (I did live stream it while I worked on budgets and getting organized. My suitcase still has not arrived. I did manage to pick up a converter while traveling back to the dorm so, my phone is charged and I feel a little more connected. I’ve tried to look at this inauspicious beginning as the universe telling me I need to make some adjustments. What those are I will keep for myself at the present but, recognizing those things helped regain my center and I feel lucky to be here and happy despite all the things that seem to go wrong. If my suitcase doesn’t arrive by 5 pm, I am going clothes shopping.
As of this post, I am on my way to buy new clothes.