Mind the Gap

The first thing I saw through my red eyes when I got off the train from London Gatwick was a circus.

No, not Piccadilly or Oxford, but just a mass of people. There were the classic red double decker buses zipping past hordes of tourists and business people rubbing shoulders in a hurry to make whatever appointment they had. Everyone was chatting it up on cell phones and like Dublin, I passed pub after pub, all full of history, charm, and locals. The weather here is overcast (suprise) but warm enough to be comfortable and it is not raining, so no complaints here.

My 8 hour flight was actually very comfortable and was nearly empty. Each passenger had a row of 3 seats to themselves, so I was able to contort my body into all kinds of attempted sleep positions in my own little territory, but had no real luck at it because the attendants never dimmed the lights. It was very nice being on such a quiet flight for a change. There were no queues for the toilet, no screaming babies, no one obnoxiously dropping their seat back into my lap (which I always punish with a well-timed kick every time I think they are getting to sleep). Even the jetstream cooperated and pushed us right along across the Atlantic without hardly a bump. I know it is usually different coming back as the pilot has to fight against headwinds most of the way it seems.

I am sitting here in the Stansted airport on a crappy kiosk writing this, so as usual, I will re-write it when it is more convenient and not 1£ for 10 minutes! Many perfectly good English words will die under my butcher’s knife of spelling as I am in quite a hurry. There is a Muslim man staring over my shoulder, wanting God knows what….in fact, I am tempted to turn the keyboard around for him and let him complete this crappy post. 🙂 He is sitting so close that I can smell his lunch from two hours ago…and I hope that he can read English…YES, I am talking about YOU….

ok, back to business.

I thoroughly enjoyed my 1 night in London, and as usual, saw nothing but pubs it seems. I was in the historic Oxford area, does that count? 🙂 I did meet up with my Polish friend here, one of my Munchen Oktoberfest mates, and we had a great time. I retired back to my $75 a night roach hotel in Victoria and fought with the Redbull and jetlag all night to get a wink of sleep. No luck. As I staggered the 2 miles back to the Victoria tube station, I still could not oppress a smile. Here I am…finally….London!

This town has a vibe and a feel much like Chicago, and the English have been exceptionally friendly so far, much more so than the visitors to their city it seems. I have already had 2 people go out of their way, cross a street even, to ask me where I was going when they saw me holding my map. No one has called me a “Yank” (but I am still hoping), and strangers actually SMILE when they meet eyes with you!

Tomorrow (today) I fly Ryanair for the first time to Verona, Brescia to see my friend that I met in Cork, Paola, and her family. I am very excited to be back in Europe this year, but I tend to like my countries the way I like my women….hot, dirty, and cheap….so I am counting the days to Egypt. 🙂

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  1. Greg – Sounds like Egypt is incredible (in every sense of the word – good and bad, perhaps). I never would have imagined, after saying ciao (in the goodbye sense of the word) at Gatwick, the adventures you’d have just leaving the airport. Perhaps they took your “place of residence in the UK: Gatwick Airport” joke a bit too seriously.

    Hope the rest of your time in Africa continues to be excellent – I’ve only had time to read a few of your blog entries, but they’re fascinating. Please do let me know if you feel like a trip to Sicily.

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