Musings on the tubeThere's something about the tube that fascinates me. Did you get that? For one thing, most of the stations are not accessible for the disabled. The transit authority is in the process of updating their facilities, but it is a huge job. Jeff and I had to haul all our heavy bags up and down several flights of stairs upon arriving in and leaving London. I was cursing them the whole time, especially after Jeff broke the wheels of one of his bags as he bounced it up the steps. In fact, when we arrived in East Finchley and I was verbally anticipating the long descent, one of the station bosses heard me. He very nicely carried my bags all the way down to the ground. These Londoners are so polite.
But the stations with escalators. Oh man, the architecture astounds me. It is Escher-esque. I feel like I'm in the middle of Labrynth when I ride them. Gnome King, where are you?
See what I mean?
And then I get vertigo as we ascend, the flights are so long and the structural patterns so disorienting.
But enough of the underground.
A funny (funny peculiar, not funny ha-ha) story.
We flew Iceland Air, so had a stopover in Keflavik. The first leg was uneventful, if long. Seven hours. The plane was packed. Iceland is an unusual country. It has slightly more than 300,000 residents and more than half of them live in Reykjavic, the capital city. Approaching it from the air is weird, as most of the country is flat and covered in what looks like tundra, with a few illuminated towns scattered on the landscape.
The second leg was thankfully only about two-and-a-half hours. I say "thankfully" because there was a woman in the seat across the aisle from us who proceeded to have a very loud and opinionated conversation with her seatmate. She hardly paused for breath and her gravelly nicotine-voice and laugh permeated every second of the flight.
As we stood in the shuttle bus at Heathrow, I said to Jeff, I think I will scream if I have to listen to that woman for one more minute. There was a young couple standing next to us and she turned to me and said, Yes! Thank you, I feel very validated. They had been sitting right in front of her, which I cannot even imagine. We agreed that people like her give Americans a bad name and they probably romp through life having absolutely no idea of the effect they have on everyone else.
A little thought danced daintily in and out of my head that perhaps the young couple were Mormons. I chased it out immediately, having nothing on which to base the assumption. Then, after all the passport rigmarole, I needed to find a toilet, as usual, and there was the girl, waiting for her husband. She was still there, talking to Jeff, when I came out, and I saw that she was wearing a BYU sweatshirt. She had been facing away from me before so I hadn't noticed it.
How weird was that?
The London weight-loss plan.
1. Have a bad case of dysentery for two days.
2. Don't eat much because food is so expensive.
Seriously. A small ice cream cone is two pounds. That's four dollars. A pastry is two or three pounds.
But two excellent things.
First excellent thing: I know where all the good toilets are to be found in Westminster and the surrounding environs.
A couple of toilet tips.
1. Don't pay 50p to pee.
2. Find a nice hotel close by, saunter in and pretend like you're supposed to be there. Somewhere close to the entrance will be a top-notch toilet.
Yes, I know, Novotel isn't a Very Nice Hotel, but it was my first attempt. I got better. The next night I sauntered into a very swanky hotel and totally got away with it.
Oh, and Harrods has Luxury Toilets. Which means that there is a large lady attendant who says "Thank you Modom" when you leave her a tip in the little silver tray. Which I didn't mind doing because there was free rose-scented hand cream and expensive perfumes by the wash basin.
Second excellent thing: we found this lovely pub just down the road from Trafalgar Square.
The Lord Moon on the Mall.
The Lord Moon on the Mall.
For a semi-reasonable price you can get a filling meal with lots of peas.
Only Jeff hates peas with a passion, so they subbed a very tasty salad for the peas.
He was happy with his bangers and mash.
I got steak and kidney pudding.
I was in heaven.
Although I picked the kidneys out, like usual.
It tasted like manna from heaven.
Only, maybe it was just because we were so hungry, because the next day we went back and it was only average.
And then we went lots more fun places, but I need to go to bed so I'll tell you about it later.
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