C

Advertisements

The Wong line

Just a quick post:

Monday night late, when we were about to go through the customs declaration to re-enter the US, I saw signage about an app that I had previously downloaded, and how it could make the customs process easier, so I stopped E, scanned her passport and took her photo (I’d done mine before we left the US), and answered the questions it asked.

When we got up to the queue for customs, there were hundreds in line to get through the process, there was one in front of me for the mobile line (it’s the same line as diplomats and military personnel) but he was in the wrong line and sent away with someone else within minutes to direct him accordingly.

I was apprehensive that perhaps this was too easy and I too was in the wrong line, nevertheless, I proceeded to the desk with E in tow, my cell phone with the app opened and my passports in hand. I asked the gentlemen if I too was in the wrong line, he assured me that I was in the correct place. 

Seconds later, after assessing what I handed him, he got a very serious look and told me yes, in fact I was in the Wong line. I started to panic before he smiled a huge smile and pointed at his name tag…his last name was Wong.

This man made my whole day, his sense of humor at what could have been a stressful part of my day made me smile.

Seriously though, if you travel abroad…get this app!!

2 flights to go…

By the time this is posted, we will actually be down to the last flight, as I am writing this as we’re in the air on flight 2. 

Today is a stark difference from yesterday, only crossing one time zone, and surrounded by far nicer people than we were yesterday.

We didn’t care much for the Airport at Heathrow, too much space wasted on duty free shopping and not enough facilities and spaces to relax. People were rude and sat on top of you, the whole atmosphere was a restless one. Quite different from the rest of London in feel. 

Flight attendants were great during the flight, meals left a little to be desired. People around us left a lot to be desired.

Five minutes before the plane took off, the woman behind E went to stand up and grabbed the back of E’s seat (and a large handful of E’s hair) in doing so.  She didn’t notice, and it  was an honest mistake, so we tried to let that go.

10 minutes into our flight, I was trying to get something from the seat back pocket, with my arm between my tray table and the seat, when the woman in front of me decided to recline her seat back hard and fast, catching my arm between the seat and the table. This made me jump and I yelled that my arm was there and that she’d hurt me, she yelled back that she didn’t know, and proceeded to shove the seat back as hard as she could.  Every opportunity se could find after that to push the seat back a little harder, she did. She made eye contact with me several times as she did this, as if to dare me to say something. (I know you may be thinking I’m being a bit overdramatic in saying this, however this woman announced to her seat mate loudly halfway through the flight, upon returning from the lavatories, that there were several empty seats in the back but she was having too much fun in her current seat). 

Today, We’re surrounded by pleasant people. The 2 gentlemen behind us are friends traveling together, one of the 2 traded his first class seat with the woman originally seated there in order to sit with his friend. The man seated next to me is a Vietnam veteran who is very pleasant in the brief conversation we’ve had. He’s headed to vacation with his daughter and grandchildren. The 3 in front of us are an older woman and her 4 yr old grandson and a woman flying solo. The woman in front of E asked if we’d be bothered with her reclining…she did so ever so slightly. The little boy is in front of me, he’s sweet and very animated , we gave him and his grandmother a few mini packets of Haribo starmix just before takeoff. While not completely quiet, the flight is a pleasant one. 

We left our luggage at the airport last night, in a secure luggage locker. This made getting out the door far more pleasant at 3 am. Stayed at Hilton Garden inn, and much like the previous Hilton Garden inn, I am not inclined to want to stay there again. It was dirtier than I would have expected, and the beds were hard, still it was only for a night, or part of one.

Shuttles were efficient and the morning driver was sweet 

Currently listening to Spotify on my phone, E’s head is on my shoulder as I write. 

Map says we’re over the Appalachian mountains in Virginia currently. Can’t tell much from the cloud cover.

The sock that’s not ours

Just a random post for the day: 

On our first morning here, when Joey made up our room, he sat a sock on the end of my bed that he’d picked up out of the floor. It’s not one of ours. 

I washed the random sock with our first load of laundry; it has become a regular part of our day. I use it (and water from the sink) to wipe up random honey spills, milk spills and makeup messes. Every day it is laundered with the regular load, and every day we use it as we need to.  It’s been used half a dozen times a day.

It’s gone too fast

I will likely write in the next few days to catch you up on the rest of the trip, but for now, we are 98% packed (waiting on morning toiletries, our nightclothes from tonight and one load of laundry that is in the washer/dryer combo {can’t say I like those}).

Its been a full day, some good, a lot of bad today.  Got up early for church after I got little to no sleep last night due to a toothache. I’ve been grinding my teeth at night. 

Got to church within 5 minutes of it’s starting, my first time being late, E was proud.

Went to lunch in Camden Town while we were there, at a little Greek Taverna called Andy’s. They were very pleasant and kind, and though they had a full house and I didn’t have a reservation, they accommodated us and were very attentive.

After lunch, we came home, and began the process of packing (I was already maybe half packed). Talked to a friend I had been supposed to meet during this trip, got my feelings crushed as he broke the friendship off.  We don’t see eye to eye on things, he’s not the kind of person where anyone else’s viewpoint is a valid one it seems. 

Not a lot this evening, talked to a few friends, watched YouTube with E, packed.

In bed now, up at 7 to finish getting us packed and out the door. Here’s hoping tomorrow goes smoothly. 

A bit about Sunday 

Sunday was a busy day: We got up early for church, in Camden Town.  Took two trains and maybe a half a mile of walking at either end to get there. I am notoriously early when it comes to church. So it was no shock to E when we were nearly 45 minutes early to get there. (We could go in for the Matins service, however E isn’t up for that yet, here especially).

We walk around Camden Town a bit and happen across a pub that we thought me might to do lunch at after church, however they don’t serve food, so that idea quickly derails.


We found a little park to sit in for a bit while waiting for church, it was across the road and down a little ways. So we say there and watched dogs play with their owners. 


Time for church. We are at the All Saints Greek Orthodox in Camden Town Street in Camden Town.  We sat in the back because I’m just as shy as E when it comes to bigger new places. Pews are narrow and the ones in the back were very creaky, So we were extremely noticeable when we stood or sat during the service.  (It didn’t help that I had my light, bright turquoise dress on when everyone else in the church -including E- was dressed in very dark colours. I may as well have carried a sign that lit up and said look at me!)

. There were maybe 35 in attendance, including us. I enjoyed the service immensely, though I think my transliteration version of the liturgy helped immensely. The service followed somewhat close and even when it went away for a bit, it was easy to find your way when it returned. 

Most of it was in Greek, maybe 10 words besides the Lord Prayer, the Creed and the Gospel were in English. I didn’t mind, as I can follow just as well in my Liturgy book and understand most of what is being said. I will say, however, that when the deacon came up to the pulpit to read the scripture, when he was reading it in English- I could have listened forever. There was something so soothing about listening to the scripture being read in such a calming voice, you would have thought the angels were reading it to you. It was my Favorite part of the service. 

After Church, E and I walked back to the train station to meet our friend, Bill, who is also here from the States for work. I’ve known Bill for going on 9 years. This was our first time meeting. 

We got to the station and Bill was waiting (I’d stopped to change from sandals to tennis shoes and socks, for sensibilities sake). We exchanged greetings and a hug and set off to the pub where we thought we were going to have lunch. We were directed in a different direction once we arrived and finally landed for lunch at Cobdens

E had a potato and leek soup, chips, and a sticky toffee pudding with custard and ice cream. Bill had a proper Sunday roast and a pint. I had fish and chips.

After lunch, we set off through Camden market to get to the canal, as we were attempting to catch a canal boat prior to setting off for the zoo. We seemed to have just missed the boat and ended up walking to the zoo. I fell and skinned my knee and twisted my ankle somewhere along the canal. 

The zoo was lovely, though the bulk of the animals seemed to be in the middle of their afternoon siesta. There was still much to see and the company was very pleasant. 


Bill ubered us to the train station and hugged us goodbye and 2 trains, 45 minutes and a half mile walk later, we were back at the flat. 

We were tired!! We decided a day off was in order for Monday, so we mostly only walked to the grocery and KFC yesterday. 

Here’s hoping today will be an interesting one. E is still sleeping, I have laundry and dishes going, and am looking over the London Pass book to decide what sounds like fun. 

Ah Saturday…

It’s been another lovely day, though a very tiring one.

Started off the morning with crumpets and strawberry preserves. 

Showered, dressed by 9, and out the door to the train station.

On train to Greenwich, 5 stops and we’re there. Wandered a while, as nothing touristy was open until 10. Hit a bookstore, and a souvenir store. Bought a few bits and bobbles for E and her friends (No books today, alas).

First real stop was Cutty Sark: what a Lovely boat that was very instrumental in the tea and wool trades from what I gathered on board. I enjoyed exploring the layout of the boat and all it’s little details. 

Next stop…Starbucks!

We NEEDED a frappuccino, and though I didn’t get a photo, they spelled Anna and Catherine correctly (our Christian names) though I was sorely disappointed in the lack of a Venti size in the Fraps. We also met this cute puppy on our way out.


Next stop, national maritime museum…I think this one was E’s Favorite so far…so many things to learn about, and the people were super friendly, we even got a free souvenir book there. 


Next stop was the rose garden behind the museum…I could have stayed here all day inhaling the sweet fragrance of the roses. Hard to say which I liked best.


Next was the queens house. I loved this place, though it was easy to misplace oneself here. We went in circles more than once (and not just on the spiral staircase).


Last  real stop before we headed home was the royal observatory…it was quite the journey up the hill. But it was lovely. I could have stayed much longer exploring, were my feed not so bloody tired!


Stopped at Sainsbury’s on the way home, for strawberry smoothies, a coke to share, fettuccine noodles for this evenings dinner and a bag of crisps. Caught the train home, walked home and relaxed a while before dinner. 


If tomorrow is half as pleasant a day, I look forward to it already.

Goodnight

Advertisements