September 25, 2009

Gate B38

Filed under: Going Places — Katrina @ 11:38 pm

From a week ago until this past Wednesday, I was off on a bit of an adventure. Normally I might put it on Twitter or something, but in the absence of that, I had to do it the old fashioned way: pen and paper. Remember that primitive crap?! Anyway, enjoy!

(Times are local.)

September 18, 2009
-Arrived at Dulles parking lot: Nervous!
-Parked in Green lot, 9C, Shuttle stop #18

-Long security line was long!
-Also, I didn’t get a window seat: FAIL!
-Now at Gate B38 waiting to board. One hour to go.
-OMFG! There’s a place here called City Wok!

-Yay, this flight has a map just like JetBlue.
-We’re flying over Cape Cod right now.
-Also, making great time as it’s predicting we’ll arrive around 8:30am!
-Have to fill out this landing card for the UK Border Patrol.
-Just had Coke from adorable little British Coke can.
-Smells like dinner is coming! So hungry, I don’t care that it’s airline food!

September 19, 2009
-Still airborne, about an hour to go, outside it’s morning, about to fly over southern Ireland.

-Landed at 8:45ish. Long line at Border Patrol but otherwise painless.
-Border guard: “Have you ever left the US before?”
Me: “Yeah, I’ve been to Canada, if that counts.”
-Picked up suitcase, and braced myself for UK customs.
-Had nothing to declare so walked the green hallway, awaiting whatever the customs process would be.
-Encountered absolutely nothing, just led me straight on out. I LOL’d.

-I has Oyster card.
London Underground!
-“This is a Piccadilly line service to Cockfosters.” LOL

-Came out at Covent Garden: “Well, Grandma, I made it.”
-Down to the Strand, hotel should be around here somewhere… I’m standing right next to it!
-Yay! Found hotel easily and, yay, I could check in right then!

-St Martin-in-the-Fields Cafe in the Crypt seems cool but food is pricy… I’ll just go to Pret a Manger.
-Alright, debit card seems to be working just fine here. That’s one fear out of the way!
-So… London seems to be basically New York with British accents.
-Wow, Trafalgar Square lions are big!

-WTF?! What’s up with the US Capitol? And why is it in London?… Oh, right. St Paul’s Cathedral. Doppelganger.
-Okay, Museum of London should be interesting, and it is, but it’s putting me to sleep. Fail lack of sleep is fail.

-St Paul’s Cathedral: giving off energy of being a holy site for over a millennium. And I’m at one of those services that have occurred here for over a millennium!
-Climbed zillions of steps up to St Paul’s dome. Was like go up into the Statue of Liberty all over again!

-Tate Modern: Lots of paintings, photographs, and films of penis mutilations. Yay?!

-Tate Modern: The Untitled painting by Art & Literature: The description says viewers are confronted by themselves. Reality: it’s a fucking mirror!

-Discovered water doesn’t come free at Wagamama.
-Hotel room sink isn’t draining. Plugged and doesn’t seem to have a way to unplug it. WTF?!

September 20, 2009
-Ah! Overslept!
-It’s the BBC in its natural habitat!

-Mmmm, Caffe Mocha and muffin from Caffe Nero.
-Okay, I should be close to it, but when I get up to this intersection, I’ll check the map… oh, there it is! The British Museum!

-Spent SIX HOURS at British Museum.
-Coldplay’s “Speed of Sound” has been stuck in my head all day.
-Took 95 pictures at the British Museum!
-OMFG! Peter Rabbit in hieroglyphics!

-Walking down Oxford Street. Crowded street is crowded.
-Wow! I found the US Embassy! Wow, the guard sure has a big gun. And there’s some small protest demonstration in front. I don’t know, something about Iraq.
-Ooh, Hyde Park is pretty!
-Haha, there’s some socialist speaking at Speaker’s Corner, and some others but I can’t hear what they’re saying.

-Bah! Harrod’s is closed. I knew that. Still, though.
-Crowded Leicester Square is crowded.
-Mmmm, London Indian food.

-Oooh, I see. I was supposed to push down on the drain plug to make it tip up. Maid must have noticed by the pool of water in the sink that I was having trouble, and took pity on me by leaving it open.
-I keep seeing Coldplay stuff everywhere, and now there’s a Coldplay special on one of the very few channels on this TV. I think the special played every one of their singles except “Speed of Sound”!
-I see British TV does not censor bare asses or the word “fuck”. Nice.
-As a foreigner, that Cops-like show they just advertised about the UK Border Patrol scares the hell out of me!
-Oh, House is on. It’s the second to last episode of last season… and judging by the promo message after it, I think this was the UK’s first showing of the episode. I knew they run behind us, but shit!

September 21, 2009
-Eh, up later than I wanted to be again.
-Off to Greenwich, via District line to Tower Hill, then via DLR from Tower Gateway to Cutty Sark.
-Okay, having some Oyster card trouble with DLR, card didn’t swipe right, got caught almost accidentally taking a free ride!

-At last, reached Greenwich.
-Long walk through park to observatory is long.
-Eastern Hemisphere, Western Hemisphere, Eastern Hemisphere, Western Hemisphere…
-WTF?! Camera battery died!
-I require a picture of me on the Meridian, so now all the way back to the Strand to charge camera. Sigh. I’m so behind schedule now.

-Hopefully, the 240V will make the camera charge up extra quick!

-Made it all the way back to Greenwich and got the picture of me standing on the Prime Meridian.

-Worth it.
-OMG! This place controls TIME!!!

-Hurrying back to Tower Hill.
-Hey, it’s okay to eat on London transit. That saves time.
-Got to Tower of London and traded in my Expedia voucher for ticket. Yay!
-Aw, crap! Right after getting into the Tower, when the guards wanted to check my bag, my ticket blew away in the wind. Guards made some crack about “Gone With the Wind” and asked if I’d seen the film, and I was tempted to come back with some remark about the film being from and involving an event back in MY country!

-LOL, Beefeaters
-ZOMG! It’s one of those guards in the red coats and tall fuzzy black hats!
-Although, his job must seriously suck, all these dumb tourists (i.e. me) staring him, pointing at him, giggling, taking pictures.
-Jewel Tower: haha, some guy got caught taking a picture in there when it’s not allowed, and a staff person there chased him down and made him delete it!
-That’s good, even with just under two hours, still about to see pretty much all of the Tower.
-Wow, the White Tower has been standing here since 1080!
-One exhibit is going through history of the Tower since 1066.
-Included in history is 1776 when the United States declared independence.
-That’s right, bitches, don’t you forget it!
-If these ravens fly away from the Tower, England will fall.
-Although, they clipped the ravens’ wings, and I think that may be cheating.

-WTF?! Why is the Tower Bridge closed already? It’s supposed to be open until 6:30… ooh, stupid last admission time is 5:30. Who the hell would stay up there for a full hour?
-I guess I’ll just go to Harrod’s.

-Huge store is huge.
-Oooh, marzipan fruit!
-Oooh, Christmas World!

-London sushi!
-At a place called Yo! Sushi, where sushi comes by on a conveyor belt, at £2.20 per plate. I guess that means each plate costs a kilogram? *dodges tomatoes*

-Hell’s Kitchen is uncut! I’ve got to tell Galen!
-Ah, BBC plays Family Guy.

September 22, 2009
-Tube: Charing Cross to Baker Street
-Baker Street station tiles all have Sherlock Holmes silhouette!
-Hurry through little Sherlock Holmes museum, bought some stuff, and back down the Bakerloo line to Charing Cross.

-Walking the Mall to Buckingham Palace.
-LOL, here come the guards in their tall fuzzy black hats.
-Yes, Grandma, I’m watching the Changing of the Guard.
-Aw, I don’t have a great view. Can’t see what’s happening inside the gate.

-Alright, Thistle Grosvenor Victoria should be around here somewhere.
-Yay! I finally found some Five Alive!

-Found 101 Buckingham Palace Road, the Thistle Grosvenor Victoria. Now to wait for the tour bus.
-Whoa! Sweet Five Alive is sweet! No wonder. Along with sugar, it also contains acesulfame K, aspartame, and saccharin!

-We’ve gone west of London, for about an hour and a half now, into Wiltshire.
-Pretty English countryside is pretty.
-OMG! There it is!!! We’re here…
-It’s chilly and windy and humid… but it’s Stonehenge on the autumnal equinox!!!

-Back on the bus and back to London.
-Ooh, I should be way early for the London Eye!

-Argh! Stuck in assload of traffic going into London and I REALLY have to go to the bathroom!

-Finally arrived back at Thistle Grosvenor Victoria and raced into bathroom. Ahh!
-Now to the London Eye!

-Okay, 4D show is kinda cute.
-What not to bring on the London Eye: Children under 16 unless accompanied by someone 18 or older. EPIC FAIL!
-Oooh, shiny sparkly colorful nighttime city is shiny.
-o snap, a couple riding in the same capsule got engaged during the ride!

-Last night! Went to Wagamama again and had a big ass noodle bowl.
-LOL, I’ve eaten Asian food every night here.

September 23, 2009
-Last day! Off to Westminster Abbey!
-Protesters outside the Houses of Parliament! Something about Sri Lanka or Iraq or Palestine or gay pride.

-Okay, Abbey should be open by now. Instead, we’re waiting in a line. Come on! I don’t have much time.
-Meh, at least gift shop is open. Go there first.
-After gift shop, Abbey has opened. Yay!

-Abbey = awesome
-There’s the burial spot of the man himself… Charles Darwin.

-Checked out of hotel… Off to Heathrow!
-Some middle aged couple is also going to Heathrow, sound American. Woman kept worrying about whether they’d have to change trains or get off earlier, before I took pity on her and told her to stay on this train if they’re going to Heathrow. Sigh. Tube n00b.

-Why doesn’t this stupid terminal have a trash can anywhere?
-Lame. I again wasn’t able to get a window seat. So snagged an aisle seat just like the one I had on the other flight.
-It seems Heathrow security doesn’t make you take your shoes off.
-They don’t know the gate yet? What the hell?

-Okay, got the obligatory duty free Toblerones!
-Alright, my gate is A8. Don’t have far to go.

-Oww! My knee finally gave out on me! Five days of walking a big city does that.
-Going through the tunnel to the plane is painful.
-Oh, yes, please, randomly select me when my legs are about to fall off. Sure, go through my bag. Sure is a lot of crap in there!
-Lovely. Now flight is delayed because they’re having issues loading luggage. Meh.
-Alright, finally took off around 3:45pm.

7:00pm EDT
-And after eight airborne hours, we have landed.
-Out of the plane, again at Gate B38, and down to one of Dulles’s mobile lounges.
-Turned on cell phone for first time in five days to find four new messages: one from Hyundai about my car maintenance the previous week, one from my uncle, and two from my mom, who was all freaked that she couldn’t get a hold me (nothing had happened, she’s just clingy).
-Being new to US Customs, figured I had to fill out the form with all the souvenirs I bought.
-Yeah, they didn’t give a shit about the souvenirs. They just wanted to make sure I wasn’t bringing in any food. Other than the duty free Toblerones, which they didn’t give a shit about.
-US Border Protection: “What was the purpose of your visit to London?… What did you do there?… What kind of work do you do?” Lulz.
-I’m back in my country!
-Okay, there are like two other Heathrow flights that also just landed, how the hell am I going to find my suitcase? It’s not even saying which carousel we’re supposed to be at.
-Oh, there it is. *shrug*
-Uh oh, time to go through customs.
-Okay, again, all they care about is whether I have any food, and even then, they don’t give a shit about the duty free Toblerones.
-Okay, I’m through.
-Wow, I always heard coming through customs was like majorly invasive. That was… very painless.
-Now back to my car!
-Now I have to face stupid reality again. :irked:

Epic win.


  1. Does London really have cameras everywhere outside?

    Comment by JerseyJ — September 26, 2009 @ 9:57 pm

  2. Yes! Everywhere, so much that it was getting funny. They even have speed cameras on highways every few miles. At least our speed cameras here are just in like neighborhoods and stuff.

    Comment by Katrina — September 27, 2009 @ 11:47 am

  3. Was that the first time ageism made you RAAAAAAGE on another continent?

    Comment by Ryan — September 28, 2009 @ 4:26 pm

  4. Nice account, hope you got a proper pint. Mind the gap & of course all the damn cameras. London isn’t so bad (just ain’t quite up to American par. 😉

    Comment by Xenu a.k.a A.E. — October 2, 2009 @ 3:52 am

  5. I still want to go to Europe, Damnit. :doitnow:

    Comment by Robexib — October 2, 2009 @ 8:39 pm

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