Ok, first of all, books weigh a lot more than I realized. So do shoes. And plug adaptors. And suitcases.
Second of all, time slows down when you are waiting for an international flight. I swear that it took eons for them to call our flight for boarding and when it finally happened the actual queuing up was like racing snails. (Please forgive me if I slip into Londonese from time to time.)
Third, putting little pillows in every airline seat is just asking for a giant pillow fight!
Seriously, Virgin Atlantic is a great airline to fly and I was flying with a great group of people.
We didn’t have any problems with luggage or boarding, flying or landing. I had time (10 hours and 40 minutes) to do a little people watching on this flight. First there was the slightly overweight middle-aged tattooed guy who undid his belt and unzipped his pants before he sat down and fastened his seatbelt. Glad I wasn’t sitting next to him! Across from me was a 40ish hipster with a genius cut (think Einstein) who was chatting up the blond British chick pinned between him and the window. His opening line was something like, “I’m a song writer and I’ve written a song, but it’s not really a song, but it sounds like a song.” Apparently, she was a songwriter too because they soon devolved into a conversation about ASCAP and BMI and performance royalties vs. mechanical royalties. I left them to their own devices.
The whole flight was really about anticipating the landing and helping my body adjust to the impending time change. We took off just after 9 p.m. and would arrive at Heathrow just after 3 p.m. the next day. That means I would lose a night’s sleep as well as most of an entire day. Thanks to the seat back screens where you can choose what you watch, I knew exactly where we were at any given moment: location, altitude, air temperature, head wind – they really do let you in on all the nerdfo about the flight.
We had dinner somewhere over Utah. I chose Chicken Korma, although the Braised Beef didn’t sound bad either. Apparently I was asleep when they came around with the Tiramisu because it was on the menu, but I have absolutely no memory of eating any such thing.
Between cat naps, I kept my eye on the vitals: -72 degrees Fahrenheit over the Rocky Mountains at 35,000 ft.
I dozed again, wishing I could recline my seat just a bit more, but glad the kid in front of me couldn’t tip any further into my lap. They flooded the cabin with light after a few hours and came around with more food. While I breakfasted off the coast of Ireland with nearly 300 people I would never see again, I cursed my iPod as the battery died in the middle of Rick Steves’ “Affordable London” podcast. So much for informative entertainment.
Thankfully, we landed soon after ‘breakfast’, withdrew some pounds (do they call it ‘cash’?) and sailed through customs (we must have, I can’t remember anything about it).
As we emerged from the bowels of Heathrow, we were greeted by Mimi (Not Me-Me, Mih-Me), our ‘tour’ guide. She fetched our bus (driven by Momo – no kidding!) and narrated the ride to the hotel through the London traffic.
Stay tuned for London Chronicles #2: A Night in London