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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Day One...Or Is It Two?

Well, I managed to fake myself into believing that I had a good night's sleep on the early evening red eye to London.  I expected that my arrival at the airport would be met with some of Britain's famous queuing.  The sign said E.U. travelers to the left, everyone else to the right.  The right has a six or seven rows of switchbacks full of people and then the line took off down the hall.  So, I headed down the hall.  When I got to the end, I discovered another hall full of people.  So, I headed down the hall.  When I got to the end, I discovered another hall full of people.  So, I headed down the hall.  When I got to the end, my friggin legs were getting tired, but I had one more hall to traverse.

An hour and a half of queuing is enough for anyone.  Yet, I was convinced that I had more queuing to do at baggage claim.  I was wrong.  Apparently, the baggage checking chaps had popped out for some tea.  I knew I should have brought that raw beef with me.  Oh well, maybe next time.

After hauling my bags around the terminal a bit, I found the shuttle kiosk.  The gent told me that I could expect a 30 to 40 minute wait for the shuttle to arrive.  To my surprise, it was more like 30.  However, we had to wait another 15 minutes for them to round up some more passengers and to plan their drop-off.

If you've ever been to Heathrow, you may know that there are four main terminals.  Fortunately, we only picked up more passengers at one other.  Only a short fifteen minute drive.  I learned several things after this. I learned that on Sundays, because the traffic is not too bad, they fix the roads, which makes the traffic bad.  I learned that if the driver needs to deliver his passengers to six different hotels and you are going to the last hotel in the route (contrary to the 10 minute planning session's suggestions), you are looking at a drive of over two hours.

I learned that if you try to buy a SIM card at the airport, you will pay ten pounds for it, whereas elsewhere it will be free.  I learned that rates vary from 30p/min to 10p/min.  And, most importantly, I learned that if you want your new phone to work, you need to turn it on.

As day one (or was it two) wore on, my fake job on a night's sleep was beginning to wear thin.  After wandering around the neighborhood for awhile, I decided it was time for dinner.  I think there was a good Indian restaurant somewhere (the concierge put an "X" on my map), but I couldn't find it.  I did find Victoria Station.  They had a genuine Cornish Pasty stand, so I enjoyed a lamb and mint pasty with some potato wedges.  After that, I needed a nap.  I've managed to stay up until 9:45 local time.  I'm going for 11p.

Tomorrow is day one of the conference I came for. if you care to have a look.  Hopefully, I will meet new people and create some stories to tell.  Until tomorrow.  By the way, pictures are being posted on Facebook.  If you're not my friend, you don't get to see them.

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