The Comfort Economy section on the long portion of my air travel was overbooked due to the configuration of the actual plane not being the same as the one pictured on line. Many of us were given different variations of "the computer system has a glitch in it, you no longer have the seat that you paid for." It wasn't so bad for me, but the 6'5" chap I met in line wasn't happy and I can't say that I blame him. That extra 3-4" of leg room would have been great for him. By calling it a computer problem, they didn't have to compensate for "their error". Apparently, a computer glitch is akin to an act of God. I was lucky to have the middle seat next to me empty also. Another pleasant surprise was the actual Gluten Free meals with which I was presented. Delta has come along way from writing my seat number and "GF" on my breakfast banana with a Sharpie! I had an honest to goodness Udi's GF Chocolate Muffin which I admit I ate for dinner a little while ago. I'm too tired to worry about proper nutrition today.
I breezed through passport control after a pleasant chat with the agent and headed out to the Underground, withdrawing cash at an Amex ATM along the way. As I stood figuring out the logistics of breaking a £10 note to get change for the phone to be able to contact the agent to arrange picking up the key, a very kind gentleman who was assisting people by the elevator near the phones asked me if I needed assistance as I looked lost. He then very kindly offered me the use of his phone to call the agent. Then he and his colleague gave me some very kind advice as to which type of Underground pass to buy and I was on my way. I have found everyone whom I have asked for assistance to be extremely kind and helpful. I'm not sure why I haven't noticed this before, unless it is because I'm travelling alone and my attention is focused more outward than towards my travelling companion.
I'm staying in a compact little flat in the Kensington Chelsea area. What it lacks in charm, it more than makes up for in location. My goal is to stay awake until after dark, so I grabbed a coffee and walked up the road to Harrod's to check out the place. Here are some photos of things that caught my eye along the way. The juxtaposition of the brick colors was interesting and the cherry blossom photo reminded me of one I took with my phone on a walk back home earlier this week.
Harrod's is a lot like Las Vegas, only I think Vegas is less expensive. I was looking at some scarves and felt like my fingers had been singed. £189. Ouch. After that I simply kept my hands behind my back as I walked around. I'm sure the body language was obvious. The prices weren't the only thing that is a bit over the top.
At this point I noticed that I was having a little trouble walking in a coordinated fashion and decided to head home doing a little shopping along the way. The whole way home it felt like moving through a fog and I was constantly amazed at how little time had expired between glimpses at my watch. At one point I would have sworn that the battery was dead. It seemed like my brain was mumbling the whole way back...um mum mumum...bzzz.
I now have a bunch of magenta tulips in my apartment as well as some yogurt and soy milk for breakfast tomorrow. I've unpacked the suitcase and am now simply waiting until it seems "not too early" to go to sleep in my attempt to get on London time. I am just off a main road here and there is still traffic whooshing along out there and people rushing to and fro.
There are many other impressions from my first few hours here, but there's this background noise in my head...um mum mumum....bzzzzzzz that is getting in the way. I'm going to roll with it.