I’m now at Heathrow, having spent yesterday in London. I’m again writing this from my phone, so bear with me.
Overly detailed updates for November 29:
- I said goodbye to Cambridge Friend, who had to leave early to teach a workshop. It was hard. I don’t want to talk about it.
- Before departing for the train station, I frantically searched her flat in Cambridge for things I might forget, consulting the comprehensive checklist in the notes app in my phone. The process took a good thirty minutes, which I had accounted for in my schedule. I know myself so well. In my defense, my memory is so bad these days that I find myself leaving stuff in the stupidest places (you may remember the peanut butter sandwich in the cupboard incident). That said, I had forgotten nothing.
- I accidentally gave the taxi driver an enormous tip, being particularly flustered and momentarily forgetting about the exchange rate. Oh well. We had had an interesting conversation about Greenland, it’s good to be overly generous sometimes, even if it’s not on purpose, and, as you can tell, I’m really good at making excuses for myself.
- I took an uneventful train ride that’s probably not worth mentioning. Just did. Sorry.
- I arrived at King’s Cross and met London friend, whom I met during undergrad. (Volunteering at a theatre festival, I think? Unimportant! What matters is that we’re still good buddies many, many years later.)
- The hunt for Paddingtons began. In anticipation of the new Paddington Bear movie, there are Paddington statues across London. Since I’ve been to London many times, I had no burning desire to do any typical sightseeing stuff: what I really wanted was to spend time with my friend and indulge in a bit of exploring. The Paddington Trail, as it’s called, allowed me to achieve both these aims while also providing dozens of photo opps. We decided we’d do the mini-trail centred around Paddington Station because I mean c’mon, it’s Paddington Station.
- Even with a map, we got lost many, many times. It was great. We found a total of nine Paddingtons in five or so hours. Of course, in the Paddington store in the station, we overheard a ten-or-so-year-old girl boast about the fact that she had seen thirty-one so far that day, and it was only 12:30. I’m choosing not to believe that little liar.
- Paddington mini-trail complete, we headed for Oxford Street to do the tourist thang. More specifically, to go to Selfridges to see the (excessive and overpriced) Christmas stuff and to Uniqlo so that I could buy some of their heat tech merchandise. This proved a horrible, horrible mistake: the sidewalks were packed to the point of being unwalkable. I guess Black Friday is now “celebrated” in the UK. The world is a confusing and horrible place.
- Several bus and tube rides later, we had collected my bag from the left luggage facility at King’s Cross and were safely at London Friend’s flat. (Remind me to pack lighter next time, by the way. Though I’m by nature a cold person [in all senses], I probably won’t need this many layers.)
- We ordered in Thai food. I obsessed about getting to the airport on time. She refused to allow me to leave earlier than would get me to the airport 2.5 hours early (the recommended time for flights within Europe is two hours). I regretted the conversation about OCD we had had earlier in the day.
November 30 thus far:
- I left this morning after a sad farewell and got to the airport with a ridiculous amount of time to spare.
- I survived the initial handing-over-passport ordeals. Observation: I really wish that airlines, security agencies, and border control were obliged to hire half lefties and half righties. Equal opportunity, right? An anti-discrimination measure? As a bonus (definitely not the primary reason I want such a measure to be implemented), there would be even wear patterns on my precious travel document. I’m suddenly motivated to become a pro-leftie activist, all in the name of preserving the integrity of my passport. LIFE IS UNFAIR.
About to board. Next update from Iceland!