Day Two

I finally drifted off sometime after 3am and woke around 6 am to leave for the airport. Security was packed with people returning home after the holidays. On my way to the gate I grabbed a Latte at Starbucks and drank it slowly trying to take note of the flavors, texture, and aroma. It was delicious as always, but I have a prophetic feeling Starbucks, could lose its hold on me once I’ve had a “real” french cafe`.

The flight was on time and it was a beautiful morning. I didn’t have a window seat and I could tell it was bothering the
passenger next to me but I couldn’t stop looking out the window. As we passed through the fluffy, white Cumulus clouds and
continued to rise the ground was replaced by a bed of cotton. The type you find in a miniature Christmas village. Seven hours and 4000 miles later we had crossed the Atlantic and were landing at Heathrow Airport. We lost six hours on the flight, making it about 10:30pm, London time. Customs took only a half hour, but was fairly nerve-racking. Waiting in the line brought on the familiar nervous feeling that comes when a police car is behind you at a stop light and you start running through the possible violations, checking the not guilty box in your head. Of course I filled out my landing card improperly, which annoyed the agent.

I have always admired cities with effective public transportation. My first trip on The Tube was great. With a bit of dumb luck it was not overly difficult to figure out. It is nearly identical to the L Train in Chicago. However, unlike the L it was a smooth ride and the soft feminine voice telling me to “mind the gap” was the only thing keeping me awake. After forty minutes, I arrived at my stop. Now I just had to find a bed for the night.

The first thing I saw as I walked out of the subway station was a big red double-decker bus. Everything before that moment
had felt dreamy and surreal. The bus snapped me into reality. I was in London and it was certainly foreign. I had copied the
directions to a hostel, however I didn’t have a reservation until the next day. Turns out that was the least of my troubles.
There are no street signs in London. After about a half hour of wandering around I realized the names of the roads were posted on the sides of buildings. I began to head back to the station to try my directions out again, but dumb luck struck again and I ran into a different hostel where I was able to get a bed for the night.

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