Friday, June 06, 2014

London: The Day of Jet Lag

Our first pints

Sleepy June, catching the sights

An overnight flight to Europe is a funny place, a gallery of people in odd sleeping positions:1 heads tilted back, mouths agape ("catching flies"); heads lolling to the side in neck pillows; the girls slumped forward over their fold-down tables (I couldn't fold my lanky form forward if I tried). We all caught a couple hours of sleep, not much. And our first day in the city was fogged by drowsiness. But that didn't stop us from getting out and about

The tube ride from Heathrow was long. A sweet young couple — him: nerd-punk; her: frump-chic — chatted with us. We saw a fox by the side of the tracks. June loves foxes and was very excited. The young man from the couple pleasantly commented: Oh yeah, city foxes — terrible dirty things.

Our agenda for the day was modest: get a traditional lunch-time Sunday roast at the neighborhood pub. The food was straight-ahead English meat and veggies fare, tasty. (Sarah, the queen of research — and a die-hard foodie — had found out all about this.) And it was our first of several forays into the world of British ales. (My last time in England was when I was eight. I didn't drink much then.) And after, on a whim, we hopped on the #3 bus into the heart of the city, making a round trip there and back again.2

And then naps for the fam. (I took a walk. I'm not generally a napper. I drink too much coffee.) Indian take out for dinner.3 And an early evening visit to the lovely adjacent park. (It was one of the couple of days of good weather during our trip. People were out in droves.)

The girls played at a fantastic playground. It had a see-saw. The adults discussed how, due to fears of injury, the U.S. no longer has see-saws. Minutes later, Louise severely mashed her foot while playing on it. (This launched a whole micro-saga, which I won't fully detail at this moment, regarding the woes of finding medical care in a foreign country, if the foot was broken,4 would we pay astronomical insurance-less fees, would she spend the rest of the trip on crutches, etc. Short version: The dilemna was solved. It was badly bruised but not broken. She successfully gimped around, crutchless, for the rest of the stay.)

And finally, deep slumber.

1 There were other notable features: meals (June was extremely excited about eating on an airplane; for me, it felt like a time warp back to when meals on planes were standard fare); the sociological entertainment of watching rush-hour patterns to the bathrooms (as soon as the seatbelt sign was turned off, after meals, when the "morning" lights were turned on...); eavesdropping on the stewardui's chatter and gossip (we were within earshot of the back gallery), etc.

2 The #3 bus proved key to our London sojourn, departing from right in front of our house, driving right into the heart of the city, and back. Taking it was like taking our own special £1.45 tour — with a soundtrack of multi-lingual chatter. (Riding the bus proved to be one of my favorite parts of the trip.) And at every one of the dozens of a stops, a posh automated British lady-voice said, "Three... to... Oxford Circus," which each time, left us expecting it to say, "Three... two... one," a weird little psychic jarring that will remain etched in our brains forever. (We took the #3 a lot.)

3 Much of the best food in England is the non-English food.

4 Louise was already travelling with a broken wrist from a previous incident. She's been on a bad injury-streak recently.


  1. You certainly have a way with words!

    1. Anonymous2:34 PM

      That ale looks good enough to drink!

  2. Anonymous5:28 PM

    What did you see and hear (and smell?) on the busses that was so interesting?

    1. They were all double-deckers, so climbing to the second story, we had fantastic views. And London is an incredibly international city. The bus was full of a tremendous cross-section of people, many many languages I didn't recognize. And the bus is part of the everyday bustle of the city. Traveling the buses gave an insight into the city entirely different from what one finds visiting the main tourist attractions.

  3. Anonymous5:32 PM

    June bug is looking a bit like Emma Watson in that photo.
    Teresa in Cali