Thursday, April 16, 2015

London, Part 4

**Start at the beginning: Part 1 London, England

I landed at London Heathrow Airport at about 4 o'clock in the afternoon. I immediately get off the plane and begin trying to navigate the airport. I was a little nervous going through customs, but it wasn't so bad. I went up to a desk when I was called and the guy at the customs desk asked me what brought me to England. I told him I was there to celebrate my birthday. He asked me what I did on my birthday and I deadpanned that I packed for my trip. He gave me a look that said you are pathetic and stamped my passport and I was let through. As tired as I was, my excitement couldn't be contained. I was wandering around the airport when I was spotted by an employee. He called me "love" which totally made me turn into a puddle of goo. Can you believe his name was James? He asked me did I need any help and I told him I was a bit overwhelmed because this was my first time flying and I wasn't exactly sure how I needed to get to my hotel.

James asked me what had brought me to the country and I proceeded to burst into tears all over him, a complete stranger, but I couldn't help myself. He didn't look shocked or upset that I was crying all over him. I told him of my troubles and he listened with a kind ear. I explained to him how my marriage had just dissolved and I needed to get away. I told him the kicker was my husband had paid for the trip. Then he told me how his ex-wife had left him, but now he was happy and with someone new. He too, restored my faith in humanity with his kindness. He told me some of the great places to visit while in London and I bid him farewell. Did I tell you he called me "love"?!

After my meeting with James, I found an Oyster Card and loaded it and hopped on the tube. Riding "the tube" in London is quite an experience. For those of you that don't know, "the tube" is what we Americans refer to as the subway. The people do not talk to each other unless they get on the tube together. It is so quiet on the tube sometimes I swear you can hear a pin drop, and that is no lie. Everyone has their head phones on, or they are playing with their phones or reading a magazine. That was a bit of a culture shock for me. The reason for that is being from the South Eastern part of the United States we say "hey" to everybody and I had never been to the big city before.

The Tube photo
(Pic of inside of car on tube)

After a bit, I get off in Acton so I can find the place where I would be staying. Do you know what I did? I wandered around West London for a couple of hours trying to figure out the public transport and where I needed to go. I knew that I needed to get on bus 266 to get to the London Guesthouse. I know I walked around in a freaking circle for an hour. I was tired, hungry, frustrated and I just needed to have a good cry. So, in rush hour traffic, at about 7 pm in the evening, I found myself standing on the roadside in West London, spinning around in a circle. So I plopped down on the ground and just cried my eyes out, read my map and then headed to the nearest pub. I knew where ever there is beer there are happy people and they would help me.

The bartenders at the pub showed me where to go to get on the bus. I, of course, got on the wrong bus, and after I realized it, got off that bus and got on the right bus, number 266. I finally made it to the London Guesthouse at almost 9 pm that night. I have never been so happy to see a building in my life that I recognized. I burst into tears as soon as I walked in, and the staff there was amazing. I told them about all my issues with the flights, and how I got lost, and they took mercy upon me. They said "This is your first time flying, and you chose to come to one of the biggest cities in the world?" I said "Yep". The owner looked at me and said " Here is your room key, you go rest and we will settle your bill in the morning". I gave him my most sincerest thank you, went to my room, took a shower and went straight to bed.

London Guest House photo
                                                 (Sign for London Guest House)

London:Part 5