The World As Mare Sees It...
London: Day One 2002-11-22










Operation Mini-Skirt Status: -31.8 lbs. (I only gained 1.6 lbs. in England! Oh, happy, happy day!)

Mood: Much relieved that my supremely inflated state was only in my imagination; still feeling a little blue from typical post-holiday syndrome, although recovery is imminent, thank Christ...

I know, I know... I've written two entries, and I haven't said a damn thing about my trip. I really thought I'd be able to dash it off in a fury of joyous writing... of course, I also thought I'd keep to the diet, and completely abstain from any form of pleasure like alcohol and pasta and bread, so that just goes to show how very wrong I was.

Here we go. I'm aiming for the bare facts, but you know I'm going to digress a little here and there; wax poetic here and there; skim over the finer details here and there...

I don't know whether it will all be done in one entry. I may have to space it out over the next few. Bear with me. I'll love you forever if you do.

Thursday last. We landed in London half an hour ahead of schedule. British Airways, by the way, is amazing. The British just know how to fly. Every seat has it's own personal monitor, where you have your choice of movies and sitcoms. I caught a couple of episodes of Absolutely Fabulous, which was typically brilliant and hilarious. And the food? Now, normally, plane food makes me want to walk softly and carry a big stick. You just never know what it is at first - or second - glance. But BA? The food was not only easily identified, but it was surprisingly palatable. Frankly, it was darn good.

Oh, and the steward in my area? Iain. Lovely fellow. Totally camp, ridiculously handsome, and when he asked me sweetly in that prissy English accent, "Duty Free?" I nearly swooned.

So, anyway, it was a smooth flight, and nothing untoward happened at all. The older lady next to me - someone who could rightly be referred to as spry and sprightly and young at heart confided to me that she used to be a stewardess back in the mid-sixties. I stared at her grey pageboy, and her Joan Collins-style eye-makeup, and immediately got a picture of dishevelled uniforms, locked cockpits and pilots with foolish grins on their faces.

I'm a sinner.

So, where was I? Yeah, we de-plane and go though all the usual airport rigmarole, I step out of the airport, breath in the dirty London air, and feel like I've come home.

I board the tour bus, which is part of the package that I bought. It was a great deal, actually, because they picked me up and dropped me off on both sides of the trip, but other than that, I wasn't stuck with the group at all. Because we landed so early in the morning, there was no way our rooms would be ready, so we were taken on a tour of the city that lasted about three or four hours. It takes about an hour to get from Heathrow to central London, anyway. The tour was uneventful, although I must say that the tour guide, Fiona was just perfect. She was the quintessential English girl, with fair skin and straight ginger hair. Plus, she had on the most wicked coat! Totally Love Story-Ali McGraw type of thing. Funny how both times I've been to London, the first thing I notice is the supremely good outerwear sported by the English.

Fast forward to Thursday afternoon. Tour, hotel check-in, (for a single room, it's surprisingly not at all cramped) and a then I grab a much needed nap and shower. Lovely.

Oh, really cool thing. Four years ago, our local was a place called Deans. My group of Americans, Canadians and Aussies became regulars, and as such, we got to know the other regulars who used that particular watering hole. There was a group of boys there who worked in a hotel in the area. What I didn't know was that the hotel in question was the one I was staying in this time around. So, imagine my surprise when I go to check in, and realise that once upon a time, I bought a beer for the porter behind the desk! After a minute, Ryan started recalling fuzzy memories, and said, "Yeah! You're one of those Americans!" I grinned and corrected him quickly. American, indeed! We chatted a bit, exchanged memories of different people and promised to hook up at some point during my stay.

In my room... I called home to let them know I was alive. Then, I called Denny straight away, and we both squealed about the fact that I'm in London. Arrangements are made to meet the next day, and then I took myself off on a 4 hour walk around the West End, reaclimating myself to London streets, London sights, and Londonites. And Lord, I completely forgot about my astounding ability to spend the pound sterling in multitude when I'm let loose in that most money-claiming city.

On my way back to the hotel, I pass Salsa, a Latin club on Charing Cross Road that I had always wanted to try when I was there the first time. Of course, back then I didn't know a mambo from a salsa from a guacamole. Since then, bless Arthur Murray's soul, I've become quite adept at following a strong lead on the dance floor.

However... and this was a big one... I had no wish to go to a dance club alone. After a minute of that, I gave myself a mental talking to and straightened myself up.

"You've come to London by yourself. It's not like you don't have friends. You'll be seeing plenty of The Domestics, and Jude is coming to London just to see you, so what is your problem?! Go and have a good time! It's only a salsa club! And you'll probably make friends!"

So up to get ready I went, donned the highest heels, the most shiny pants, and the brightest red shirt in my suitcase, and went down to hail one of those London black cabs that I love so much. However... as I was passing through the lobby, Ryan, and Rob, another boy from the old days, stopped me. "You're going out, then?"

"Yeah, I thought I'd be independent and glittering and paint the town red by myself."

"Well, if you'll wait half an hour, we'll go with you!"

Oh, joy! So off we went to Salsa, where they drank more than I've ever seen anyone drink, and I took a salsa class. (I have to say, I'm not amazing at salsa. In fact, it's my weakest dance. But hell, I wasn't bad at all! The instructor was certainly surprised!) The night goes on, and in a very cool manner indeed, strangers kept asking me to dance. And what's more, I said yes and had an amazing time! In fact, I only hung out with Rob and Ryan between dances, when I absolutely had to pause to catch my breath and down a drink. (They're lovely boys, by the way, and if you ever get to London, you should totally look them up!)

And so passed my first day in London. I thought I'd be lonely and in bed early, but I made friends, and stayed out as late as my jetlagged state would allow me.

See, now that's what a holiday is all about!

It looks like this is going to take more than a single entry. So, more details later, I promise... stay tuned....

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Check In - 2011-03-25
Ain't love grand? - 2010-07-26
Airing things out - 2010-02-22
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Same old same old (arse) - 2010-02-16

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