Once again, a nice big gap. At least it’s not six months, just two or so.
I’m in the middle of a trip, and a couple of weeks ago I decided to expand Storytrade to cover not just stuff about writing and telling stories, but other things as they come up.
So now you get to hear about the London/Paris leg of my trip. Catching the flight at Newark was bizarrely easy. There was no line. Yeah, you read that right, no line. A ticket agent was standing by the electronic ticket kiosks and asked if I was heading to London on Virgin Atlantic today. I said I was, and he walked me to his counter.
At Newark. This happened at Newark. Even more strangely, the security line was short, with no more than two people in front of me. At Newark. Say it with me: At Newark.
And then, the flight was maybe half-full. Listen: I know I’ve heard tell that the British are kind of cold and a bit brusque. Simply not true. Not a single soul has been unpleasant with me, and all I’ve received is courtesy and consideration. I do make an effort to be polite and helpful myself, but still.
The flight itself was an hour shorter than scheduled, but that’s not the important thing. The important thing is this: I waited 15 minutes in customs. No more than that. Didn’t even have to register my fingerprint, either. Afterwards, my bag was fairly quickto come off the carousel, and then to customs, where I ducked into the declaration line to let the nice customs people know I had a kitchen knife in my luggage and had no plans to take it out until I got home to put in away in my kitchen. No line there, either, and they had no problem with the knife.
And then I was off. We’re talking 20 minutes in customs. I was assuming two hours.
So I have a bit of time on my hands before I can get into my room. I’m in the lobby of Clink 78, an old courthouse converted into a hostel. I’m in a single, as I’m no longer young enough to find the thought of sharing a room with a stranger as a new and exciting thing. The sleep deprivation is beginning to hit me now, and I’m feeling a bit dizzy at the moment. I know what it is, so I’m not creeped out, but it’s not fun. I’m weighing whether to try to push through today and sleep early, or take a nap and wander at night. If I can book a table at St John Bread & Wine, I might just push through.
A pair of Aussies just rocked up to the front desk. I don’t think there were any on my flight, but I’m not really sure. (Full disclosure: I’m a US citizen living in Australia.) The Clink has an Australia Day celebration on the 26th; I don’t know if I’ll go. I was never the party type even in my mid-20s. I’m certainly not one now. I’m hoping noise doesn’t leak from the basement to my ground floor room.
I’m very close to King’s Cross station, which I like. I enjoyed my first Underground ride, but I’m a transit geek. I think, on the basis of one ride, it compares favorably with New York’s subway. I do like the Oyster card, which is much better than the MTA equivalent, the MetroCard. No RFID chip in the MetroCard. However, London has zones, and New York has a single fare system.
I’ve noticed a lack of bendy buses and a good number of modern double-deckers. This pleases me enormously. I know there are two routes that still run the old Routemasters, so I’ll try to snag one at some point.
I’m thinking I’ll try to book a day trip for this weekend, most likely to Stonehenge. I need to check my options for Dover Castle, though that may not pan out because it’s a bit far, even for a day trip. And I only have so many days, anyway.
At any rate, I hope to have some photos for the next post. Nothing special, just little things here and there.