Travel Diary

Return to London

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  • Dec 29, 2003 – Leaving Town
  • Dec 31, 2003 – Back in London!
  • Dec 31, 2003 – New Years Eve in Paris
  • Jan 01, 2004 – 2004 Begins
  • Jan 02, 2004 – From Paris to London
  • Jan 03, 2004 – Oxford Again
  • Jan 04, 2004 – More London Exploration
  • Jan 05, 2004 – Making a Difference
  • Jan 06, 2004 – Wrapping Up and Final Thoughts

  • Where to begin? I suppose I could start at the ending, but that would make for a very short writing. Then again, I would be done and could go outside and play. Yet, it is rainy and cold out there. No, I think I will indeed write some reflections on my trip to London and Paris. And because I’m so nice-I think I’ll start at the beginning. No, really. Hold the applause. It’s the least I can do.

    Preparations for Battle

    I will commence by stating that I was open-minded for a fun and enjoyable eight days of adventurous vacation. You see, I did not start my journey by denoting, "This trip will suck! It will be excruciatingly painful—an experience worse than watching a Britney Spears movie…sober!" Yes, I was open-minded for a great trip. Hold on now, you mustn’t get me wrong. I really don’t have anything against Britney Spears as a person or singer. In fact, if she were open for dinner, I’d quickly clear my calendar. Okay, that’s provided I’m not currently booked having dinner with Christina Aguilera. But hey, the month is full of days. I’m sure both dates could be arranged. Maybe I could have dinner with BOTH on the same night. Wow. This is getting exciting, and I’ve only just begun!

    Alas, I digress. Yes, I certainly digress. This all has nothing to do with my trip. Perhaps the beginning wasn’t a great idea after all. I’ve written a lot of words and hardly even mentioned London or Paris.

    Okay, let’s try all this again. The trip to London and Paris would take place around New Year’s Eve. We would leave in 2003 and return in 2004. What better way to ring in the New Year? What could go wrong? I mean, what could possibly go wrong?!?

    I’ll briefly go over the history of this trip. It was planned a few months prior. Eight of us were going. One person wasn’t able to go. And then there were seven. Okay, that’s all fine and dandy except the canceling person was my travel buddy! Having a travel buddy is always a wise idea. That way, if the group decided to spend the day counting the number of pubs in London, at least my travel buddy and I could make other plans. No big deal. I was calm. I’d just bring along pen and paper and help count pubs. How many could there be? (Over 8,000 I’m told).

    Leaving Town

    On December 29, 2003, I was packed and ready to go. My friend Lesly arrived, as she was kind enough to drive me to the BART station. Before you go assuming that I’m being sarcastic there, I’m not. That’s exactly what I wanted. Personally, I’m not fond of driving people to airports. So why should I expect someone to drive me, especially since BART goes all the way to the terminals now? How would it look if the Bay Area spent millions of tax dollars making improvements to mass transit and I didn’t even take advantage of them? Mighty silly! That’s now it would look.

    The BART ride was calming. I made a phone call, got agitated, hung up on the person and then received a phone call back. You know, it was simple everyday stuff. I soon arrived at SFO. After standing in line a few minutes, Stephanie, Amanda, and Heather arrived. I dropped back in line to stand with them. They thought that it was a nice act. Maybe it was, except the plane wasn’t leaving for hours, so what good would checking in a few minutes early be? Hmmm…perhaps, I should have just left off with "a nice act." Our check-in went smoothly and we had plenty of time to kill. Feeling weighed down by excess American money in my pocket, I decided to lighten my load by six dollars and buy a Corona Beer. Someone may argue that the ingested weight of the beer would weigh more than the six dollars, but I would then be too buzzed to care. Though, I’m not buzzed now and I do care. Hey, I want my six dollars back! I’ve complained to the airlines. They aren’t returning my calls. I’ll complain to Corona next.

    After a lengthy wait, we began boarding the plane. Stephanie and I were randomly selected to be searched (and patted down). Okay, no big deal. It’s in the interest of national security and all. And really, I should feel special. Once cleared, we got to board the plane. Our seats were near the very back. Stephanie was kind enough to allow me the aisle seat. That way, if I had a small bladder, I would be able to make frequent restroom visits without disturbing her by climbing over her seat. But having a large bladder, this was never an issue. Please don’t mention that to her though. I hate to spoil her generous gesture. And since she has longer legs, I can’t exactly use the "I need the leg room" excuse.

    Flying High Now

    The flight was only 9.5 hours. Watching movies helped kill time. I wanted to be watching the same movie as Steph. That way, if she were laughing, I’d know why. With 18 different channels and dozens of people surrounding me, I always get antsy having people randomly laughing around me. I get distracted from my own movie and wonder, "Hey! What’s so funny?" This way, at least the person seated next to me couldn’t laugh without me knowing why. Sure, she could become sadistic and spontaneously laugh on occasions and make me think I had missed a funny joke, but she’s not that mean-aside from some cruel "wasn’t that song from your time?" jokes on the dance floor that would occur days later. Our first movie was Dickie Roberts. It was a funny piece. The free wine made it funnier—or did it just make me funnier? We couldn’t agree on the second movie. She ended up watching Sinbad and I watched a different movie. Of course I made sure to laugh extra hard throughout the movie to allow her to believe she was missing a ton of fun. Although, perhaps it would have been more helpful if the movie had actually been a comedy.

    I never really fell asleep during the long plane ride. We had some moderate turbulence. As a singer once said, "There’s a whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on." But it doesn’t bother me much anymore ( I mean the turbulence, not the song). To date, I’ve never read of a 747 falling to pieces due to “heavy turbulence.” So let us all rock violently from side to side and up and down. We know we’re safe. As long as the wings stay attached, I’m happy. It’s sort of like a very long roller coaster ride-except these guys provide vomit bags! Right on, British Airways, right on!

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