It is the end of our first full day in London and I think I am coming down with a cold. The last month has finally caught up with me and I just feel run down. I am fighting it with Airborne, orange juice and prayer! Despite my droopy eyes and sniffle, I am determined to give all my loyal readers a thorough update! With that said...
3:00 pm: Chris and I got lost while trying to find the British World Cargo drop off for Moe. We drove in circles around Hartsfield Jackson Airport and when I called for directions the lady put me on hold. I waited for her to come back while we drove around but we found the silly place before she ever came back! Once inside the staff was less than helpful. After about 15 minutes of feeling invisible a lady came to help. Her first comment was that Moe's crate was too small and he would not be able to fly. At this point I was tired, nervous, anxious, and just plain frazzled! My eyes filled with tears and I had to go outside because I was certain I was about to let out some serious sobs! Once I got it together I went back in and found that they had located a larger crate. Moe would fly after all! Serious sobs averted...
4:00 pm: After dropping Moe, Chris dropped me and all our luggage at curbside check in so he could go return the rental car. The only problem... there is no curb side check in for British Airways in ATL. Luckily, there is Oliver! Oliver is a skycap who saw me standing in front of the self serve trolleys (that is a British term!) and came to my rescue. Now, doubters are saying he did not rescue me because he is honorable but because he wanted a tip. I say nay, nay, nay! He loaded all the bags with Chris and as Chris drove away he said he would call me. Again, my eyes filled with tears (I cry when I am tired!) and I said "my cell phone is dead!" Too late, Chris was gone! Oliver and I went inside and headed towards British Airways check-in where I expected Oliver to unload and leave. Instead, he took me over to a wall socket and told me to charge my phone. He got luggage tags for all our bags and watched them while I went to the ladies room. Once my cell was sufficiently charged he wheeled everything over to the check in area and unloaded the bags! I tipped him like I have never tipped a skycap before and would have hugged him if that wasn't weird!
4:45 pm: Chris successfully returned the rental, met me at check-in and we were on our way through security. I have mentioned before that I have a love/hate relationship with TSA agents. Somehow, I always manage to get in trouble or I get funny comments (see Discombobulated Ki- Put.) Why should this trip be any different? The TSA Agent at the metal detector commented that I had a large scratch on my chest... why was he looking so closely at my chest? I tried to look at it myself but couldn't see it. I remembered that I had a hang nail and had scratched myself while pulling my bag over my shoulder. So I told him that I had done it to myself. He says (very loudly) "Have a safe trip and no more self mutilation." Several people turn to look and Chris just hangs his head in shame... poor guy, stuck with me all the time!
5:30 pm: We settle in at the International terminal bar. The pianist was playing and we commenced Operation Call Parents. Upon completion of all the calls... we enjoyed a glass of wine (beer for Chris) and ate a light salad. We chatted with the people next to us who were heading to Italy to board a trans-Atlantic cruise.
7:30 pm:Just as we take our seats, the pilot comes on and reports that it is snowing in London! Seriously! EVERYONE told us that it never snows in London, bunch of liars! As we taxi down the runway, I am thinking about poor Moe. Chris and I had a laugh talking about what he must look like as we bounce down the tarmac. I wrote in my notebook, "Poor Moe... I can't hear him but I CAN hear him! My heart is breaking for him because he has no idea what is happening." moments, the wheels are up and we are really moving to London! I spent most of the flight worrying about Moe and trying not to think of all the things I did not get done. The friends I never called, the emails I never returned, the stupid phantom Comcast cable modem that I owe $ for... the list goes on from there. I also started to worry about landing, picking up Moe, finding our housing, etc.
Wednesday, October 29th
7:30 am: Wheels down and to the gate with no wait on the tarmac! It is official, we are no longer in Atlanta! Customs and Immigration are a breeze. The Agent checks our passports and visas. She checks Chris work permit, stamps everything and wishes us luck in the UK! Wow! I hope the rest of the day goes this well! We collect our luggage on 2 trolleys and wait for the driver. He meets us around 10:15 am. We were told to pick Moe up at 11 am so this works out perfect.
10:45 am: We finally find the Pet Reception Center at Gatwick and cross our fingers. I have heard that this can be a nightmare! I gather up all his paperwork and hand it to the lady. She is surprisingly cheerful and very nice (not like in Atlanta.) She says everything is in order, Moe has been in the Cattery and is no worse for the ware! Out he comes looking a little less than happy but alive! Yeah, we didn't kill the cat. Into the car we go for a 1 and a half hour drive to our housing!
12:00 pm: We arrive to our Apart'Hotel and learn that we have been booked into a studio with a Murphy bed. I can not do this room justice with words so please see the pictures below:
I will not bore you with the details but we finally got a 1 bedroom! Not exactly what we were expecting but we have free Internet access, a real bed and a couch! We are located in the City of London which is only 1 mile by 1 mile. Our neighborhood is called Barbican and apparently it is a very nice but expensive area. There is a Starbuck's 1 block away, a large grocery 2 minutes walk, and several express groceries as well as restaurants in every direction.
Chris and I took quick showers, change clothes and fight the urge to sleep. We head out for a bite to eat and grab a pay as you go cell phone.
4:00 pm: Chris and I return to the Apart'Hotel and fall asleep. He claims he only slept because he knew I was feeling bad! I am not buying it! I awake at 5:30ish to a phone call from the front desk that our 1 bedroom is available. We load all our bags on to trolleys, force Moe back into the crate and move for the 2nd time in less than 24 hours! Once in the new room, we each have our own closet so we unpack our clothes and settle in for the next few weeks!
7:45 pm: I put on my skinny jeans (thanks for the hem Laurie!) and boots and we head out for dinner. We immediately find ourselves at the Sutton Arms Pub. Our first beers to start our new life in London... Orval! Go figure, we move to London and still manage to find the best places to drink Belgium beer!
11:30 pm: Chris and I are out like a light with Moe snuggled in between us!