I AM IN LONDON
It still doesn't even quite feel real. Luckily, local time does feel real and I've pretty much conquered my jetlag. Yay! So, since I can, I'm going to give you a HUGE RUNDOWN of the last ~24 hours.
Getting my boarding pass and checking my bags and all that jazz was super smooth. My gate was also really, really close to the security checkpoint, so I didn't have to take that weird tram thing. (My gate was G6 and you betcha I was singing that song in my head.) So, the G terminal is INSANE at MSP. There's a super hip, modern bar there as well as a restaurant and every table has an iPad built in. There are also a good 100+ stations with complimentary iPads and charging ports. I was super worried about my iPhone dying on the flight, but I think it went from 99% to 87%. So...I was a little overly anxious there. I always wait around to get on the plane because I don't want to spend more time than I have to on the plane, but literally two minutes after they called my zone they were like FINAL BOARDING CALL and I didn't get to pee beforehand, OR fill up my second water bottle. D:
So, my seatmate was this super chill old lady named Gertrude. Her passport was full of stamps and she was like the best traveller ever. And she was funny. I felt really bad because I had to pee a few times during the flight and she only got up ONCE and it was like 8+ hours on the plane. I was in the window seat and there was zero legroom, so there was no way to politely go past her without disturbing her.
Since we took off at about 10:00 PM, the first four or five hours of the fight were dark, which I hated. And then the sun started coming up and I was like FINALLY I can look out the window and calm down about not being able to get my inner ear oriented and this DAMN FLIGHT ATTENDANT comes and closes ALL THE SHADES. And I was like, okay, I have to at least be able to see outside a tiny bit, or I'm gonna get motion sickness. So I opened the shade ever so slightly, so the brightness of the sun was only visible to me and Gertrude. And then this super high maintenance girl from across the aisle, who was facing the opposite direction and talking to her hubby turns over and goes, "Uh, that's really bright. Can you close it?" So I did. Until she fell asleep facing the opposite direction of the window and I opened it again. Screw her. Get a face mask.
So we landed and I was exceptionally relieved because holy shit 8+ hours on a place when all you can do is listen to music (or in my case, podcasts) is really brutal. I didn't sleep at all, either. I never can. D:
The first thing I did off the plane was pee Niagara Falls, and then it was time for customs. I was feeling a little queasy since I hadn't eaten much or slept at all, but I was fine. The customs guy who asked my questions was absolutely terrifying and mean, but I guess that's to be expected.
And then I was free. Able to roam about the UK at my leisure. Aaaand all I wanted to do was sleep. So I followed the instructions I'd written up on how to get from the airport to my flat, which was easy once I figured out where the Underground entrance was. (It was not exactly where I thought it would be, but I wasn't too far off.) I bought my (holy fucking expensive) Oyster Card, and got on the tube. The tube is the easiest damn thing in the world. So much easier than NYC. I had to switch to another line during my trek to the flat, and I had no problems at all. Easy breezy (beautiful Covergirl).
I went up way too many stairs and escalators for someone carrying a decent-sized suitcase, and I was on the streets. And I was disoriented as all hell. London has this thing where it doesn't actually have street signs. The street signs are only for specific buildings or locales, but they never tell you which street you're on. I didn't know that. The street you're on is painted on the side of the first building at the start of the block. Why? I don't fucking know. So I walked in a circle or two with my bags and my sweat and finally kind of figured it out, and then meandered slowly but surely in the right direction. I finally found my stupid flat, which was great until I had to go up to my room and get inside. There are three locks on the door and two keys, and some of the locks turn different ways to open than you'd expect. So I'm standing there, sweating, tired, and I can't open the door. I can't call anyone and ask for help if I can't figure it out, either. Luckily, I finally cracked the code and got in. And I stripped down and looked around a bit, and then fell promptly asleep.
I was planning to get up around 7 PM to explore a bit, but I was exhausted and it was raining. So, my first "day" in London actually consisted of me getting up at about 9:00 PM, finding my way to Tesco Express, and coming back to the flat, where I am now blogging. The best part? I couldn't figure out the damn locks. Again. I hate this door.
So, tomorrow I think I'll go to Oxford Street in the morning, head to the London Eye after lunch, and maybe find a cool pub for the evening. I'll probably hit up Baker Street too, and/or Forbidden Planet. If my Oyster Card doesn't run out and charge me another one billion dollars for tube fares.
Thanks for all of your well-wishes! More tomorrow. xxx