Saturday, February 09, 2008

London Calling

Flight AC868

Getting to the airport at 6:30am for a 9:00am flight.

An airport food menu

Airport food.

The sun is coming up.

Josie in the airport.

The deicing truck

Melting the ice on the wing with green goo.

More green goo.

Flight AC868, my flight to London, was delayed due to cold weather. What was supposed to be a 9am lift off turned to 10:30am. The extra hour and a half was spent taxiing in a queue to be sprayed with some orange liquid. The orange ice defrosting fluid was followed up by a bright neon green goop, probably put on to keep the ice off. The colouring in the fluids were new this year as last year the goo sprayed onto the plane was colourless (click here). I figured the change was so the guy spraying could tell where he had been.

I hadn't slept the night before due getting home late from Speedorama and having a late dinner. Afraid I wouldn't wake up in time to catch my flight I stayed up the night continuing to pack my gear and clothing. I was aiming to be at the airport by 6:00am to 6:30am, three hours before departure or the recommended time the airline gave when purchasing the ticket. Three hours is almost half the time in the actual airplane! I figured I'd try to be early because I was carting a bunch of stuff.

It's funny how with a week of packing I still forgot stuff. I realized I forgot my lens blower while in the taxi going to the airport. I could see the blower in my mind sitting on the table next to the tray I had labelled "Stuff for London". I had taken it out of the tray to clean the camera before packing it away. Crud.

An airplane takes off... we're next.

Me in a window seat.

My view.

Runway lights.

the first batch of airplane food.

The flight provided a breakfast. Pancakes or waffles. While I had already eaten in the airport at one of the slowest food places I've ever been served at, I ordered the waffles (see photo). Originally I told the stewardess that I didn't want anything to eat but they convinced me on making a selection due to the flight being a "long flight".

The plane was an older model and didn't have the fancy tiny monitors in front of each passenger. Instead there was a projection monitor in front of the cabin that was obscured by the odd passenger sitting in front of me. The plane was relatively empty. Maybe a person for every three seats.

I watched one and a hlaf movies. The first being "The Game Plan" and the second being "A Beautiful Mind". The speakers were pretty lousy and took too much concentration to make out the dialog so before long I drifted off to sleep. The flight was pretty uneventful. I'd wake up every so often to look out the window or eat more plane food.

Interesting cloud formation some where over Quebec.

The second airplane meal.

London lights

The first hurdle I encountered was getting to the hotel. Because the plane was delayed an hour and a half leaving Toronto, we arrived about an hour and a half late in London. It was 10:20pm London time. I was worried that getting to the hotel I booked wouldn't have anyone there. The last time I took a trip to London the person at the front counter was just locking up as I arrived. It was about 11pm during the last trip.

We arrived at the hotel by 11:30. Despite the web site saying they were open until midnight no one was there. It was locked up. I have to give kudos to the Taxi driver for his persistence in trying to get a hold of someone. At first after I knocked and pressed the buzzer, he knocked louder and pressed the buzzer longer. Then he tried calling the hotel using his cell phone. We were standing on the stairs of the hotel entrance for about ten minutes while he knocked on the door, the window, and back on the door. No one came.

As luck would have it Andrew (the designer who was already in London) knew of the sister hotel located closer to the BFC tent, on Cromwell road. We went there and luckily they had someone at the front desk. I managed to book a room despite the web site saying they were full up. Whew.

Andrew at Kings

After the hotel drama we went to Kings kabob house for food. I had a lamb burger and fish curry. The curry was pretty spicy and I'll probably regret eating it tomorrow.

On the news Camden town was on fire. It's an area I wanted to revisit as I had bought my jacket there.

Euro Coke

My lamb burger

Our first place to eat in London

Me on the second floor of a double decker bus.

Josie and Andrew

By 3:30am (london time) I was asleep, in a bed, at the Cromwell Hotel.

My deluxe room.

Shower and washroom


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