In the land of grump and crank.

June 12, 2012 § Leave a comment

I’m finally back in my favorite city on Earth: London. It’s been a whirlwind couple of days, and I’m pretty well dazed.

Sunday evening we left Boston on a red eye flight to London. Last year, I took a similarly scheduled flight and couldn’t sleep a wink. I arrived in London at 7:30 a.m. not having slept in most of two days (I’d deprived myself of sleep the night before my flight so that I would be tired on the plane), navigated my way to a hotel, and passed out face down on top of my Kindle from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Of course, waking up at 10p.m. after 7 hours of sleep completely screwed my internal clock, and I ended up spending my first few days in Spain sleeping for ghastly amounts of time. Our plan this year was to avoid this pattern and sleep on the plane at any cost.

Thus, we went straight to the airport bar. I drank a glass of wine and took some melatonin.  By the time we boarded the plane, neither L. nor I could keep our eyes open.

Me: “I’m so tired the world is spinning! Do you know that feeling?”

L.: “You’re drunk.”

Me: giggle

Indeed, between the wine and the melatonin I was completely useless and beyond tired. So was L. And yet, at 6:15 a.m. when we arrived in London, neither of us had slept at all. Moral of the story: we can’t sleep on airplanes.

Aside from the immediate irritation of being sleep deprived, we were also irritated because we had each invested a great deal of time in trying to make sure this didn’t happen. Not only had we carefully planned and executed our pre-departure activities; we had also spent the week prior to the flight adjusting ourselves to the English time zone. I spent most of last week waking up at obscene hours (3 a.m, anyone?) and going to bed at equally ridiculous times, and all for naught.

So, alas, we arrived sleep deprived and, in my case, hella cranky. We took what seemed like an interminable Tube ride to King’s Cross, and from there sought our hotel. It turned out to be just a scant block or two from King’s Cross, but we had a small amount of difficulty finding it. The difficulty stemmed largely from my insistance that we were not where we wanted to be, despite all indications to the contrary. Poor L.

But we made it. We expected that because it was only 9 a.m. we would only be able to drop off our bags but not check in. Thanks to some miracle, however, the extremely friendly woman at the desk ushered us straight to the room, where we promptly collapsed from exhaustion.

Our efforts to adjust to the time zone may not have been a total waste; when we eventually arose around 2 p.m., we were surprisingly not too disoriented. We struck out in desperate need of food and wound up at a nearby pub where we fortified with red meat and beer (ok, I drank cider). As we stuffed ourselves, the pub began to fill with eager football fans hoping to see the England-France match. We were joined at our table by a middle aged man and his young daughter. I was torn between thinking it was cute that he had brought her purple backpack full of distractions and thinking that perhaps he should be finding something else to do with her. I supposeit is neither here nor there.

We left as the game began and headed into Picadilly Circus and Leister Square. We wandered around for a while, eventually procuring for me a suitable outer garment. I neglected to pack a jacket, convinced that it would be in the mid-60s while we were here, and I intentionally didn’t pack my rain jacket because it’s rather enormously too big for me at this point. My pitiful umbrella was less than effective, however, and my sweatshirt was not really the look I was going for, so shop we did, and buy a remarkably satisfying waterproof windbreaker I did. Huzzah.

Although we had felt refreshed after our nap, we were quickly tired again, and we headed back to the hotel quite early. Having nothing much better to do, we watched a BBC show about birds, toadlets, and otters.

It may not have been the most outstanding start to our vacation, but considering the sleepless circumstances, we agree that it was a success.


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