This post was actually written on June 5, but when they pertain to a specific date, I’m backdataing them. Also, in the tradition of protecting my family’s privacy, as usual, Internet aliases are used instead of names.
Just as I gave up on staying awake on the plane, they started raising the lights. We were less than 2 hours out of London and it was time to feed us breakfast. I don’t remember what breakfast was, just that I was thoroughly disinterested in it and wanted to be off the plane.
We landed in Heathrow without incident and walked through what I still swear were the employee entrances (lots of long skinny corridors of plan wallboard) until we were finally herded into passport control.
Passport control was a loooong line that terminated in someone asking us why we were here and when we were leaving. It wasn’t nearly as terrifying as I’d somehow worked myself up to it being, and by then I’m not sure if anything could have terrified me anyway. I was too tired. We collected our luggage and met up with Viv, who handed us a bag of soda and water and weird British candy and led us to the car.
An example of weird British candy
Because we couldn’t check into the hotel until 2, goatfiend took us back to the flat, where we enjoyed unlimited Internet, soda and snacks, a delicious breakfast bread, and wonderful wonderful naps. We were out so cold that Viv went out for a bit, returned, and had to get the neighbor with the spare key to let us in because despite the fact that the flat is 800 square feet and I was less than 5 feet from the door, neither of us heard her knocking to be let back in.
When plantnerd returned home we feasted on huge huge salads, chatted and caught up and drank tea, and then finally checked in at the hotel.
The room was nice, if small. Two beds, a bathroom larger than plantnerd’s kitchen, and a window that actually opened. We promptly went about the usual tasks of choosing beds, setting up (and paying for) internet access, and trying to figure out how to charge 2 laptops, an iPad, and 2 phones on one UK power converter.
Here’s the wrong answer: power bar. I’d packed an old 6-plug power bar from the house, figuring that we could plug that into the wall and then plug all our stuff into it. When you plug the converter-laden-powerbar into the wall, hear “FFFT!” and smell something almost exactly like gunpowder, you rethink your ingenious plan.
The right answer turned out to be twofold: borrow a second converter from the cousin, and change hotel rooms. That’s right, I said change hotel rooms. You see, everything in the UK is triple checked to make sure that it’s electronically OK to plug in, so they almost never blow a fuse or circuit breaker. When they do (as we did – none of the plugs on the desk now worked, including the TV), the hotel staff don’t know how to fix it. There’s no breaker box in the hotel room. There’s nobody on staff certified to go find the problem on a Saturday morning. The only solution was to switch us to the next hotel room down the hall… which is exactly what we did the next morning.