Monday, September 5, 2011

Good bye UK

Well, I am still behind on my posts - I have one last one to do for Nigeria and then one for the wedding, however you all know how much I hate typing on my iPad, so that has held me back. Now I am sitting in the London Lounge at the Hell they Call Heathrow waiting for my flight, so I am taking the opportunity to use a real computer with a real keyboard to do my last posting of this trip, but not my last post - if that makes sense. (I am comitted to my other 2 posts)

I got back to London yesterday afternoon after a quiet train ride back from Newcastle. I do believe that we all had had a good time and needed the 3 hour train ride to regroup before we hit London again. Unfortunately the aircon was down in the car that we were riding in - ugh! Once we got to London, Nick & Susan headed back to his aunts and Judy (these are my friends I was with this weekend) and I took the tube together to my stop, where I got off and she changed trains. Keep in mind that by now I am now dragging around a 25kg suitbase, 1 carry-on, a pillow and a purse - so I am sight to be hold as I navigate the tube and the streets! :-) I was booked into the Sheraton Park Lane, which is a lovely old art deco building built in the 1920s facing Green Park and right by Buckingham Palace. Luckily my patronage with the Starwoods group has paid off and they upgraded me to an executive room, which was quite nice. Unfortunately the Queen wasn't home or I would have popped by for a visit!

When I was in Nigeria, I got a note from an old friend from uni who invited me out on my way through London, so I took him up on the offer. He was having a few people over for a bbq yesterday, so when I got to town, I checked in and headed over to his place. Luckily, it was a bunch of Canadians, so I thought that my liver would be a little safer than the weekend I had just spend with the Northern Irish. I was wrong. On my way over to Greg's, I stopped at a wine store to pick up a bottle and the fellow there assured me that it wasn't swill, however when I got to Greg's, I immediately saw that he was a huge wine lover, as evidenced by the 2 large wine coolers in the kitchen and immediately knew that my wine was probably swill - I hope that he just binned it! In any event, I had a lovely evening catching up with him and getting to know his friends - one was from outside of TO, one from Manitoba and one from NE BC. We managed to drink a bottle or 6 of wine and had a lovely meal. Today I am feeling much better than anticipated, however my body is looking forward to detox. 3 days of consumming for me, is probably more than I have drank in the past year! I love hearing about their London lives and how they are going to pop over to France for the weekend, or head to the weekend place in Switzerland. Yah, I get to go to Fort McMurray. Something just doesn't seem right here. Speaking of which, I am heading there nice bright and early tomorrow morning - the travel never ends!

For those of you who know me well and know my travel habits, you will be shocked to hear that this princess is riding at the back of the bus for this flight home. I am low on upgrade credits and unless the gate agent feels sorry for me when I board, I will be sitting in economy. Shocker I know. I have known this for a while, so I am mentally prepared :-) Plus, since it is a day flight and I don't need to sleep, I figure that it won't be too bad. The good thing is, is that with my Elite status, I still get to board the plane early and get all settled, without having to jostle with the commoners as they board the plane :-)

So this is probably my last great adventure for the year - I think. I am heading to Hawaii for a couple of weeks at Christmas but I am not so certain as that qualifies for an adventure or it's own posts but we shall see. What I am continually reminded of as I globetrott this world, is that it is an amazing world full of amazing and beautiful things and people to see and how so very lucky I am to be able to do so!

Friday, September 2, 2011


What is poulard?  Twice now I have been offered it on Lufthansa and when I said I would have chicken, in was told, no, it is poulard.  I asked if it was turkey and was told kind of.  So if you know what poulard is, please tell me.  To be honest, it was like a dry chicken breast.  Oh the joys of mystery meat coupled with airline food.

Overall, Lufthansa isn't bad to fly with.  They have really good blankets and pillows - probably the best I have ha so far.  I mean who has feather pillows?  And I am not talking about upfront either, I am talking back in economy - yes we have feather pillows and yes I do fly economy. :-). Their lounge in Lagos leaves a little to be desired.  It is 3 floors with the 3rd floor being an enclosed smoking room, however the smoke still managed to waft down to the main - ick!  It was still a much better place to hang out rather than in the terminal since I had 3 1/2 hours to wait from when i arrived at the airport. Then when I was walking to my gate, I went past the BA lounge and it looked pretty posh - Lufthansa definitely has the ghetto lounge!  They have also cheaped out on their E90 - no seat back TVs - what gives?!

So my flight was leaving at 9:50pm and I left a good 7 hours before - crazy I know, considering i am the girl who likes to show up just as the plane is boarding!  Not here i didn't!  However in Lagos you never know what traffic is going to be like and today it took us about 3 hours to get there.  Traffic was a little crazy but I guess it can be worse.  Then when you get to the airport it is like a quasi-organized chaos.  First you get your bag weighed, then you get your passport and ticket checked and once you have done that you go up to the counter, all whilst moving in and amongst a maze of people and different boxed off lanes.  You don't decide where to go yourself, someone tells you and there are people everywhere.

At the boarding gate you go through another round of security.  I am telling you that the security here is more stringent than at Heathrow or anywhere in the US.  After another round of ticket and passport checks, they search your carry- on again and then you get a full pat down and when I say full, I mean full!  She patted down the girls and  lady bits!  Only felt slightly violated. :-). Nope, can't say that in was hiding anything there.

Our flight was almost an hour delayed leaving Lagos - something to do with luggage. Fortunately I have my iPad and was able to keep on watching the last season of the Deadliest Catch, which I had started earlier in the evening in the lounge. I really don't know how people travel without one. I managed to get about 21/2 hours of not good sleep on my flight to Frankfurt and we only landed 15 minutes late, which was good considering. I then caught a 6:45am flight into London City Centre which I much prefer to the he'll that they call Heathrow, although the immigration lady sure was not chipper at 730 in the morning and had a lot of questions. Remember lady, I am from one of your former colonies, we have the same queen!

I have a wedding up in Newcastle on the week, the whole reason behind the trip and the plan was to take the train from London around mid-day with my friends Susan and Judy. Luckily for me, Susan was staying with her husbands aunt so I took the tube up to there - I am very good with the tube ;-) and was able to take a shower and feel like a human again after my over night flight and before we hoped on the train. Overall a fairly uneventful trip up north. The wedding is tomorrow and we head back for London on Sunday and back to Calgary on Monday where this adventure will end.

I still have some more tom post on Nigeria which I hope to get around to by the end of the weekend. Hope everyone has a great labour day weekend!