I got up at 8 this morning, showered and went to the airport, waiting for more than 2 hours with Kasey, the girl who had taken my place at the orphanage. It was interesting to talk to her about the kids, who she connected with, her impressions of them, her own complaints about the staff. She freaked me out about Tuberculosis though, apparently someone in their group had been exposed to it, and I HAVE been coughing a bit and I did have a dramatic weight loss (though that was from the many stomach illnesses I had). But surely I would KNOW if I had Tuberculosis?? Gosh, I hope so. Those who know me well know I will obsess over this until I get a TB test when I get home. Damn. And now I’m eating cookies to try to get rid of the dramatic weight loss, in hopes that it will make me TB-negative. Crazy logic.
My flight was just slightly late, but they assured us that we’d be in on time. I changed seats 3 times for 2 different couples, so they could sit together – I guess I’m wearing a blinking sign that says “SINGLE TRAVELER!” I sat next to an older Indian woman who kept trying to talk to me in Hindi, and sadly, after 2 months I couldn’t understand much of it. She also had her feet where my feet were supposed to go, and her arm kept ending up in my lap. I suppose it could have been worse though! The flight was 9 hours or so and I watched The Darjeeling Limited, Walk Hard, and Atonement. I’m proud of the variety in my choices! Some crap, but not 100% crap.
I got to Heathrow and pretended I was on The Amazing Race, which didn’t work too well because I was carrying 100 tons of luggage that I was tripping over, and that I could only sustain dragging for a minute at a time. Finally I had made it through immigration and got my bags, and then had to make a run for the Underground. I got there and after a few puzzing minutes trying to figure out what “zone” I was going to (stupid me thought that as a New Yorker this would be second nature), I and my many pieces of luggage were on the train.
The ride to Kings Cross took almost an hour, and then I had to drag the luggage up stairs. Several nice young British men helped me. I made it there 5 minutes before my train was due to leave and ran to the kiosk to buy a ticket. It couldn’t handle my credit card for some reason, and as I was waiting in line at the ticket office while the man in front of me weighed his MANY options, the last train to York left.
Now I was in a panic and immediately got teary. I controlled it quickly for fear of looking like a crazy American. It was 1 or 2 am Indian time and I hadn’t slept much the night before. I called Fran and she tried to see if I could get a train to Leeds but no trains were going north and the bus station involved changing metro trains, so I gave in to staying in London tonight. I wasn’t sure what to do, where to go, I didn’t have the number of Kristen, John and Avery, and plus it was getting late and they were definitely not expecting me. Fran advised me to get into a taxi and ask for a Travelodge, so I did that and had a lovely driver and ended up here at “Premier Inn.”
I’m just excited to be in a modern, clean place with a BATHTUB (that will certainly give me herpes or something) and a big comfy bed, watching British TV. And I bought a sandwich at the pharmacy – smoked tofu with chili jam and mixed bean sprouts on whole grain. It is fantastically yummy, and I love that I can buy a tofu sandwich at the pharmacy! England is the best ever. In the end, I’m reminded of how much I love London and how happy I am to be here, despite the whole disaster that today turned out to be.