Thursday, October 6, 2011

Other things about London (much less important)

Just kidding! There's more to London than squirrels.

First there was an excruciatingly looooong plane ride from Hong Kong to Heathrow airport. Adam seemed to have a good time, watching numerous movies, music videos and tv shows, while I tried, quite unsuccessfully, to sleep. The plane was pretty full, and I came to realise how lucky we had been on the way to HK to have a row of seats to ourselves so that I could lie down. However, there were plenty of choices of things to watch, so I managed to find some half-ok movies to keep me distracted.

When we arrived in London, it was hot (!) (Hot!) and I came to rue my merino top and long pants as we had a half hour wait at immigration while our plane load of foreigners tried to get our visas looked at by two customs officials. After 20 hot minutes, they brought out a few more staff and the queue started moving a little more quickly! Again, biosecurity was a lax as HK, and we didn't even see any officials at the counters as we pushed our suitcases through!!! After passing the police guarding the airport doors with rifles AND pistols, we made it to the Comfort Inn, and even though our air conditioning was, very sadly, broken, it was great to lie down and change into cooler clothes.

(I have to say, I was quite surprised that neither of us experienced any jet lag at either HK or London, I think the airlines do a good job of helping your body to adjust with their lighting and the times they feed you, and both times once we arrived at our destination we felt like we could just work on local time and perhaps go to bed an hour earlier than usual.)

On our second day in London, we took the train to Paddington Station (yes! like the bear!) and walked around Paddington, Hyde Park, and the West End for most of the day. The most important thing to note, is that soon after we began our stroll through Hyde Park, we saw a small furry creature. Then another. And another. SQUIRRELS! Adam managed to drag me away, and we continued our walk through the park, then past Buckingham Palace. What a huge, ornate place! We were, and are, constantly amazed at the money that was once used to express the power and wealth of the British Empire, particularly as we both think that such richesse and grandeur could not be replicated in today's society. We decided not to go on a tour of the Palace, as it was a Saturday and the crowds were pretty thick. Instead, we had a nice lunch at a wee cafe in the West End and then returned to Hyde park where we sat and watched squirrels for a couple of hours. By the time we returned to our hotel room we were pretty knackered, and I think we both slept pretty well - apart from wishing our air conditioning was working!!

In the morning, the newspaper was reporting that the previous day was the hottest day in October EVER recorded in England - in London it was just over 29 degrees, and I think parts further south were even warmer. We were expecting it to be pretty cold, but we were pleasantly surprised to get to experience the end of this warm spell.

Our final time in London was spent walking for the train, running for the train, and travelling on trains. Late Sunday afternoon we arrived in Chester, a town near the north-east border of Wales, where Adam's cousin met us. Finally, a face we recognised!

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