Day Three

So the bag, was super heavy. Like, wearing a 50 gallon fish tank on ya back, heavy. All it really took was my short walk inside the Chicago airport with that thing and I was ready to chuck it. So after my one hour STANDING train ride to Gloucester Road, then a 30 minute walk in circles to find the hotel, I was in agony.

I bring this up now because by my second day, which was yesterday in our timeline here, however not yesterday as in the day that happened before the one we’re in now – pay attention! –  I decided to suck it up and ship some nonessential items stateside. Items like my fancy-pants outfit for the concert, a couple pairs of shoes, and because I figured the bag would get heavier before it got lighter, I went shopping for souvenirs. At Harrods.  Again, we’re still in yesterday, got it?

Now, back to today – day three today, not actual today – I needed to find a box. A rather large box. I started super early and went to… the post office. Turns out, I had started too early, and the location down the road from my hotel was not open until 10am. Next, I walked to the nearest [non-express] Tesco on West Cromwell. Now, I was already ON W. Cromwell, so I didn’t think it’d be so far. Wrong! I walked and I walked and they were open, but didn’t have a box. Not an apple box, not a shipping box I could purchase. Nothing. So, I went to a stationary shop near Earl’s Court. No dice. They were very friendly and I did find my other essential item: packing tape!

After a few more stops I found a Marks & Spencers Simply Food and lo and behold, in the bakery section – a gorgeous bread box newly devoid of contents! What a feeling of victory! I was on top of the world! I was so grateful to M&S that I decided to purchase the Sunday newspaper. I know, CALM DOWN!

I practically skipped back to my hotel – where I was rapidly running out of time before check out – and began to pack up my findings. Next problem – this box was HUGE! My crinkled newpaper wasn’t cutting it, so I did the only thing a reasonable person could – I went shopping again.

Not thrilled about having to maneuver through Piccadilly Circus, I steeled myself and made it to Lillywhites for rugby and footballs. They’re lightweight and they take up a lot of space!

Fast-forward to check out time… I left the large package and appropriate (we’ll get to this later…) shipping and customs forms (thanks to my good friend Squish via the handy dandy internet) with the front desk staff. I’d like to say right now – the Base2Stay staff were amazing! Multiple people were extremely helpful and went out of their way to look after the box as I made my way to Bristol, then Paris, then back to London – not intending to visit the hotel again during my trip (we’ll get to this later, as well).

By 2:30ish, I collected my still pretty ridiculous bag and took a cab to Paddington Station to meet up with Kate. I think we figured meeting around 4 or 5pm.

I tried to get as much of my wandering/perusing out of the way early, because I knew that once I put my backpack down, it would be an ordeal getting it back on my shoulders. I shoved through the London 2012 giftshop, a couple of souvenir stands, the flower stand, I think I picked up a sandwich from my new favourite store – Marks & Spencers Simply Food – and then found a table where I could set up camp.

Kate and I agreed to meet at the bear. What bear? WHY THE PADDINGTON BEAR! The statue. Trouble was, people kept congregating all over that thing! It was really unsettling how many inconsiderate groups of people decided it would be a good idea to ruin such a lovely photo op with their luggage, etc. I soon became frusterated and decided I needed to do something passive agressive about it! I started taking pictures of that loveable bear statue right through everyone’s luggage and whatnot. Of course, everyone looked at me like I was being rude. Hah! Um, excuse me sir, you’re the dumbass who decided to sit in Paddington’s lap. I’m taking a picture of Paddington. Not you.

Anyway, the hours ticked by. And they ticked by. After about four of them, I started to wonder what would happen if I couldn’t find Kate. What if she missed her flight? What if something happened? There really wouldn’t be a way to hear from her.

Is that not the Hogwarts Express?

A couple of months back I asked Kate for her synopsis of the day. In her words:

~ Hellish travel day, a plane – delayed to tube from Heathrow – had to get off once to wait for a new train then had to get off tube to take another line. Then that line ended before Paddington so I have to get out of tube station and walk to a bus to the bus to the Paddington stop to finally meet you near a bear I thought would be huge only to see you aren’t there. Luckily seconds later you happened to turn around and I happened to look in your direction and we found each other (aww…) many hours after we had scheduled. By the time we got to Bristol I was already tired of carrying my bag (see, it wasn’t just me!)  and knew we had to figure out how to get to our hotel. Pleasantly surprised when a cheap, short cab ride later we arrived at a very posh hotel that suited us very well. We had a little snack and decided to get some rest. I passed out immediately. ~

Okay, back to me now… it’s sweet that she thinks the hotel I booked for us was posh. It was quite nice, actually, I just would have liked it a little closer to city centre, as it rained the entire time, that was a lot of trekking around soaked with drippy spectacles.

I don’t recall the snack Kate is referring to – I recall starving. Anyway, we unpacked then went to bed. Or, I went to bed. Kate woke me up some time in the middle of the night because she was feeling jetlagged and chatty.

I think we talked for a few hours before returning to sleep. I really missed my friend.

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One Response to Day Three

  1. Siskel/Ebert says:

    This message is being left today, which is not tomorrow, but could be yesterday by the time you read it.
    Sounds like a rousing good time being had by all. With so much excitement around an empty cake box, I can’t wait to see what transpires if our dear author happens across an abandoned shopping cart. 🙂
    Am actually enjoying the adventure.

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