London

Holy Shit. Flying out of Reagan can suck quite a bit if you get there at the wrong time…or with very little time. No valet like at Dulles (which is actually a lot more practical and less douchy than it sounds). Long lines can also be a bitch. Flying first class can remedy many of these problems but in this particular case, we went to the wrong line, a packed little side counter we thought would be more convenient. Guy walks up and asks if you’ve paid for your bags yet, you obviously say, “I have to pay even in first class?” right? Well this doesn’t sound so good when the line is packed with miserable people who are now thinking what a douchy mcdoucherson.

Anyway, there are storms. Major storms. And headed straight at our layover point, NYC. Where unbelievably I have booked us into LGA and out of JFK (could only find the LGA flight in and since we were on British Airways first on the way out, I wanted the major lounge action at JFK, one of their non London major hubs…and this is the type of lounge where sitting next to Tom Cruise would not be out of the ordinary…). So the plane is delayed. Oh my. We may miss this beautiful flight, leaving from this beautiful lounge, on this beautiful plane, I made sure it was their most updated action. We booked a car to make sure our transition was smooth as possible upon arrival… So when we land we have about 80 minutes. Just enough time. We call the car. “Do you have your bags yet sir?” “Well no I…” “Call back when you have them sir…click.” Ok fuck. Fuck you fucker. We go to get our bags. They take forever…65 minutes. Pushing it but possible. We call the company. “No problem sir, he’ll be there in 10 minutes.” Wait WHAT!? We need him now. I tell him to shove his crappy car up his ass and we can get a cab.

Walking to the cab line I start to realize how dumb I am. It’s Friday night at LGA…and it’s obviously going to take an hour. And suddenly I hear an angel. “Do you guys need a ride?” says this petite, pretty New York woman. We race to her car and hop in. We tell her to vamanos! While driving she graciously and edge-of-our-seat dangerously checks the status of the flight. My angel! The flight is delayed! But not by much. We race towards Kennedy. We have a plan. I will run to the counter to tell them we are here. My companion will take care of paying the angel. I race off. Signs point down the hall…more signs point down the hall. I know if I can get to the first class counter they will take care of us…while giving me a hand job and dumping champagne in my mouth. Guess what, the counter is closed. I begrudgingly but anxiously race to the lowly business class counter. No hand job here, but probably still some champage. Guess what, the counter is closed. It’s economy or nothing. I race around the corner and find my girl…”come on” I shout! We can just barely make it…wait…WHERE ARE THE BAGS! “I thought you had them???” she says, as a look of dread comes over our faces. The bags, in the trunk of our angel’s car, are driving away. I run as fast as I can down the airport road…HHHEEEEEYYYYYY I yell to no one in particular. Just another crazy drunk New Yorker to everyone else. Nobody stops. I’m not sure anyone even turned their head. We are screwed. Like royal screwed. Like let’s mainline vodka and call it a day screwed. Wait, she says. I have her number. HUH, WHAT. You have the cab drivers number?!? How is that a thing? It’s like a miracle. It’s like a real, god involved, Christmas miracle. She calls. “Yes, I can come right back, but I’ve gotten quite far at this point” says the most beautiful voice in my imagination (yet that little devil charged us 20 bucks just to return the bags, ha! Oh new York).

She’s on her way, I race to the counter. I’m the only one there, but I see a woman. “Can you please help me? I am desperate.” She has a kind heart, and perhaps more importantly, sees the “British Airways First” ticket. I tell her our bags are on the way. Her face shows how strange I sound but my encouragement seals the deal. When the bags arrive we are whisked away to the front of the security line. We run to the gate and holy moly! They haven’t even started boarding yet. Another delay. Bars are found. Vodka is drunk. High fives are aplenty. We board and are escorted to an amazing section of only 14 seats in the nose of a 747. These seats are better than hotel rooms. Top notch everything. We drink, we dine, we nap. Breakfast greets our approach to Heathrow and we are on our way…now…London.

London is huge, and the airport ain’t so close. One of the advantages though is that you get to ride in a fabulous London black cab. These cabs are great. As far as roominess is concerned maybe the best in the world (except maybe in the crappy Bahamas where there was apparently a deal on old limos so you ride around in those all day like normal cabs, but they are shit, London Blackcabs are nice). Anyway, 100 euros to get to the hotel which is in the city center. I am appalled. Most expensive airport ride in the world. BUT, the driver was super nice and we dicussed all sorts of stuff including certain sites as we supposedly went through sidestreets because of the traffic on the main highway. We did see some but it was still probably bullshit.

If you can see an English world cup soccer match while visitng London I would highly recommend it…just make sure you aren’t in a room full of Italians and assume that their cheers are for Britain…cause they ain’t, and you suck. Cool place we found though, sports bar and night club. Full on dirty dancing during halftime.

Obviously I love bars and restaurants, but seeing old school British pubs never stops amazing me. They’re like the oldest places for imbibing in the world, and they wear it well. One of the spots we went to (you know nothing John Snow) still maintained separate areas for classes like they used to do in olden times (separate for gender and social/financial standing).

Lots of pubs, fish and chips, meat pie, and room temperature beer (though the alcohol can be quite low). We were warned on many occasion of the high alcohol content in our beer. Watch out yank, that’s got 5% in it. Well keep the other 95 then ya limey 🙂

I like London. I think staying next to Trafalgar square was good for us, and our hotel made it even better.

Notes to self:

-Our second night we did a huge steak dinner. Not totally English obviously but their specialty was Belgian beef. We had a great time, but yeah, that’s not a thing.
-Talking about Uber was tons of fun. They just had a strike and the cabbies were somewhat up in arms. It was lovely discussion.
-Tower of London was fantastic (didn’t see the crown jewels but who gives a shit). This place has tons of little nooks and crannies and even a basement torture display, which was small and cramped but still kind of cool.
-Gonna need to do the eye next time in London. The lines looked super long but I’m sure it’s worth it.
-We did the big bus tour here. Pretty helpful.
-While the Chunnel train is fast, you have to stop thinking that it’s nice. It’s fine, but it is definitely not nice.


Hotels

St Martins Lane (June 2014)