Technically, I'm not even supposed to be in London yet. My original arrival date was this coming Sunday, but since I was flying standby on a friend's "buddy pass," I was at the whim of Delta Air Lines. All the flights out of Atlanta were booking up, so my friend said if I wanted to get here in time for my reading at Southbank Centre on Monday night, I'd better alter my departure date. So, yesterday morning I flew out of Atlanta to LaGuardia, then had to take the shuttle bus to JFK and chew my fingernails hoping that the flights to London weren't all booked up. I had three opportunities to fly out of JFK to London last night and by some miracle, I made the first flight. And it was first class. I am now officially spoiled rotten. This Delta jet had the sleeping pods, which completely recline into beds. The entertainment system appeared to have more selections than Netflix and I finally managed to watch The Iron Lady (seemed appropriate to watch Maggie Thatcher's story on the way to London, and Meryl Streep definitely earned that Oscar) and The Descendants (also excellent). I dozed for a bit before arriving at Heathrow.
Getting through customs and out of Heathrow was surprisingly easy. By this time it was 7 a.m. UK time and I decided to take the Underground into London. My Oyster card from 2010 still had some money on it, so no queueing up for tickets. The train slowly filled with commuters the closer we got to Central London until I was crammed into a corner with my bags. I have now survived a morning commute on the tube, not to mention huge disruption after a water main break close part of the Central Line.
Luckily, the Tavistock had rooms available when I arrived and I immediately went to bed. I'm feeling much refreshed. With a few extra days, I'm planning to have dinner with a friend tomorrow and perhaps take in the Damien Hirst exhibition at Tate Modern. So many options and so much more time!