Before I forget, I am running a contest for a Baby Sherpa Diaper BackPack, just like the one I use, on Read to Me, Dad.
It is so nice to be home. Yesterday was one long day of lines, security, rules, cramped spaces and waiting. Well, yesterday morning in London was cool because I went on my trip around London places with Paddington on his Paddington Adventures. I hope you liked the Flickr set. I wrote about that for Photo-A-Day yesterday. It was kind of cool being ahead of the game with Photo-A-Day while I was in London. Sure I was still posting way too late in the day but being in another time zone I was posting much earlier at home so it worked out.
After I posted my Photo-A-Day yesterday I checked out of the hotel. And I still had an hour and a half before one of my co-workers was due to arrive back at the hotel. We were on the same flight so agreed to go to the airport together. I went and had some Fish and Chips and used the hotel wireless to do some blogging. At 2:35 my co-worker showed up and we got her bags and headed to the Kilburn Park station to go to the Paddington Station for the Heathrow Express. I had bought my ticket earlier in the day so I was all set. The trip there was nice and quick with one minor glitch. The escalator in the Paddington station was not working. We had to climb the stairs with our luggage. So much for my shower and staying cool.
We got right on the Express and settled in for the quick 15 minute ride to the airport. The express is way better than the Tube. If only airline seats were as comfortable as the seats on this train. It was also air conditioned and so I was back to being cool. We arrived at the airport, got a trolley and made our way upstairs. Check in was easy because we used the self check in stations and then went right up to security. This is where I had my first little bout with security. Nothing major just a slow down. I hate slow downs at the airport for no reason.
I got to the X-Ray screener put my bag on the belt. No need to take off shoes or take out my computer either. But then my bag was diverted off the belt. Uh, Oh what’s up. So after waiting for the security guy to get to my bag he brings it over and asks if I have a metal bar in the bag. I know exactly what he was talking about. This was my XShot 2.0. The device I used to get the portraits of myself in front of the major monuments in London. I had positioned it across the bag and when compacted it is a pretty solid looking item. I explained to the security guard what it was. I was going to put a camera on it but they wouldn’t let me. He took it to the head of security to figure out what to do with it. I certainly didn’t want to lose it. But he brought it back after telling me that it looked like a police baton. This was something I had feared before but have been carrying an XShot with me for years now and have had no problems. They must be sharper in security in London.
Even though I had a slow down here I still managed to get behind a very slow group of people who could not figure out the next step which was the shoe screening machine. Yes, there is a machine just for screening shoes. There are two lines and I also noticed a section where people didn’t have to screen their shoes. I was annoyed at that at the time but then realized that it was the fast track section and they must have screened prior to getting to this entrance.
Once I was done going through all those hoops I was in the holding area/shopping/eating area. You see, when you go through security in London you don’t go to your gate. You go to this holding area where you can buy gifts, have lunch and wait. You wait to see the big board announce the gate for your flight. But in this area I was able to get my gifts for my family and have a quick lunch and also take more Paddington Photos. I took Photos of Paddington from the Heathrow Express till we got into the car in Boston.
When your gate number appears on the board you get into another line, show your boarding pass and passport and wait in a tiny gate area with no bathroom or any other facilities. I get really annoyed when there is no bathroom because, like the movies, I like to hit it right before boarding. That way I won’t have to go for most of the flight. While in this area I wanted to take a photo of Paddington and the plane out the window. It was right next to the extra screening area. I took a chance, walked up and shot a photo. I couldn’t tell how well it came out and when I was looking a little lady came up to me to admonish me about taking photos. Not in this area. Okay fine, at least I got the shot I wanted.
Boarding began and I took my seat. Group 1 finally kicked in for me so my co-worker could ride my coattails onto the plane and we could deposit our bags and take our seats. The flight was long but I watched the last 5 episodes of Season 1 of Burn Notice so I was fine. I also played a video game and watched part of What Happens in Vegas. I didn’t sync my iPod properly before I left because I had a ton of podcasts I wanted to try out. I am lucky I had Burn Notice Season 1 however. That made the flight much more bearable.
When I got home I went through customs and then down to wait for my bag. I wanted to take photos there with Paddington but you can’t and you can’t use your cell phone either. A very creepy guy told me this as he walked around and around the luggage belt. I was like, Thanks creepy guy I’m going over here now. Then it was out to the car. Here’s something I didn’t know about Logan Airport. When you fly international you may leave out of any of the Terminals but when you return you return to Terminal E. I parked in Terminal B. So, after everything else (which wasn’t bad just long and annoying) I still had to walk all over creation to get to the car. On top of that I went the wrong way and had to walk double the area to get to the car. But I got there eventually. I buckled up Paddington and shot a photo of him in his seat belt. After some traffic and an hour or so I was finally home.
Today we just hung out, caught up on some shows form this past week and I got to give Eva her Paddington and read her the 50th Anniversary Paddington book. I love the book because I can do many, poorly done, accents. It was lots of fun. Eva was quite squirmy however so It made for a bit of a frustrating time reading and trying to keep the book in good condition. After seeing the exchange rates on what I paid for everything (checked the card statements online, yikes) I had better keep that book in pristine condition so she can hand that to her grandchildren.
I’ll be making my own book soon, one of all the Paddington Adventures Photos so that Eva can see where her bear has been and we can read it together. So I need to work on writing a nice story for this book.
Tomorrow we are off to see Jimmy Buffett do a set at the Newport Folk Festival.
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