Day 0: Manhattan, KS, USA - London, UK
22:30 - 01:37 CST: chatting, finishing tasks on the FIBR and SUROP projects.
01:45: Time to "get up" and hit the road.
02:15: The moon is full, but distant, the air cool. A good night for setting out.
02:18: Banamum does the initial driving. I take the passenger seat, still a bit drowsy.
02:50: You know Banadad has the luxury of being in the backseat when consipiracy theories on peanut growing and the airline industry are trotted out.
03:00: It's back to pencil-on-paper blogs for me!
03:00 - 04:00: Assorted naps punctuate my thoughts this morning. The hum of the road lulls me and the sporadic headlights of cars on the other side of the highway jar me awake.
04:10: Hungry. Jarred awake by Banadad's warnings about sundry exits to get to the airport.
04:45: Arrive and repack. You've heard of the "Chinese fire drill" (which has no roots in any culture I know of)? Well, our Chinese family does actually shuffle luggage contents before boarding.
05:10: The first shuttle bus leaves out of lot C-2, All That Jazz (edit, 00:25 CST Tue 09 Aug 2005 - I can't believe I wrote this down and still didn't remember that it was C-2!)
05:30: In line to check in.
05:50: Security screening - shoes and socks. No power outlet. Sit in the terminal and wait briefly.
06:10: Board. Every time I get on a plane and am dragging a rolling suitcase through the aisles, I will be reminded of that Capital One commercial with the thwarted viking-turned-flight attendant whose morningstar hits passengers in the face.
06:15: In-flight magazines give me a feeling of power.
06:25: American Airlines flight 1611, MCI (Kansas City International) to ORD (Chicago O'Hare International), flight time 56 minutes.
07:20: On the ground at ORD. Struggle to jimmy my power adapter into a finicky power outlet, the only available one.
08:40: Start boarding American Airlines flight 90, ORD to LHR (London Heathrow), flight time 7 hours, 10 minutes. Notice the guy next to me is reading Atlas Shrugged. It's odd, but people are often reading either Rice or Rand on planes. I wonder what it means.
09:12: The London temperature is 62F (17C).
10:05: Flying over the Midwest.
10:30 - 12:00: 1.5 hours of 2.5 Men.
12:00: Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous. What? It was funny!
14:13: Start reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.
14:43: Realize that I made a serious booking error.
16:00: Flying over Ireland; watch the flight map on the little screens set into the headrest in front of me. Blackpool, Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, and London. It's exciting to see these names I've read so many times and realize I'm flying over each city for the first time.
17:10 CST / 23:10 GMT: On the ground, going through customs. The custom agent observes that she and I have the same birthday.
23:30: Hire a car. 55 pounds to get to the Globetrotter Inn in central London (Hammersmith), 70 to get to Gatwick tomorrow. Hrm. Yep, we got fleeced a tad bit. This happens a lot; you'd think I'd learn. Well, the driver (not a cabbie as nearly as I can tell) is a Pakistani aerospace engineer and graduate student. "Inshallah," he says. Indeed.
23:45: Check into the Globetrotter Inn.
00:05: Call and cancel the car for tomorrow.
00:10 - 01:20: Planning for tomorrow and the return trip. I seem to have failed to communicate what the hostels and their amenities would be like.
(Click on any photo to get the full-size version.)