London: Thursday, May 4

The Journey Continues

The hours pass and we fly into the rising sun; it is now the next day; this always feels like such a weird sensation for me.

About an hour out of London, breakfast was served. I observed again the strange, almost robotic manner of all the Air Canada Flight Attendants on this flight. They all looked stone-faced, humourless and soulless – they didn’t look unhappy, just… robotic (a la the women in The Stepford Wives or the Austin Powers fembots). This was highly unusual for Air Canada Flight Attendants as they are usually some of the best in the air.

Welcome To London!

At 10:37AM local time we touched down at London Heathrow. We disembarked and proceeded to UK border control.

It had been 5 years since I’d been in the UK and during that time the airport had installed “e-Gates” at UK Border Control. These things are great! Canada is on the accepted country list for the e-Gates, so I was able to pass into the UK this way. Basically, you just hold your passport on the scanner and the machine takes a picture of you, matches it to your passport picture, then opens the gates and you pass through – no need to speak with a questioning guard and get a physical stamp on your passport. This reduced the usual 30-40 minute experience into a 3 minute one.

After collecting my bags off the carousel (which, I may add, took a record hour to appear – no exaggeration), I set out to find the Hoppa bus to take me from Heathrow’s Terminal 2 to my booked hotel at the airport. After jumping through many hoops of fire, I finally found the Hoppa bus boarding bays, got on and paid my fare.

As I watched the scenery roll by we finally arrived at the Premier Inn, London Heathrow Airport Terminals 2 & 3 (ah yes, Premier Inn – basic but adequate accommodation in the UK).

It was 1:30PM, and check-in time was not until 3:00PM, so I paid an extra £10 for an early check-in and proceeded to my assigned room, #1207. I hadn’t stayed in this particular hotel since my first trip to the UK in 2007, and time had not been a friend to it; the rooms and the public areas have become slightly shabby, marked up and in need of a facelift. My room was OK though, and absolutely fine for my proposed 2-night stay:

I unpacked, showered, then rested for a couple of hours. Suddenly getting intensely hungry I realized that I hadn’t eaten for many, many hours. The hotel’s dining room didn’t open until 5:00PM, but I was down there soon after that as I was ravenous. I ordered their “Double Stacked Burger”, which was not bad. It hit the spot and seemed to take the edge off, easing my jet lag a little. After getting my fill I took a little walk outside and did some plane spotting of jets flying in and out of Heathrow:

An obligatory selfie: Hello from Heathrow

Later, I went back to my room and read for a while. At this point it was about 7:00PM and I was almost unconscious with severe jet lag, so I simply had to get to bed. Unpacking my CPAP in preparation for the night ahead, I realized to my dismay that there were absolutely no electrical plugins on the side of the room containing the bed; my CPAP power cable was not long enough to reach across the room to the plugs. I went down to the hotel Reception and was able to acquire an extension cord from them, which solved the problem.

At about 7:30PM I went to bed, utterly exhausted from the jet lag and the rigours of travel. It had been quite a day! Time to sleep and recharge.

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