When I arrived at Cleveland Hopkins Airport (a.k.a. AIRPORT #1), it was a gray and rainy afternoon. It is November in Cleveland — so, no big surprise. But, as with all things, if you rise above the seemingly bleak circumstances, you will likely see the picture more clearly. So, as I soar above the clouds on the first leg of my flight — CLE to Chicago O’Hare (a.k.a. AIRPORT #2) — I gaze out the window at blue skies and bright sunshine.
I think how strange it is that I have to travel west, just to turn around and fly over Cleveland, as I fly east to London. I laugh at myself for giving a personal security lesson to everyone at the TSA security checkpoint. An entire crowd now knows about safety girl’s personal screaming alarm. Note to self: store alarm INSIDE bag until through security or the pin will get pulled and screams will commence. And, I try to do a little bit of work on the plane.
Vagabonding 2012-2013 Total Miles: 1,546
After working through my layover in Chicago, it’s just about time to board. A man walks past me to look out the window. By my estimation, he is wearing about a half gallon of cologne (see my Scary Travel Thoughts), and has three small children with him. I think to myself “Yep, that guy is totally sitting next to me . . . I brought it on myself . . . entertaining those crazy travel thoughts.” But, no. Instead, he, his wife, and his very well-behaved children sat many rows away from me and I had a very nice travel mate, with an empty “buffer” seat between us. Perfect!
I chat with my seat mate, finish my dinner, and settle in to sleep the rest of the way. It’s almost time for . . .
Cheers to a safe arrival at London Heathrow (a.k.a. AIRPORT #3). Thankfully, when I made my way to the tube, the ticket sellers were very helpful and told me exactly which trains to take to get to my hotel. I bought my Oyster Card, loaded it up with enough fare for the next 10 days, and proceeded to the appropriate train.
By the time I reach my destination, I’ve been in London for about two hours. If I’ve heard 200 words since my arrival, 150 of them have been “Mind the Gap.” If you don’t know what that means, it’s what the automated voice says when the train doors open. In other words, “Watch where you’re walking and try not to stub your toe or trip and fall on your face.” The first time or two, this was charming. By the 50th time I was thinking “How stupid are these people that they need this constant reminder?” As I imagined myself getting off the train only to trip and fall on my face, I quickly had to adjust my thinking back to “Mind the Gap . . .how cute . . . I’m doing that.”
It is morning, so I’m on the train with commuters. Everyone is dressed for business (all of the women similarly wearing their black tights). I watch as people get on and off the train. I watch as they choose seats. I read the headlines on the outside of the newspaper someone across from me is perusing. Best one yet: “How to Commute with Some Decency.” I really wish I would have grabbed one of those papers — THAT is probably an interesting article.