September 21 – September 23, 2017
After a 10 hour direct overnight flight from Seattle, we arrived in London at 7:30am Thursday morning. I lucked out in no one sitting in either of my two seats, so I had the entire row to myself. However, my mother and sister were squished in the row behind me, with a stranger in between.
I offered to let my mom take the aisle seat in my row so we could all breathe a little bit more for the longest flight I’ve ever taken. Also, my mother is terrified of many things, a big one being flying. I thought it would be easier for me to restrain her (or drug her) if needed, since my plan to Xanax her airport drink didn’t happen. 🙁
We made it without turbulence or issue, at least that’s what I believe since I was sleeping 9.5 hours of the 10 hours. My mother didn’t sleep a wink. I, however, have been a notorious sleeper since birth. From childhood I have been sleeping on patios, tables, patio tables (I was locked out of my house), anywhere I could find a spot. From adulthood, it’s been drivers seat, busses, my yard, neighbors yards, sometimes the neighbors house… 😬
I remember one time when I was 14 and my dad was driving me through the Bahamas. We were on vacation siteseeing in a convertible he upgraded us to just to show me the views. After repeatedly falling asleep I remember waking to him yelling at me:
“GOD DAMNIT TASH! CANT YOU STAY AWAKE FOR JUST ONE FUCKING HOUR TO SEE THIS SHIT?” The answer was, obviously, no.
At 17, after years of concerns from family, I did a sleep study at the hospital. They were inconclusive on if I have narcolepsy. My dad thinks I’m just lazy (probably true). My mom thinks it’s just “growing spurts”. That’s what she’d say when I was younger anyway. Maybe it’s still true though. I’m just growing horizontal now instead. 🤷🏼♀️
Regardless, with traveling so much, I realize what a blessing it is to be able to hit that REM sleep at the drop of a hat. My mom has recently asked me “how the hell are you going to travel solo and get off at your right stop? You literally fall asleep every time we get in the car, bus, uber, plane, hotel..”
And I actually don’t have an answer for that one, but we’ll find out how that’ll work soon enough.
London was filled with lots and lots and lots of walking. Since my mom is also scared of subways, the famous London Tube wasn’t an option, although it is undoubtedly the best method of transportation if you’re there. Traffic is shit. I used to think it was the worst in Seattle.. HA!
A 2km cab ride took a little over 30 minutes. In addition, the British Pound is also insanely strong right now, so it’s not the most cost effective way to commute. This meant lots of walking and Ubers on reserve.
We made our way to the British Museum where I saw the Rosetta Stone and Cleopatra’s mummified body. (Pictures below, sorry they are crap quality, glass and tourists aren’t the best combos for photos). Cleopatra was 17 years, 1 month, and 25 days old on her death. I didn’t know this and I also didn’t know that she was there. Or the Rosetta Stone.
The fun thing I’ve found of doing zero research and just showing up places is the pleasant surprise of what you find! Im sure this may be common knowledge to many, however I’m only just now beginning to learn history after a 22 year boycott after many depressing encounters with my History teachers.
My dad used to get pretty upset at me when I’d inevitably be doing poorly in the class. And by poorly, I mean B’s. Anything less than an A was failing to my Father. I suspect he may have been an Asian parent in a previous life.
“Why wont you learn this, Tash?! This stuff is important. You know, they say the past repeats itself,” he’d give me the age old saying.
“Well, I have a new motto, I say ‘it’s in the past, lets leave it there!”
You ever wanna piss someone off that has an appreciation for history, tell them that. I don’t think that anymore, for what it’s worth. And I do apologize for my past self. I was kinda a dick.
We went to a show while we were there as well. We sat in the second row and saw The Mousetrap (Thanks, Mom!). I eyeballed the crazy brunette lunatic guy the entire show. Even on stage, they are always the ones I’m attracted to.
I tried to hold up a sign to tell him to meet me in the alley after, but Mom vetoed that idea real quick. Also contemplated just throwing the Traveling Panties on stage at him, but thought that may be just a little too obvious. My mom says I need to work on playing hard to get. But I’m not a liar, so I’m not sure that’ll happen.
We found a fantastic little bar just a few blocks from our hotel (called the Goodwood Hotel, not making this up, also- false advertising). The English Pub was called The Skinners Arms and had the perfect atmosphere for after work drinks with friends. Which was what a lot of people seemed to be doing there. It was lovely for us because I got to eavesdrop (not really that hard as everyone were pretty loud and drunk <3).
I listened to their accents and how they drop the cuss words without a second thought. I seriously heard one guy greet his friend that arrived late to the group with “aww..there he is you ole’ pussy whip. Look at this cunt that fucking showed up!” Not making that up, they said the words, not me. But then I said them too and started greeting everyone I met as pussywhip, which my mom has not found as amusing as me.
Our last day we had to check out of our hotel at 10am, but our plane didnt leave until 9pm. This really sucks when you have baggage, and not only yours to tote around on your back, but your moms too. We found a place we could store luggage at St. Pancras Train Station. I wouldn’t recommend this place if you can avoid it.
The cost was pretty high as they charged per item instead of the size of the locker (which I’ve done before and was great), but paying 40 Pounds to not have those on our back all day was a relief. If you’re desperate or waited last minute like me, go here. If not, look elsewhere.
With our last day, we made our way to the Tower of London, another thing I had missed the last time I was here. We walked the walls, saw the view overlooking Tower Bridge, and saw the actual Crown Jewels. Unfortunately, the pictures I tried to sneak of the jewels turned out blurry with lots of my elbow in it. I’m sorry guys, I tried.
But I have some other pictures. I also learned there that having big exotic animals were a common thing, from elephants to lions to snakes, and attacks on people were also not uncommon. No shit.
We made a little detour to the Jack the Ripper Museum for my sister to see. She’s a lover of all things gore and blood and murder, unlike me who has never seen a scary movie in my entire 30 years on earth (and no desire to, either).
We hopped an Uber to the Train Station, and then caught the Gatwick Express train to the airport.
The airport was low on food options but high on Men’s Traveling Soccer Teams, so my mom, sister, and I all really enjoyed our two hour wait.
Our flight arrived at 12:20am, which I had planned on purpose, but during the time Mom was not a fan. My thoughts were to get as much time as we could in London, since travel days take up SO MUCH TIME. Then we’d arrive late, sleep in, and wake up in Rome ready to move for our two days here. (This ended up being what happened, but she has yet to thank me for my fantastic planning).
The custom line was terrible and I quickly remembered that the Italians (as much as I love them) don’t seem to practice “turns” and “waiting in your fucking spot in line”. After having however many people cut the line in front of us (their time is clearly worth more than mine), we made it through. There we caught a flat rate cab, and mom got to experience her first Italian Driving! (Brief Video included: please note the location of the white line in relation to the vehicle).
And so, we made it to Rome and I got in my clunky, questionable pull-out bed. I text a boy I met on my last trip here letting him know I’ve come back. He said he’d like to see me again.
Additional pics of London:
Carrying my backpack and moms.. this better even out the gelato I’ll be consuming.