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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Day Three (I think): European Adventure

So I am behind on this travel blog, but I have an excuse, I don't know what "bloody" day it is. Yes I said "bloody". When in Rome, do as the Romans.
Seriously,though, when I first got off the plane in London, I had no idea of the time. My Fitbit was worthless, my cell phone was still on Orlando time.  Also I was jet lagged and a stranger in a strange land.
I got through customs without a hitch, but I did take off my "Make America Great Again Hat," before getting in line. I asked someone what time it was and though I was fairly certain of the day, I still figured I should ask. "July 26th," he tells me, then he adds "good day mate," and now I'm I in London or Austrailia?
After that I manage to catch a train to my first destination London, Victoria. Then it was time to go to the Underground. It should be called Dante's Underground because as I struggled with three bags, jet-lagged and sleep deprived, I couldn't help thinking I was entering levels of hell.
My first mishap was forgetting that I was supposed to request an Oyster pass to ride the rails the entire time in London. Instead I gave the very nice lady the wrong final destination, before I am to switch to a bus. She gives me my one way ticket and off I go.
While riding on the Underground I had time to figure out my mistake so when I arrived several stops short of my destination, I climbed out of Hades and a very helpful young man, who called me sir, assisted me in getting an Oyster pass.
So back down, down to hell I go. I approach a very pale lady for assistance to get on the correct underground. When I say pale, I mean ghostly. I am wondering if she is a guide and lives below guiding all we lost souls through the circles of hell, then I realized later, nearly everyone is pale, because the dang sun rarely shines. Anyway, this very friendly ghost pointed me in the direction I should go, after I told her I was going towards Cockfosters. Don't you just love the way that sounds, Aycock is going to Cockfosters?
 I am settled in, feeling quite proud of myself and feeling really swell about these lovely Brits, when I start examining the track route above my head, reading the names of all the stops before I reach where I'm to get out and catch a bus and none of those names are being called out, but names of stops leading away from Cockfosters are quite familiar. It's then I realize my pale guide had taken me to the wrong side of the Underground by mistake, or was it a mistake? Maybe this is what hell is, an endless ride on an underground train with the promise of an adventure that never really reaches your destination. Key up Twilight Zone music.
I exited the next stop and fortunately, wasn't too far out from my destination and made it to where I would switch to a bus.
Above ground I was greeted with sunshine and headed to the stop to catch th bus as I had been instructed by friends I was meeting. I was feeling a load had lifted and the clouds had literally parted. I stepped on the bus, with my Oyster pass and told the driver my destination and he told me to go to the other side of the street to that bus stop. Still lugging those damn 3 bags, I crossed the street. Stepping on that bus and informing him of my destination he pointed a long bony finger across the street. I explained my dilemma and he told me to just give the name of the pub next to the street to which I'm headed.  I had been giving them the street name and the pub, which was a landmark I had been given by my friends, apparently bus drivers do better with pub names than streets in London. Not sure if that gives me confidence in the drivers or not. I was just glad to be seated and on my way. As I reflected on my journey, I smiled thinking about Dante and how it really did seem like an episode of Twilight Zone, and then at that moment it happened, just as the bus was braking to let me off by the Maid of Muswell Pub, I saw the pale woman from the underground standing on the sidewalk waving as we passed. I quickly got off the bus and looke back across the street and there was no sign of her. I looked up the street in the direction of where my friends were waiting for my arrival and probably a bit worried and then I looked towards the pub, took out my wallet and entered.

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