Sunday morning we left Seattle to start our new life in England. Our journey was long and sleep-deprived. After a sad goodbye to Ryan’s parents, we hopped a flight from SeaTac to Calgary, and after some confusion was cleared up (don’t believe the ticket agents at SeaTac who say you don’t have to take your checked bags through customs) made it through security. We had a 10-hour layover, but the customs agent in Calgary was very nice and told us how to get to the zoo.
Calgary zoo was a welcome break, despite the usual muck of parents completely out of control of their crazy children. The hippo enclosure is amazing—the hippos have an above ground area and a large, long tank where you can see how gracefully they swim. Ryan enjoys the flamingos the best—he doesn’t exactly know why, but guesses it’s because they are pink from eating shrimp, as are some smaller birds who cohabitate with them. On the light rail back to the airport I remarked to Ryan about the multitude of “help wanted” signs in Calgary. A turban-clad man in front of us started cursing at me in some foreign language, escalating until his finger was in my face and he was practically shouting “Domine! Domine!” ???
Our London flight left at 10pm MST and was fairly uneventful except that I almost murdered the flight attendants who kept waking me up to ask if I wanted headphones, or a turkey sandwich, or an extra blanket. WTF? What sleeping person wants a turkey sandwich? Maybe they should change their slogan to “Canada Air: so friendly, you’ll want to kill us!”
We arrived in the UK on Monday afternoon (Monday pre-dawn Seattle time). Our first impressions were that the UK stinks. This is because we landed at Heathrow Airport, the entirety of which reeks of lemon-scented disinfectant. Customs and immigration were a breeze. Currency exchange, however, was vastly disappointing. I handed over $90 and was given back just under 40 pounds. Also, it was cold and the bus area had a lot of deformed pigeons. Also, we were tired and cranky from our flight.
We caught a bus from Heathrow to East Midlands airport, during which there were some skeezy guys who leered at me, and I discovered that my electric toothbrush had caused its batteries to leak brown goo.
From East Midlands we caught a taxi to Loughborough, at this time it was late and pouring rain and our taxi driver drove really fast and on the left side of the road. We checked into the B&B and after several trips, got all our luggage up the stairs. Les & Derek are the owner /operators of The Holywell House and are very nice, and they have 3 dogs, the cutest and smallest being Marble, a black and white terrier. We popped around the corner to get some dinner at one of Lougborough’s many “Pizza, burger, kebabs!” shops where the man behind the counter apparently didn’t understand me when I said I wanted pasta with “to-MAH-to” sauce and instead handed me a dish of pasta soaked in ketchup which we finally discovered upon opening our takeout back at the B&B. Completely exhausted, we laughed and climbed into the twin beds that were the only available at our B&B.