I am so tired that I’m wild. I had trouble sleeping on the plane (got on at 6:30pm Toronto time) since it was nowhere near bedtime. I tried, I really did, but there was nothing for it. It was dark all the way here though (as predicted yesterday, by knitters far smarter than I am) with sunset coming right after takeoff and sunrise coming just before we landed here at 6:30am. I sat up, knitting, watching bad movies, and for 30 glorious minutes as we headed out past Newfoundland and over the Northern Atlantic, watching a spectacular display of the Northern Lights play across the sky like an electric green and blue curtain blowing in a celestial wind. It was heartbreakingly beautiful, and that 30 minutes, peering out the little window into the dark was entirely worth being awake for, no matter how tired I am now. I assure you that the same cannot be said of the Sex and the City movie.
We landed, me peering out the window again, trying hard to see London through the clouds, and a very nice driver named Dave drove me from Heathrow to the part of London that I’m staying in, giving me tips and history lessons, showing me points of interest, helping me get oriented. He was great, and gave me the best tip I’ve had so far. (Actually, Ken gave it to me too… but I’d forgotten due to exhaustion.)
Be Very Careful Crossing The Street.
I am not kidding. You laugh when someone says it to you, but dudes, the cars here are totally not coming from the direction you think they are. You look in the direction you’re used to looking, what would be oncoming traffic, were you home… see nothing, step off the curb and promptly find yourself in front of a double decker bus careening at you from out of nowhere. (Also, the British may be slightly mad drivers, but you didn’t hear it from me.) I’ve been honked at sixteen times, and I am also pissing people off on the sidewalks. (Hint. That’s opposite too.) I had just got the hang of crossing the street when I encountered a roundabout. I swear to you that the only reason I am writing this is because the good people of London have instructions written on the road to help you with the problem of crossing the street with cars coming from all directions, which totally makes me think that maybe they’re just hard in general, and not just hard if you’re really, really, really tired.
It is, at the time of this writing, about 9:00am here, and I’m in a cafe, drinking my 11th cup of coffee while I wait for the National Gallery to open. (I don’t know if I’ll go in.) There’s no internet though. I’ll hit post later, when I have a hotel room… because that’s what I’m doing. Walking/drinking coffee/ seeing things until I have a hotel room. Check in isn’t until 2pm, so I’m roaming the streets, getting lost, finding things and generally having a good time. It took me all of 4 minutes to get profoundly lost. Profoundly… but I just kept walking, thinking that sooner or later I would find something that would mean I wasn’t lost anymore. While I was lost, I found Parliament (I think)
What I think might be the Horse Guard buildings – and a Guard wearing a FANTASTIC hat, all manner of things. The best part though, was a little while ago, when I was walking along, looking, not caring that I was lost, just trying to be here.. you know what I mean? I was, at this point, very seriously lost. I’ve got no bearings here, I’ve found the Thames, which should help but doesn’t, because it’s pretty twisty and I’m not sure how it fits into things anyway – though I was briefly relieved that I knew that it was the Thames, which is sort of one of the minimum English geography things everyone should know – and I am reasonably sure (I have just got to get a map) that I am on the West side of the river.
In any case, I was hugely lost, and just then starting to think about maybe asking someone where I was, when I saw Canada House and laughed. Trust me to be lost in another country and find my Embassy.
Then I saw a gorgeous fountain…
Then wonderful steps and Lions…Then I sat and looked at the monument that was there….and then it hit me.
I’m in Trafalgar Square!
I’m hoping that the fact that my first thought was “what a lovely place” instead of “Wow. An internationally recognizable famous landmark” can be chalked up to being up for 24 hours, not general stupidity, but I can’t guarantee it. I saw Buckingham Palace later, and recognized that straightaway, so there’s hope.
I’m trying to stay up until bedtime London time, but I don’ t know if I’m going to make it. If you see me lying by the side of the street, sock clutched in my hand…camera extended in the general direction of a landmark…please pour tea down me until I’m revived enough to tell you where my hotel is.