Saturday, December 28, 2013
Back Among the Florida Ferns
Well, that may have been the most convoluted single day of travel I've ever had. From a rainy, windy train platform in rural England to my father's guest bedroom in suburban Florida, in the span of 22 hours -- by car, train, taxi, another train, airplane, another airplane, and another taxi.
When I write it like that it doesn't sound all that interesting, but it boggles my mind what we can do nowadays, with these newfangled inventions called aeroplanes.
Not that it was exactly easy! We got off to a rough start at 5 a.m. yesterday morning when the foul weather in England delayed our departure from Norfolk. And it was foul -- gusty wind-driven spatters of cold rain that made Olga put her tail between her legs, shiver and whine, which she never does. The first two trains of the day were cancelled, and I was starting to panic inwardly as Dave explored alternative options, like hiring a car to take us back to London. (I wasn't thrilled with that, because if the trains weren't running could you imagine the traffic?) But then a train magically appeared, and once onboard Olga climbed onto our laps, buried her face in a towel and refused to move for the next two hours.
Once back in London, I found that trains to Heathrow were all delayed by a construction project running past schedule. (Railroad official: "Yes, let's do a construction project during the busiest travel period of the year! Brilliant!") But then, once again magically, the Heathrow Express began running and I got to the airport with time to spare. (This is all testament to the wisdom of starting any trip very early.)
The flights themselves were uneventful. I sat with a rugby player from a British university on my transatlantic flight, and though I couldn't talk about rugby at all, he was a nice guy and I certainly enjoyed the view.
I changed planes in Chicago -- where I ate a Red Delicious apple, which tasted heavenly after airplane food -- and then listened to my iPod all the way to Tampa, next to a woman who was reading a book about Murakami (or maybe it was by Murakami). By this time I had entered that weird, foggy state of travel numbness in which hours pass without really registering. I collected my bag, which miraculously arrived with me, and got a $60 taxi ride (!) to my dad's.
And here I am, typing away in the pre-dawn darkness after five hours of sleep, because while here it's 5:30 in the morning, to me it's 10:30 and I never sleep that late.
(Top photo: My dad's backyard. Fern-o-rama!)