The first SNAFU

I wasn’t supposed to see London on this trip. The day before I was due to fly out I got a mail from my brother, my connection to United and the reason I could do all this flying in the first place. “DUB-EWR is looking tight, here are the numbers for LHR-IAD.” I had to ask a lot of questions to figure all this out, probably boring him terribly. That means I have to get to London on my own? Do I cancel the Dublin itinerary? Am I going to be stuck in London? Should I try to get there TONIGHT?

Yes, yes, probably not, and nah that’s not necessary turned out to be the answers. After a flurry of flight booking (both standby and revenue) and some hasty research, I found myself leaving an hour earlier than expected and landing in my least favourite airport in the world. The flight itself was remarkable; as the first flight out on a weekday it was entirely populated with expensive frequent fliers and various displays of status. Bags were branded with well known names. The woman in the seat in front of me applied her Chanel mascara just before landing. Conversation revolved around how many times one person or another had been upgraded.

The flight time was less than my morning commute was last year. I arrived in LHR at 9 in the morning and my flight didn’t leave until 7 (assuming I would get a seat on it). London beckoned with sun and warmth, so I stashed my coat in my bag, checked it through to DC, and got out of that godforsaken airport as fast as my boots could take me.

SoHo is easy to get to and full of things to do and see, so I went there and set about doing what needed to be done. Postcards? Check. Stamps for said postcards? Check. By then places were starting to open for lunch, so I picked the most interesting looking sushi place I could find. Yoobi’s specialty is hand rolls. I was lured in as much by the memory of my local back in Pasadena and their Jasmine hand rolls, made with rice and spicy tuna and crack. Yoobi enchanted me with top quality sashimi, good hand roll options, and their square-shaped wasabi blobs.

Hand rolls are their actual specialty, but the cubes of wasabi charmed me utterly.

Little wasabi cubes!

From there I wandered. As I walked past Paul A. Young Fine Chocolates the door opened and I was embraced with the dark, spicy scent of excellent chocolate. I couldn’t not go in. Amidst the perfectly crafted truffles (I had one that was “hot cross bun” flavoured, as a nod to the impending Easter season) I finally found the source of the smell: a pot of “Aztec” hot chocolate. This delectable concotion involves a lot of dark chocolate and no milk. Little pots of spice sat next to the vat of chocolate, so customers could fine tune their drink. I verified that I’d be able to take this on the Tube with me, and finally took the plunge. My hot chocolate had cinnamon and green cardamom in.

I did not get a picture of the hot chocolate; I was too busy dissolving in happiness.

Cinnamon is the magic word.

And thus it was that I walked back to the Tube and made my way to LHR in the unexpected Lndon sun. The cup of chocolate was warm in my hands and the liquid inside was pure molten happiness. The afterglow carried me happily through the usually trying hells of LHR security and check-in, and I made it into business class for my transatlantic flight.

London was entirely unexpected, but absolutely good.

1 Response

  1. Uber says:

    London is certainly a nexus town. It’s got everything from the best of the globe and is generating its own unique things as well. I firmly think that there can only be one or two other cities with global status like it.