Since I'm writing this on Monday and our trip officially kicked off last Wednesday, I'll spend a little time catching up.
Last Wednesday afternoon, our trip started without a hitch. Ken not only picked us up, he came upstairs to help us with our bags and waited with me while Hung performed his customary triple check of all the door and window locks. Arriving at the airport with plenty of time to spare, we checked our big bag and had a leisurely stroll to the gate. We were upgraded for our flight, so we were really looking forward to our fancy seats. Upon boarding and were immediately offered a choice of champagne or orange juice. Hung opted for orange juice and I decided to toast the start of our world tour with champagne. We enjoyed our prime airplane real estate so much that we hardly slept--were we asking for jet lag? We spent the flight eating dinner, watching on demand movies, and adjusting our big seats. By the time our flight touched down at London Gatwick, 7:30 am local time, we were walking zombies. Luckily, they weren't performing swine flu checks on flights from the U.S. because our puffy sleep deprived eyes may have set off alarms and earned us a first class ticket to quarantine. After retrieving our luggage, we bought tickets for the Gatwick to London Express and headed for platform number 4. Within seconds a train pulled up to platform number 4 and we quickly hefted our bags and tired bodies aboard. After a couple minutes of struggling to find a place to stand, we looked around, this did not look like an airport express train. It was filled with commuters reading newspapers and napping. We exchanged worried looks. Where were we going? I wanted to ask someone where our train was going but everyone seemed engrossed in their morning commute rituals and the train was quiet! Hung finally made eye contact with a man sitting near us and asked him politely, "Is this train going to Victoria Station?" Reply: "No" The man must have seen the panic flash across my face because he proceeded to tell us how we could transfer in two stops and catch a train that would take us into London. Phew!
We arrived at Nick and Maria's flat around 10:00 am. Maria was getting ready to go open her shop and we decided it was nap time. FIVE HOURS LATER! We peeled our faces from the pillow and were ready to get out and see this city.
Maria's shop, Mnini, was our first stop. She helped me find a wonderful light jacket, it is both stylish and packable! Here's a picture of me sightseeing in my jacket--of course I've already worn it!
Wearing my jacket from Mnini!