A Zero Day

Not that kind of zero day. We had a really long day + of travel, leaving our home city (getting up at 5 am for a 7:45 am flight) on a positioning flight to Boston, where we knew we’d have a six hour layover (planned departure at 7pm pm) . But air travel is nothing if not unpredictable and about an hour before we were scheduled to leave, there was an announcement that there was a mechanical issue 😣 and the airline was flying the part in, resulting in a 2 1/2 hr delay if things went to plan. Fortunately, we’d been in the airline lounge rather than at the gate for six hours. But still, another 2 1/2 hours (only, we hoped).

It must have been a fairly minor repair because the boarding call came on time and we got to leave with whatever the part was, replaced. Better to have all of the parts of your airplane when flying transatlantic. We had booked a 22,000 point per person round trip fare from Boston to London, a terrific deal!

Since the flight left 2 1/2 hours late, we’d be getting into Heathrow at 9:15 am instead of 6:30am. The flight was fortunately unremarkable except for little to no sleep.

For the first time, clearing passport control was unbelievably quick. They have some new automated stations that scan your passport, take a photo of you and you’re off! It might have taken fifteen minutes from the time we started in line until we were through. In 2018, the wait times were around 2 hours. And since we carry on our suitcase, no waiting for luggage.

We try to travel cheap inexpensively whenever we can and getting into town from the airport is a choice between faster and expensive or slower and really cheap. £22 per person one way on Heathrow Express didn’t sound attractive, so we took the London Underground (Tube) and spent £3.20 per person one way. We’re headed to the Marylebone area near Marble Arch, so we have to change at three stations. Except for some stations without escalators in some areas, no big deal.

We topped up the Oyster cards we had from prior trips, but once we exhaust that, we may just use the contactless payment function of one or more of our credit cards (or Apple Pay) rather than continuing with the Oysters.

It’s a (much) cooler day here at 64 degrees than the mid to upper 90’s (or 100+) we had at home. We’ve stayed at this hotel before and know it’s only about four blocks from the Tube station. Even though somewhat later than planned, we’re still arriving a bit early for the room to be ready,so we spent some time in the top floor lounge while they readied the room. Nap time was in order once we were able to access the room, hence the “Zero day”.

Another hotel bought an expensive high tech potty

I don’t plan to spend enough time here to get whatever “benefits ” there may be or figure out which buttons to press.

It wasn’t an entirely Zero day as later, we did make it back out to the Marble Arch and then down into Hyde Park that adjoins it, for a walk. At the entrance to the Park is Speaker’s Corner. Speaker’s Corner has an interesting history, but no one was “speaking” today. As we entered the park, we could see some tenting erected on the other side and a very tall wall erected alongside the bike/pedestrian path. It turns out there was a concert in Hyde Park yesterday.

There’s a mixture of tree types in the park with some horse chestnut trees like we see in the Paris Tuileries, but the dominant tree type appears to be a sweet gum and the trees are simply enormous.

The tree hugger
Bike/Pedestrian path to right of path

Walking back to Marble Arch, it’s now rush hour and there’s a constant stream of people, giant red double decker Routemaster buses, hop on/off sightseeing buses, people dragging their suitcases down the sidewalk (as we did a few hours earlier), going in and out of the Marble Arch tube station, restaurants and retail.

The newspapers and media are full of Brexit news and the battles between Boris Johnson and Parliament. We’ll be interested to watch the events as it’s less than two months to Boris’ do or die Brexit date of October 31,2019.

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