Saturday, September 15, 2001


I called United and was told I needed to go to Heathrow to get my ticket re-issued. So, after a few phone calls back home and a satisfying lunch of fish and chips, I took the long Tube ride out there. When I got there, the ticket line was suprisingly short. After the 6 individuals in front of me were helped, I stepped up and was told that my flight was, in fact, going to take off. Did I still want to be on it? Well, yes, except for the fact that all of my luggage was back at the hotel. The guy apologized, and said that he'd put me on a flight tomorrow. That was pretty cool, especially since I thought they were booked up until next Thursday. "Aisle or window?" he then asked me. Wow, guess they have more seats than I thought. So I got my window seat, and will be attempting to leave again tomorrow. This time I'm not calling first. Look here if you want to see the flight status.

On the way back to the Underground, I walked a few feet away from security forces carrying rifles. That was fairly jolting.

So now I have to buy a clean shirt for tomorrow. (I have clean everything else for one day.) I think I can handle that.

Stuck Here for a While

I called United this morning to see if I should show up for my flight, and they told me it was canceled. That's not what their web site is saying right now, but that doesn't matter as I've been re-booked. I'm sure if the flight does go out, somebody with a more pressing need to get back will get my seat. In general, I realize my cares aren't such big ones in times like these, but they're what occupy my time, so they're what I'll write about.

You never want to have a conversation with an airline agent that includes her asking the question, "Have you ever heard of this airline?" I had (Sabena). But they had cancelled tomorrow's flight from Brussels that she was trying to get me on, so that attempt failed, as did a previous one to get me out on a United flight out of Munich. She started asking about Austrian Airlines, at which point I enquired whether I could get a US carrier.

Well, not any time soon. I may have a reservation on a United/British Midlands codeshare out of Manchester Monday. And I have a back-up on a United flight out of London on Thursday. My current plan is that if I can confirm (as well as possible) my flight out of Manchester, I'll take the train up there tomorrow (Sunday) and leave from there. Right now I've got a reservation on a Lufthansa/British Midlands codeshare from London to Manchester Monday at 7 AM. I really don't want to take that, since I'll have to get to Heathrow between 3-4 AM. And the transfer will just make the whole process worse.

So I'm hanging out and seeing what is going on.

Friday, September 14, 2001

Last Night In England?

Well, I headed to St. Paul's Cathedral. Stood with the crowd outside and listened to the broadcast of the service. I was moved when they played the Star-Spangled Banner. I sang along; nobody else within earshot seemed to know the words. Then again, they all knew the words to the Lord's Prayer. One guy behind me knew most of the words to the Battle Hymn of the Republic, and he had a pretty good singing voice. I sang along with "America the Beautiful", but everybody else seemed to be singing different words.

Then I took off for the Tower of London. I had planned on visiting that all along, and so I thought I'd finally take it in. It was really neat for a history buff, even if the treatment was a bit Disnified. The "Beefeater" tour really helped me get oriented in the place, but he acted a little bit too much like a cartoon character for my taste. Ah, well. Then I got to go through the White Tower, which was the original fortress started by William the Conquerer. It was a little awesome walking in what had been the home to English monarchs for a few hundred years. And it was interesting seeing how the building had been used over the years. One of those uses was as an armory, so they had a lot of historical weapons on display.

Then I went off to see the Crown Jewels. It seemed kinda silly, but obligatory. Nevertheless, I was impressed. I actually found myself letting out an involuntary whistle. I didn't know people really did that. After that, I saw the Medieval Palace, the Bloody Tower, and the Wall Walk. All worthwhile, although again, the reconstructions of some of them seemed a bit hokey.

But I'm glad I got some garden-variety tourism in with all that's going on. I tried to call United to make sure I was still on my flight tomorrow, but I couldn't get through. I can't tell if that was because they were busy or because I couldn't figure out the phones. Keep your fingers crossed.

Other's People's Thoughts

Well, Friday morning and I'm back at the cybercafe. I have hundreds of messages to sort through. That's what I get for signing up for all those "news alert" services. I think I've gone through them and gotten all of the e-mail from people not knowing where I was and concerned about me. In a little bit, I'm going to try to go to St. Paul's Cathedral. There's a memorial service there at noon. I know I won't be allowed in -- the Queen and such are going to attend. But it seems like some sort of show of support by being outside.

Christina has posted some thoughts about the changed world we now live in. Jeanene has some thoughts from Tuesday.

Thursday, September 13, 2001

It's Raining In London

I'm back from dinner. Medicore tapas recommended by the Lonely Planet London guidebook. The first three dishes we ordered -- chicken, chorizo & mussels -- all came in more or less the same red sauce. For seconds, we had a hard time finding something that didn't involve red sauce. That was the squid rings & Spanish omelet. I'm not a huge fan of squid, but I prefer it served fried than our other alternative. I don't know what was "Spanish" about the omlette. It was certainly not as good as the English breakfast I turned down this morning.

In my early 20s, I could stay up all night w/ no consequence beyond sleepiness the next day. Now, as I near the end of my 20s, I find myself unable to cut into my 8 hours of sleep much w/o getting headaches and upset stomachs. Blech. Eventually I was fine, though. Also, I'm running out of my allergy nasal spray; should have checked that more closely before coming over here. Ah, well, with decongestant and antihistamine, I'll make it.

Wish I had something more coherent to say than whining. Ah, well.

On A Lighter Note...

Christina had another article published at This one's about whether a strategy book can help your gambling.

In London

Hi. I'm in London, which is a weird time to be at a time like this. I had been out in a more rural portion of England, and I have to admit I was a bit jolted when we were driving in and I saw skyscrapers for the first time. They've always made me a bit nervous, but they never seemed as malign as now.

Anyway, some colleagues and I checked into a fairly nice hotel in South Kensington. I guess work'll be picking up the tab; I don't know. I don't much care, but I have to have something to worry about that I can do something about. In the short term. For a while I was obsessing over the stupid hotel reservation I had at a place in London that doesn't seem to exist. More on that later, perhaps. I'm tempted to write up the earlier portions of my trip over here, because I figure people need a good diversion right about now. Who knows?

Anyway, I'm supposed to be on a flight back on Saturday. I'm a little bit optimistic that it'll go. I mean, it sounds like they may start tomorrow, so things should be getting back to "normal" by Saturday, right? But who knows. I'm saying that a lot. If I don't get out Saturday, it'll probably be a long time. Someone who had a flight today is now scheduled to go out on Tuesday. Guess I'd be in line behind him if things get messed up.

I probably won't have much to say directly about recent events. If you know me and you're reading this, I'll probably be talking to you in person. If not, well, what do you want to know what I think?

I miss my country.