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Published: February 6th 2008
Heathrow Terminal 4
Instead of spending 9 hours in Terminal 4, I opted to hop on the underground for a quick visit to Central London.
9 hours until flight BA089 to Nairobi meant I had some time to explore the city. After a quick inquiry at an info kiosk, I bought an Underground daypass for £7 and was on my way to Central London on the Picadilly Line. A dysfunctional train ahead of us made for a long trip (about an hour and a half) and a few train changes, but the day was beautiful and crisp, so I actually enjoyed the slow ride and views of the London ‘burbs. The trash littering the fence bordering the railway was an eyesore, but the cheek-to-jowl apartments and housing beyond screamed "England!" to me for some reason. Perhaps it was their funny old-school taxis.
My hike around central London brought me to Green and St. James’s Parks, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, and Big Ben (among others). The parks provided a tiny bit of birding, though it’s somewhat aggravating to bird in a park whose pond supports an immense array of exotic waterfowl, making it nigh impossible to establish which are wild and which are domestic. I decide to stash the bins and make use of my camera, instead, and spent my visit snapping obligatory photos of the
One of the guards outside Buckingham Palace. I wish I had something clever to say about them that hasn't been said before, but I don't . . .
city's most touristy destinations. There’s a lot I didn’t see, and certainly even more that I didn’t “experience.” Part of me wishes I'd had more time, as there is an inexplicable aura of history about this town . . . while the other part of me is glad I didn’t, since I easily grow weary of being the camera-toting, rubber-necking, sticks-out-like-a-sore-thumb type of tourist.
I wanted to make sure I had plenty of time to get back to Heathrow in case some sort of snafu held me up longer than expected, so the Picadilly Line brought me back to Heathrow at about 17h00, approximately 4 hours before my flight. No bags to check, since they were routed directly to NBO from SEA, and it was straight to security, where I was picked for a random screening with "new" screening technology (a full-body x-ray). It ended up working in my favor, as it only took a couple minutes and sent me straight to the front of the line. Looking for my flight on the monitors, I almost literally bumped into Dustin. We spent the next few hours catching up, discussing our research, and shooting the shit (ie. debating the Giants'
Ben is Big.
chance of winning the Superbowl) until boarding our flight at approximately 20h45. Off to Nairobi . . .
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