Sunday, February 26, 2012

New Years Eve, The UK, and overweight luggage

 In the early morning of December 31st I took a flight with my friend Lauren to London. Before an epic year of study and travel in South Africa I wanted to visit some friends in the UK. Lauren is traveling to China to study abroad and we thought it would be awesome to make a detour before our respective semesters.

We arrived in London at 8pm in the midst of the chaos of New Years Eve. This was intentional of course. We had made a plan to go straight from the airport to the madness that ensued in the center of London. Upon arriving we changed into our NYE outfits, hopped on the tube, locked up our luggage and merged with the hundreds of thousands of people celebrating the new year. To be along the Thames River across from the London Eye was one of the most electrifying experiences of my life. The energy and spirit of the crowd was infectious and not even the stress of the tube or jet lag could prevent me from the adrenaline rush of being in the middle of it all. New Year's Eve 2012 will be a cherished memory that I will definitely tell the grandkids.
The streets of London NYE 2011
Our UK tour lasted 12 days. From London we went on to visit Manchester, Wilmslow (a suburb), Liverpool (my favorite), and Lymm. We stayed with friends and had a wonderful experience eating a traditional English breakfast, watching a real football match in a pub, to visiting the Beatles Museum in Liverpool.  On January 11th Lauren and I said our goodbyes at Heathrow getting on our planes bound for China and South Africa.

There were of course, moments of drama and difficulty. One of the more notable experiences was while Lauren and I tried to check our bags in at the airport. I was about 20 lbs over for my carry on luggage and 10 lbs over for my check in luggage. Flying into London from Newark I paid $60 in overage charges but now Air France wanted to charge me $135. I panicked and tried for about an hour to throw away and layer the excess weight. In the end I threw away 10 lbs worth of stuff, layered my clothes, and still had to pay for the overage fees. Lesson learned.

Trying to condense! Major fail!

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