Monday, December 19, 1988

Farewell Douglas ...

Well, we woke up early today in order to bid Doug a fond farewell, as well as spend the day in London. It's sad to see him go after only 3 months here, especially because he was so looking forward to spending the year in England. Unfortunately, it just wasn't the experience he was expecting. He'll be missed.

Well, for J.P. and I, today was an experience we will not soon forget, and gave us a harsh lesson in some of the challenges of international travel.

Before leaving Sid's house, I gave Doug his "going away/Christmas" present (a Dr. Who Crossword Puzzle Book, which'll give him something to do on the plane.) Mrs. Bajaria was driving Doug to the airport, and since we couldn't all fit in the car, J.P., Bits and I took the train to Heathrow Airport while Sid, Viv, Doug and Doug's stuff took the car. Soon after they left, J.P., Bits and I took the walk down to the train station, but when we finally got there we had just missed the 9.50 a.m. train, so we had to wait for the 10.18. So that put us back nearly a half an hour right off the bat.

Well, we caught that train and headed into London, travelling past Clapham Junction along the way (it was one week ago today, a little bit earlier in the day, when the Clapham Train Disaster occurred). We finally arrived at Victoria Station at around 10.45 a.m. There we had a runaround trying to get a travel card. We started at a booth that told us we could go upstairs and get one with our BritRail passes. But then we went upstairs and they said that we couldn't get one to ride the Underground trains. So we went back downstairs, having wasted 15 more minutes on this unsuccessful venture, eventually buying a ticket from the first booth we visited.

Finally caught the Tube to Heathrow shortly after 11 a.m., now with little chance of catching Doug before his plane left... but still hopeful we could catch his entourage there. We finally arrived at Terminal 4 at 12.05 p.m., just as Doug's plane was leaving... and we saw no sign of the others in our group, either.

Frustrated, we finally left the terminal, realizing that we had wasted most of our day (since it starts getting dark now at about 3 p.m. We caught the Tube back to London, arriving at 1.15 p.m. to start our travels and try to make the most of our afternoon.

Unfortunately, neither of us had Sid's phone number, so we had to call Information (twice, because we were unable to write down the number the first time we called, and by the time we could, we didn't remember what the number was.) After we finally got through and talked to the gang, explaining what had happened, we felt like an enormous load was lifted off of us. So we enjoyed some shopping in stores such as Hamley's, the world's largest toy store; and Virgin Records... totally revamped from when I was there a year and a half ago with my high school class, and amazing. J.P. called it the most incredible retail store he had ever been in. I bought an Elvis Costello discography book. We also went into HMV, as well as a little record shop where I bought a nice Genesis poster.

J.P., Bits and I stopped at McDonald's for dinner at 6 p.m., then caught the train back to Sid's house around 7 p.m. Back at Sid's, reunited with the gang, we relaxed and watched two movies on TV, "The Blues Brothers" and "12 Angry Men." During that time, J.P. and I ate another dinner, this one a curry and beef dinner prepared by Sid's mom that was spicy and good.

Went to bed a bit late, but a bit wiser. A day that started out to be a huge disappointment ended up OK. Still, I would've liked to have been able to say one last goodbye to Doug before he got on that plane and headed back to the States.

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