We made it! The plane ride was uneventful, the most terrifying part of being seated in the midst of 20 or 30 high-schoolers on some sort of class trip, but it was nothing a decent pair of earplugs and a half an Ambien couldn’t take care of.
Once down in London, we made our way through the Tubes to our hotel by the ExCel Convention Center, placed off in the sticks of East London. The ride took about two hours and involved changing three or so trains, but my time spent on New York City subways served us well, and we got there with no trouble.
We dropped off the Pathable buttons that Shelly and Peter created for the FOWA conference, got a few tips from the organizers on where to go, settled into our hotel then set off as quick as possible for our first foray into London proper.
We ended up in Covent Gardens, which was an odd mix between eighteenth-century London, a rugby game, and Las Vegas. The architecture was beautiful and it was a delight to emerge onto cobblestone streets, twisting little lanes, towering and ornate architecture all around.
After a bit of a walk around, though, we found ourselves fighting through crowds of drunken, shouting revelers, and then, at a wrong turn, down the "Red Light" street, with every other door featuring a severely underdressed woman encouraging us in for a "cabaret". Even in the sleaziest sections of Manhattan I’ve never seen such a concentration of sex shops, sex shows, and the like. I was briefly enticed towards "Madame Jojo’s" purely on the name, but eventually thought better.
Walking about and grabbing a bit of the worst pizza I’ve ever tasted was all we had in us for the night.
Today I’m at the FOWA conference while Michelle explores London. Thankfully, both our phones work here, so we’re coordinating our rendezvous by SMS. What did people do before cell phones and text messaging?