Happy Birthday Mom (Trip Report)

Mom’s surprise trip has concluded, and I am now back home. She’s due back in Orlando any minute (if the airplane gods are kind).

So. Mom’s trip was to see a Tina Turner Concert. I kept that part from her right until 30 minutes before the show. I hosed her good! That was Saturday Night. The show was almost identical to the one here which I previously reviewed so I won’t rehash the concert review. The set list was identical but most of the songs were shorter because the concert didn’t last as long. And I had a pretty good time except for the herd of heifers in front of us who came in all liquored-up and were really loud and obnoxious. But if you leave that out, it was enjoyable. Where was it? Oh, didn’t I mention we flew to London for the weekend to see it? It was the excellent O2 Arena.

We left Thursday night for London, me set to arrive 3 hours before Mom into Heathrow and her into Gatwick. Our plane had a severe mechanical fault (thank you American) and we left close to 3 hours late. The pilot was mightily pissed, the gate agent was mightily pissed, everyone cared, except maintenance.

On the flight to London, I watched Slumdog Millionaire. Excellent film. Really. I tried to sleep but was unable to due to thinking about various personal issues. Didn’t read. The food was really good. I had no checked luggage due to the length of the trip, so at least I got through the airport in record time.

I beat her to the hotel by about 15 minutes so that worked out well. We checked in, went to Patisserie Valerie for breakfast around 1030am on Friday.

Then off to the Tube (which due to extensive engineering works was a mess with the District, Circle, and Jubilee lines all shut.) I tried to buy a ticket 3-day Oyster-based travel card and the guy just argued and argued and argued. I cared so the whole trip wouldn’t be ruined arguing with him. Yeah, he saved me a pound. BIG FUCKING DEAL! The oyster card is worth it due to speed.

We went to London Zoo (mom’s request) until her feet couldn’t handle her shoes. Why is it every single female I’ve ever travelled with to somewhere they KNOW we’re going to walk has a shoe crisis? Does your species not understand it’s better to have happy feet than pretty feet? AAAIIIIEEEE.

That night, we ate dinner at Bunches of Grapes because Mom wanted good, authentic fish and chips (with peas, of course) and they do a brilliant job. We took to the tube to Piccadilly Circus, walked through to Leicester Square and back to the room for the night. (The Rembrandt, of course.)

Saturday morning, we went to Portobello Road after eating at the always excellent hotel buffet. What should be a 10-minute trip from our hotel, required a backwards tube ride to Oxford Circus to get the Central and all the way back to Notting Hill Gate. Mom did a face plant (I feel bad for her) after she was walking and the “sidewalk wasn’t there anymore” — but happily, she wasn’t hurt badly, and we still did this. This was the other thing she really wanted to do. Since this was a really short trip, I let her pick all activities. After that we went to Tottenham Court Road, walked to Foyles (I did a quick 15-minute tour), and then to Leicester Square after a stop at Cafe Nero for coffee. We returned to the hotel and had “alone time” so she could go shopping.

So, the tickets for the concert clearly said 630pm thus I planned dinner at Pizza Express at the O2 because there weren’t many options due to the odd show time. The tube ride, 30 minutes at best, was 1h 10m due to the fact the only way there was: Piccadilly from South Kensington to Kings Cross, then to the Northern Line and back down to London Bridge. Then pick up the Jubilee Shuttle to North Greenwich. If that sounds like an ordeal, it was. And we had to reverse it after the show.

Dinner was, of course, a success. We finished at 610, and due to the fact the O2 was swamped with people, we skipped the tour of it I promised her. It was worse than when I was there New Year’s Eve with Karen. Really. So, as we’re walking out, I stop her and said “BTW, I have tickets for the Tina Turner concert” and waved them at her. We got in the very long queue to get in, and the clock ticked, and ticked, and at 7, I asked “what’s the deal” to which I got an “8pm” which ended up being 830pm.

I don’t much care, except had I known they rescheduled it (which apparently nobody did) I’d have taken mom to Belgo Centraal instead. We wasted a lot of time sitting in our seats in the O2.

The show ended around 11pm and everybody was leaving — that means all the people at the concert, all the people at the multiplex, all the restaurant people, everything. It was closing. Imagine 20,000+ people all running for the tube. I dragged poor mom like a rag doll to get on a train before it was swamped. We did it. Yay.

The flight home was on time out and a bit late in (due to headwinds and a longer than usual air time). The only hitch was a broken loo halfway through. I slept on and off, and barely finished my book Deeper (the sequel to Tunnels). Not nearly as good as the first one, and another sudden ending — so I won’t spoil it for you. More Cal, Will, Rebecca, and Chester. Plus, some new folks too. I still liked it, but it lacked that certain something. I didn’t even make it to my other two books (Ender in Exile and the one Higgins loaned me.)

(Mom called, she’s home safe and had fun.)

So, except for the part where Mom is the slowest walker on the planet, the trip was good.

Leave a Reply