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Travelog – Thursday, 1 March

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The flight was pretty uneventful, but far from pleasant. The food was, well, airplane food. The personal TVs with looping movies, as much as I was looking forward to them, had reception problems. The only trans-continental airline I'd been on in the past was British Airways, which has these cool pull-down side headrests and a little gift bag with a toothbrush, eye mask, etc. No such amenities on United. The only saving grace was Jon's free frequent flyer upgrade to Economy Plus (legroom, wooo!)

For some reason, we didn't take sleeping pills as we had planned. I don't think we were tired until four or five hours in, so there wasn't a full night for us to sleep anyway. For the remainder of the journey, we tried constantly to find somplace to rest our heads. I probably got an hour's worth of sleep over the entire journey.

Once we arrived at Heathrow, there were lots of people, but things kept moving at a steady pace. One quick Underground ride later, and we arrived in Kensington (western London). We walked up to the Holiday Inn on Cromwell Road, as directed, only to have the receptionist there tell us, “Oh – you're at the OTHER Holiday Inn on Cromwell Road.” This second hotel was literally just across the street and two buildings down. Don't ask me why.

Our room itself was small, and that's fine. I'm used to the size of European hotel rooms. We had to call maintenance to help get the lights to come on – they use this key-card enabled system, but our card reader was loose. The bedspread was too small for the bed; it just barely covered the top of the mattress.

As soon as we got to the hotel, we just crashed. I made sure to set an alarm to make sure we didn't sleep through the evening's plans. One and a half hours later, get up, get showered, and go have some fun – right?

I started having second thoughts about making plans on the arrival day while we were on the plane. Unfortunately, I had already paid £90 ($177) for the evening's entertainment at the jazz club, Ronnie Scott's. Reservations were for 6:00, according to the website, so we arrived at 5:45. The doorman informed us that the club wasn’t open yet, and wouldn’t be until 6:15. Furthermore, the shows don’t typically start until half past seven.

We sat down at our table at 6:15 (for lack of anything better to do), and ordered some drinks and food. Silly Sarah didn’t pay close attention to the prices on the menu, assuming that the more expensive items would be near the end of the menu, as is customary. Anyway, my wine came out quickly, but Jon’s beer hadn’t shown up by the time we started eating. They had run out of the kind he ordered, without bothering to inform us. Food presentation was nice, but the food itself left much to be desired. I had filet of beef (steak, overcooked, with no steak-knife) with chips (fries) and a sauce that was like tarragon-tinted mayonnaise. The house band came on about the time we were finishing the main course. They were good, but considering our energy levels, pretty boring. The second set introduced a singer (Ella Fitzgerald covers), which helped, but not enough to keep me from nodding off once or twice. The main act was this incredible guitarist (from Philadelphia or somewhere like that). No vocals, though, so again boring for our weary travelers.

We left after just three or four songs; by then, we had been at the club for over four hours. The bill came to another £50 over what I had already paid, bringing the grand total to close to $300. *Soooo* not worth it. It seems like the best plan for this club is to show up around eight, after the house band has started, and have some bottle service and dessert during the show. The club can expect a note from me telling them how much the website fails to inform on how things work.  I have also since decided that I needn't waste my time in the future travelling all the way to a foreign country to listen to American (jazz) music.

Finally, we reached the hotel at 11:30. Sweet bedtime….


Written by Sarah Levantine

March 21, 2007 at 9:50 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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