I was lucky to get a window seat with no one between me and the girl sitting on the aisle. The flight left at 10pm, so as soon as I settled my belongings I set myself up to sleep. Stuffed the earplugs in, put my eyes shades on, downed the Melatonin and in this sensory deprived state started dozing before we even took off. The seat wasn't comfortable, with the arm rest occasioning jabbing me as I shifted position, but I slept somewhat fitfully for about 5 hours. Not too bad for a 7 hour flight. Then, as it was BA, I watched a BBC series that we can't get in the US, called 37 Days, about the run up to WWI. Only made it through 2 of 3 episodes, so I'll have to watch the last on the way home.
As we were approaching England, the sun was rising and I noticed how much darker it appeared on my side of the plane versus the other. I attributed this to perhaps being on the west side vs the east. Then as we were coming into land, I saw the same thing, though it was now fully daylight. What the heck was going on? Why was my side in perpetual darkness? Finally I realized that the new plane didn't have a pull down shade but instead had windows that you could dim with a button, like those eyeglasses that go dark in bright sunshine. My window (and those around me) had been fully dimmed, while those on the other side had played with their buttons and lighten theirs. I only figured this out when I saw the window in front of mine lighten up. I was relieved I wasn't going into some type of "Lost" scenario, where half of England lived in darkness, the other in light...I guess I was a bit slow on the uptake due to sleep deprivation.
After long lines in immigration, and traffic as we drove from Heathrow, we arrived in Hampstead, a village/neighborhood in London outside of city center, built up on a large hill. Who knew there were hills in London? Apparently this is where people came to avoid the grime and pestilence of the city hundreds of years ago. It's lovely: lots of old red brick buildings with unique porticos. After unpacking we walked to the High street (the main shopping street...each neighborhood and town has a "high" street). It's charming, with a bookseller, tantalizing bakeries, cute cafés, vegetable markets, and just what I was looking for: a Carphone Warehouse. Within 10 minutes, I had a new SIM card for my iPhone for 15 pounds! We picked some food and headed back home. The rest of the day was spent in keeping myself awake through domestic activity....baked cookies, made dinner, got settled and stayed away from plush furniture so I wouldn't fall asleep too early. Finally at 9:30, I slipped into bed with my kindle and managed to read for about 15 minutes before dropping off to a dead sleep.
We are off today to explore the V&A museum. Adventures await!