The hostel WiFi seems to hate my netbook, so this is the first chance I've had to find a free spot (while waiting for lunch). Probably won't post much more until I get home, so here's a recap starting from my last post.

It started raining before I managed to fall asleep. Not a major downpour, but enough that the sky was still cloudy the next morning. Finished packing, loaded the car and headed out with the minor worry I'd forgotten something.

Got to the airport roughly an hour before the flight time. Not that it mattered, as the plane was delayed thanks to the weather in Chicago - new departure time listed about an hour later. "You won't be able to grab a coffee at O'Hare, but you should still make your connection," I was told while checking in. Got to the gate, and settled in for the wait.

My earlier thought I'd forgotten something? My watch. Oh well.

About 30 min. to the new departure time - and the flight's delayed another hour. Possibly time to start panicking. "Nope, you're not going to make the connection but let's see what we can do." Two possibles, but both were full up by the time they called to check.

By the time the plane arrived, my only choice was to go ahead to Chicago to either try for a standby on the possibles or see if they could find any other flights out with other carriers. End result had me set to fly another airline to Newark the next afternoon and on to London, hopefully landing early May 20th.

Happy birthday, dearie.

I broke down and spent $50 from my emergency cash to get a hotel room (half the normal price, thanks to Airport Accommodations), then sent a quick email to the Astor Museum Hostel to inform them of my delay. Woke up about six hours later to another grey sky and no reply to my email.

As much as I would have loved to do some siteseeing, I didn't think I could afford it or really have enough time to do anything but get to the location and head straight for the airport. So I checked out around 10 (the hotel's latest) and headed back to O'Hare to wait... and wait... and wait some more. A brand new copy of Neverwhere was purchased and finished off by the time boarding started.

The flight was delayed 15 minutes, but arrived in Newark with plenty of time to dash from Terminal A to Terminal C (okay, there was a shuttle bus there) and the gate. Sat by a pack of cute Scots waiting for the flight, and commiserated with another couple who'd been plane-hopping as much as I had - and still needed to catch another flight after this, bless them. Boarding started about 30 minutes late, and the flight was even later to depart....

But I was on my way.

Three patched-in-total hours of sleep, two 'meals', one kid that started howling on final descent, and we landed in Heathrow a little before 8 AM. Spent an hour after that in queue for passport and another catching the Underground (with Oyster card, of course) to Russell Square. One of the lifts at the station was malfunctioning, so it took longer to get out of there. Would have climbed the 175 step emergency stairwell if I had something other than a maximum sized rolling carry-on case to deal with.

I puzzled my way to Montague Street and the hostel. Arrived too late for breakfast, but with a reservation that was still intact. Checked in, headed up to the room (#31 - stairs, stairs, stairs!) took a quick shower, changed clothes, and headed out into the city.

Happy birthday, indeed.
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Aleyn Howlett
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