Tag Archives: foreign public transportation

Panic on the Streets of London

The magic of air travel meant that we would leave Newark at roughly 7pm Tuesday and arrive at 6:30am Wednesday. What hath God wrought? In order to ensure good sightseeing, I should have fallen asleep on the plane. But I can’t fall asleep on planes, not really–to paraphrase Patton Oswalt, plane sleep is sleep robbed of all its nutrition. The best I could manage was a few fitful nappy-time moments while I listened to game 5 of the 1999 NLCS on my iPod. Every few moments, I would wake up to find out that still no one had scored after 10 innings, 12 innings, 15 innings… All told, my actual asleep time totalled approximately 45 seconds.

When you get to London/Gatwick, you are faced with a number of transportation options into London herself. You can take the Gatwick Express, which runs nonstop to Victoria Station and serves overpriced snacks and drinkage. Or you can take the cheaper Southern Rail, which makes lotsa stops on its way into Blighty. Always looking to save a quick buck, I went for the latter.

What I didn’t fully realize is that Southern Rail is a commuter rail. So the seats weren’t equipped for people with baggage and carry-on items. The Wife tried to put one of her bags on rack above the seats, but it proved unsuitable for any luggage that couldn’t be carried by a Barbie doll. Not only that, but by the time we’d gone four stops, the train
was completely packed. Initially, I’d put my enormous luggage on the empty seat next to me, but before long all seats were taken. I pondered moving the bag to the floor so someone could sit, but all available floor space was taken by grim looking commuters holding on to handrails and completing the Times cryptic crossword with one hand.

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