Category: London

London Day 11: Return Home to America

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By , August 31, 2007 2:06 am

Day 11: Home to America (and final thoughts)
Friday, August 31, 2007

Our trip home was only eventful in two ways: it was the 10 year anniversary to Princess Diana’s death so major roads were closed down in the center of Westminster. This meant our taxi driver had to take the back streets through Knightsbridge to get us to the airport on time. And when we went to check in and board, the airport baggage handlers wanted to shove my nice $5000 powerchair into a luggage carrier with all the other bric-a-brac instead of securing it separately. (I learn later they too are going on strike soon.) I have little confidence in these fellows and am unwilling to surrender my chair to them, but time forces my hand.

So I say a prayer, hop into a skycap chair (I’m made to change chairs 3 times and Grandpa Mohawk is stuck with all the carryon because “safety concerns” prohibit them from pushing a chair with the extra weight of a carryon.)

We race to get on the plane. Only when all the passengers are seated does the captain tell us one runway is closed so there will now be a 50 minute delay before takeoff. Oh and the onboard entertainment system is broken.

Some 8 hours later, after a thankfully smooth flight, we arrive at BWI. It was a cool 64 degrees when we left London. We wore our usual layers of long pants, t-shirts, fleece sweaters and coats. When we arrive in Baltimore it is a warm 86 degrees. The airport staff isn’t striking so there’s no nonsense about what they can or can’t carry. My chair still isn’t brought to the plane because “Customs won’t allow it”, but I’m reunited at the baggage claim area (before Customs, which makes absolutely no sense). Seems the baggage handlers at Heathrow took the batteries out, even though they are not supposed to be removed, so we need to do a little reassembling. Fortunately no real damage is done though I am glad I toted my chair cushion and footrest on board myself.

And probably the biggest difference Grandpa Mohawk and I notice when we return to Baltimore is the sudden reappearance of all those smiles and friendly chitchat. Grandpa Mohawk gets compliments on his hair (something he pretty much never got in London), I get teased about my speed demon skills, and everyone is just so happy. It’s good to be home in America.

Now it is two days later as I write this. I’ve packed up my travel bags and headed to the beach with my sister and the boys. I’m back in my tank tops and shorts, and still stuck on UK time.

Now though I thoroughly love my country, I must say it was a wonderful adventure in another. One I’d recommend to every American. Going abroad, seeing how the rest of world lives you actually learn to appreciate what you have here at home. Someday I hope to get back and see even more of the British Islands. So many encouraged me to spread my wings to the homier villages of the English countryside and I know there’s a least another thousand years of history left to explore in the British Museum.

So until my next journey abroad (probably to the English Midlands and/or Ireland), I thank you all for listening to my tales. And I hope it has entertained or enlightened you.

Signing off,
BroganMc, the traveling gypsy

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