Wednesday, 29 July 2009
Monday, 27 July 2009
My eyes widened with shock. "Yes, I thought so too. But that guy over there isn't very happy and he took it out on my tostada."
"Well, if he isn't happy, that isn't your problem." The nicest French man on earth said.
"Thanks, but I don't want to make any trouble. I'll just pay." I said (yes, I swear this is true).
"No! If I were you, I'd be angry. Let me take care of this." And he whisked away my paultry tostada.
He returns a few moments later with a tostada flowing with yummy Mexican contents and says, "I put myself in your shoes. You pay. You want the right amount."
I smiled at that nice, French man living in London and I wondered how long he's been living here and if he's originally from the South of France...
Friday, 24 July 2009
I've always secretly wished I'd find someone else's lost Paddington and I'd take care of that bear, but it's never happened. I have taken a trip Paddington station and once I was there the kid in me couldn't help but look around wondering if the infamous bear would turn up around the corner trying to find his way home. They have a bronze statue of Paddington but I couldn't get my picture with him because I was too embarrassed to ask any of the harried travelers to take a photo of a grown woman with a bronze bear statue! But while I was there, I couldn't resist buying a new Paddington to replace the one I lost so long ago. He is larger than the original but he sure is cute and I promise to take care of him. If during your travles, you come across a small Paddington dating circa 1979, with a slightly torn hat, send him home but please give him a spot of tea first.
Wednesday, 22 July 2009
Tuesday, 21 July 2009
Monday, 20 July 2009
Thursday, 16 July 2009
Thursday, 9 July 2009
Wednesday, 8 July 2009
I am proud to come from a family of strong women, on both sides, but this event has taken our many stories to new levels. It all started at 7am London time (11pm Los Angeles time) with text messages from my aunt saying she was delayed due to bad weather and she was concerned she wouldn't make the connecting 9am (NJ time) flight that my mother would be on. I was worried too when I checked her flight status and she would only have 5 minutes from the time she landed to get onto the London flight. I tried to remain optimistic and not alarm my mother who is afraid to fly and could only make the trip with the company of her sister. At 10am London time, I got the following text from my mother, "Can you track Ann's flight for me. I’m in the car on the way to the airport." What to do? To lie to mom or not to lie to mom?
I text back, "She was a bit delayed but she'll get there on time." Technically, that was not a lie... Upon arriving at the airport, my mom inquired about her sister's flight and the whole truth was revealed in all its glory. Next text, "She isn't landing until 8:55 and my flight leaves at 9! She'll never make it." How does one calm a frazzled mom from 3000 miles away? More lying.
"Don't worry. They'll wait." As the boarding time neared my mom's texts became more abundant and frenzied. I told her to put off getting on that plane as long as she could. Our one saving grace was that my aunt's gate was directly adjacent to my mother's gate -- a miracle, but the real miracle was yet to occur. At 8:57 they made my mom get on the plane. They assured her they would wait for her sister so my mom begrudgingly got on and set next to the empty seat meant for her sister. Back in London, I got a text from my aunt at 8:57. "We landed they are waiting for me!"
I typed back feverishly, "I know. The gate is next to yours. Just run for that plane and text me when you get on it." Then, silence. No mom. No aunt. I was out of my head. What was going on? "Mom, is Auntie A with you?" Silence... "Auntie A? Where are you?" Silence...
Then a text from my aunt, "I missed it. I was here and the plane was not at the gate. "
I texted back numerous expletives and swore out loud for added emphasis. Several minutes passed as my aunt and I tried to figure out what her next step should be. As I started the process of calling Continental, I simultaneously began tracking my mother's flight. Suddenly, my blackberry starting vibrating on my desk, the time was 9:17. "I'm on the plane. They came back for me. Gotta go."And sure enough, there on the screen was the flight status for Continental Flight 18 --Status: In Flight. 20 minutes late. Had to return to gate. I had to wait 8 hours to find out how these two women, both measuring less than 5 feet one inches, had the power to turn the flight back.
This is how it went down: On the plane, my mother had sobbed so sadly for her sister that the flight attendants came to comfort her. They assured her that my aunt would get on the next flight and they would be reunited in London. But my mom kept saying, "I can't do this without her. I can't get to Paddington Station."
Even the man next to my mother was moved by her sobs. "I'm sorry about your sister," he said. She cried even more. Finally the flight attendant asked my mom, "If you could get off the plane and be with your sister would you?"
"Yes," sobbed my mother.
"Let me see what I can do." The attendant said and went toward the cockpit door. She then proceeded to knock on the door -- now let me remind you that the plane is sitting in the middle of the runway, waiting for its turn to take off -- and she tells the captain the saga.
He says, "Get her off the plane if she is hysterical!"
The nice flight attendant explains, "She isn't hysterical. She just wants her sister. If we would go back to let her off, why can't we just go back and let her sister on?"
"Fine." The captain said and he turned the plane around to get my Auntie A.
And they flew together happily ever after. When they were getting off the plane in London, the captain said to them, "No you ladies stay together." They giggled and walked off the plane hand in hand.
I met the dynamic duo at Paddington Station at 11:45pm London time. We were exhausted but excited to be together and laughed untl we cried about the whole event. We are now the 3 Temporary Europeans and we know that we will be alright because between the three of us, we can make anything happen!
Watch out England and Ireland!
Wednesday, 1 July 2009
Calls for the removal of the bendy bus escalated this summer  after a series of accidents, including one in which Lee Beckwith, 21, was killed when he was trapped by a bus door in Essex and dragged for a mile.
TfL figures suggest bendy buses are more likely to be involved in an accident. It is estimated that they cause 5.6 pedestrian injuries per million miles operated, compared with 0.97 per million for all other buses.
Bendy buses, manufactured by Mercedes-Benz, are also involved in 2.62 collisions with cyclists per million miles, compared with 0.97 for other buses, and have 153 accidents per million miles, compared with 87 per million on non-bendy routes. Critics say that because passengers don't have to board at the front, many avoid paying.
"Many Londoners, particularly cyclists, see the awkward elongated bulk of the bendy bus as unsuitable for the city's streets," Mr Johnson said. "I am making sure the buses are removed in the most cost-effective way and today's new contract marks the beginning of the end for bendy buses in London."
Bendy buses make up 5 per cent of the London bus fleet but the 350 vehicles are responsible for about 20 per cent of bus-related deaths. They were introduced by the former mayor Ken Livingstone, who decommissioned the Routemasters.
Yeah for the new mayor of London! For now, the bendy buses still plow through the streets but I will make it a point to avoid them, both as a passenger and a pedestrian, and I will only ride the double-decker or single platform bus. Hey, I do what I can to support the aspects of London that make it a great city.
Doing My Part,
The Temporary European