I managed to wake at 6:30 this morning, as the ship had begun its' docking routine, but I was unable to fall back asleep as several people on our floor had begun to mill in the hallways, presumably heading out to breakfast to start their day off right.
We dressed and packed up the last of our stuff, then sat and debated our options, as we couldn't even begin the disembarkation process until after 8:30. The buffet was in full swing, so we grabbed something light from there, but headed back to the room to eat, as there was no seating available. The buffet area was an absolute madhouse, so the room seemed to be the easiest bet, rather than walking around for a half hour hoping to stumble upon some empty seating.
We eventually headed down to the Britannia Dining Room
, our 'holding area' to wait for our little luggage tag color/number to be called, whereupon we would make our way off the ship. The wife noted that our color/number was next to absolute last, so we probably had a good long wait ahead of us. She knitted to pass the time and I tried to read, but I couldn't tune out all the random conversations around us, so I eventually gave up and people-watched a bit. The whole 'hurry up and wait' side of the trip has been a bit like slow death.
One odd thing I noticed was that while we were to be in the dining room at 8:30, we had wandered that way shortly after 8:00, just to be safe. As I was typing my notes for the day to kill some time, I notice that as late as 9:25 there were still people trickling into the room. What puzzled me was whether or not these folks were being sent here after they tried to line-jump and go ahead of the color/numbering system, or if they've just been laying around in their staterooms until the Stewards
finally rousted them like a bouncer at a bar, cleaning house with the last few lingering drunks?
Our color/number is finally called, followed a few moments later by 'everyone else remaining', which makes you feel a lot less special when they put it like that. "Orange Four. Oh, and anyone else who is still stuck on the ship, please leave at this time."
We made our way off the ship, happily found all four pieces of luggage with no issue, then met the waiting family outside. The drivers were soon shepherding us back through Southampton
and on into London
.The Four Seasons again
managed to be a clusterfuck as we checked in, having somehow lost the wife and I's room reservation. This situation somehow led to the Mother In Law
's room being upgraded to the Presidential Suite
, presumably because it was a large room that they could put us all in while they tried to figure out what was wrong, rather than having the 8 of us milling in their nice lobby getting increasingly agitated over the state of the reservations.
It's eventually confirmed that we do have a room, so we're shown to it and drop off the luggage, then we reconvene in the MIL
's room, where the family has ordered in burgers.
The wife and I managed to get shorted a burger in this deal, but we're cool to just split one and some fries, so we chill on a chaise in the living room and watch the heavy traffic outside. We also spent some time (along with the rest of the family) checking out what was happening down the block at the Park Lane Hilton
, which had a disturbing
amount of people hanging out laundry in their windows. I mean, from what I can discern, the Park Lane
address is a very desirable one, so to look out the window of the Presidential Suite
and see people's towels and clothes drying, rooms with the curtains tied up to the side, it was like looking down at a hostel rather than a (presumably) nice hotel. I mean, for fuck's sake, I watched a woman bring a child to the window in a towel, then remove the towel and leave the kid standing there nude
in full view of the world for several minutes while she disappeared back into the room. What the hell is going on in this hotel? Click on the pic above and look at the rooms on the building in the middle, it's very strange.
finally got their own room assignments, so they went to settle in, though the wife and I made plans for an outing, as we both felt like getting out of the room would be the best idea, otherwise we'd end up just sleeping the day away.
We headed to the lobby at 2:00, saw the Older Sister
off to Starbucks
and a drug store to pick up a few incidentals, then the Brother In Law
accompanied us on a prowl through Harrod's
. We spent a couple hours or so there, did a bit of shopping and had a little snack in the food area before grabbing a taxi back to the hotel.
The wife and I dropped off our stuff and then headed down to the hotel bar for happy hour. I gave their Old Fashioned
a shot, as it was a drink I had got onto for awhile while we were marathoning Mad Men
several months back, but wasn't a drink that I ever felt I'd perfected the production of around the house like I have with the martini.
The Old Fashioned
they pour at the Four Seasons
involves 12 year old Dewar's Scotch
and was what I'd imagine tasting Heaven would be like. The wife requested something called 'nuts and berries', which the bartender wasn't familiar with (I'd never heard of it myself, to be perfectly honest), so we had to Google
it to see what it consisted of. He gave it the old college try, though it wasn't quite as she remembered it, it was tasty nonetheless. Since he was at the table conferring about this mystery drink, he inquired about their signature Old Fashioned
, which involved some alternate ingredients that included some form of chocolate and it actually tasted as good as the first one, possibly better
, which I honestly didn't think was possible.
Amusingly, I ordered a 3rd and final drink and I'll be damned if the waiter didn't turn up with yet another
drink for the wife as well. A look over the tab indicated we'd only been charged for one of them, which the wife guessed meant that he'd probably made a large batch of the drink in his testing phase and was trying to get rid of it, so we tipped generously and headed up to the room to confirm dinner plans with the family.
We met the BIL
and the kids in the lobby, then hoofed it around the corner to try out the original location of the Hard Rock Cafe
. The hour wait they gave us allowed for sufficient shopping time in the adjacent store, then we milled around the bar area while we waited for a table to open up. The bartender was a friendly guy who turned out to have vague ties to the Houston
area, and the Niece
would eventually get a chance to step behind the bar and get her photo snapped with him. The food was good, served up in 'American
' sized portions, so we left stuffed.
It'd begun to rain during our time in the restaurant so we braved the wet and made our way back to the hotel, said our good nights and headed up to our rooms.
Since we have to leave for Heathrow
at 6:30 to account for traffic and potential molestation by customs the wife headed directly to bed. I worked on the blog, checked e-mail and looked around a bit at Facebook
, but the Mac
started to fade on me and I called it a night, as I had no interest in digging through the luggage to locate the proper power cord to charge the silly thing.
I took a long soak in the bathtub, then treated myself to a proper shower afterward, thankful to finally be in one that was larger than a postage stamp. The ship was nice, but the bathroom was the size of my glove-box. Once freshly scrubbed I retired to the bed and worked up the notes for this post so as not to lose any details, as I have no idea when I'll get this properly written up, but it will be at least late Thursday
once we're back in the States
, and even later when you are finally reading it.
I'm out kids.
Be seeing you.