Waiting For A Plane XVII – London

In 2015 I wound up taking a couple of trips to Iraq and spent a lot of time in airports. I shared my thoughts on those trips with you in a series of posts. I managed to get through 2016 with my feet firmly planted on the ground, but it looks like I’ll be collecting a few frequent flyer points this year. I think I was in seven airports in February, waiting for a plane. There’s not much else to do in airports except read or write, so I jotted down my thoughts as I traveled.

I don’t know if I have been in Heathrow’s Terminal 2 before, except to dash through it three mornings ago. If indeed this was the terminal we arrived in. All airports look the same to me.img_20170216_084651

This airport has always struck me as security-obsessed, which isn’t a bad thing. There was a new wrinkle this morning. After presenting passport and boarding pass and going through screening (which I flunked yet again, but a full body scan failed to turn up any weapons), there was yet another passport check before being allowed into the concourse. Can’t figure out what they expect to get that they didn’t see the first time. It’s not like I had time to alter my passport between checkpoints.

I feel tired. I should be refreshed, there was plenty of time to sleep last night, but the people in the hotel room above me were rather noisy as they checked out at 4:08 a.m. Or maybe the room had no people, just elephants.img_20170216_084630

At least Heathrow has changed its free Internet service. Three years ago, the last time I passed through, the limit was 30 minutes. Far too short to get any serious work done. Or maybe that was two years ago.

Three days in England is too short, but it’s a business trip. I’m fortunate enough that, since I work in politics, a tour of the Parliament building is business. I also had some time between meetings to wander through part of central London. Each city block is packed with history. There will be a few posts from the UK. (There have been some already.)

One of my colleagues, who lives here, says she was excited for the first six months, taking time to explore the attractions. Now it is home; she lives her life and doesn’t play the tourist.

I understand that completely. Ottawa is home to most of Canada’s national museums, and it has been years since I was in any of them. When they are always there, there is no sense of urgency.

I limited my souvenir acquisition. I realized that anything I bought here has to be carried through four more countries. And I’ve been here before, better to make purchases in my next stop, Stockholm, which will be new to me.

I’m told there will be opportunity after the conference I’m attending in Stockholm to see a bit of that city. I hope so.

I understand the necessities of business travel. Time is money and tourism doesn’t help the bottom line. However, I also think it would be a shame to visit a city and not be able to see at least some of the famous attractions.

I wonder if any businesses have a tourism component built into their employees travel policy?  Business travel is frequently draining, and it is not fun to be away from family. I would think it would be good for morale if you were able to see some sights courtesy of your employer. I doubt most companies would be willing to allow that.

 

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