Tuesday, February 22, 2005

LLX 2005

Preface: If my first trip to London was summed up with [British accent]"This train is for Cockfosters,"[/British accent] this trip could be denoted by a little, [British accent]"You're eating filters!"[/British accent] I'd explain, but it wouldn't be as funny.

Hind sight is 20/20? Time heals all wounds? What is that saying of which I'm thinking? I didn't feel wonderful the whole time I was in London, and there were points when all I wanted was to go home and dance with the yummy leads I know and love. But each time I tell the story, it gets better and better. Here's a recap:

Our flight was delayed 11 hours, so AA gave us food vouchers and a hotel room for the night. Even better, our wonderful boys Keith and Drew felt bad that we were delayed, so they left the Thursday night dance early and came to Heathrow to pick us up and give us a Love Actually moment. Aww! By the way, Drew is the greatest. He's cute and smart and friendly, and he read us a bedtime story (Mr. Impossible) in his British accent and page boy hat without us asking him to do it. He offered.

Friday we went to Covent Garden for some shopping and walking, then came home for dinner with Drew, Mithy (his girl, who is equally cool, and a biochemist to boot), and Mark, our own cave troll. The Friday night dance wasn't fun at all. We didn't know anyone but Drew and Mithy, and all the Brits just wanted to dance with each other. Furthermore, it was crowded and hot, and there seemed to be five follows for every lead. That means we had to basically stalk boys to get a dance, and because I know how much it sucks to be stalked, I wasn't too interested in doing that.

Saturday we went dancing at the South Bank (both inside and outside; see pictures below), which was ok. Still, not a ton of dances, but more interesting. And during my first dance of the day, I spotted Ken! From CT! That made me happy. He was there on family vacation and ditched his kids to stop by the dance. How convenient! After another Drew and Mithy-cooked dinner, we went to the formal Savoy Ball, which had many of the same problems as the Friday night dance, but this time everyone was dressed up. I got a few more dances, and some of them were even good ones (notably a bal with Manchester!Keith and a lindy with Chicago!Clint). In need of diner, we stopped at a place that claimed "diner", but was actually a chicken shack. It was terribly disappointing, and they served mayonaise with the fries.

We skipped the Sunday lunch (which looked good, especially the chocolate cake), but arrived in time to tour the decadent women's restroom and then set off on the lindy hopper's walking tour of London. I remember very little about the tour except that coming off the Millenium bridge, we were in a wedding photo. (It was the bride and groom kissing on the bridge in focus while everyone walks past them, blurred with fancy camera tricks.) The tour ended at the kickass Sunday night dance, in the crypt. The DJs played enough blues to make me melt, and I danced with 1/3 to 1/2 the leads in the room, way more than the other dances. We had an authentic diner experience, complete with fugitive diner dancing and omelets with milkshakes. After that, we stayed up all night to pack and chat, and left earlyearly Monday morning.

I suppose it's everything a vacation should be: rife with initial homesickness, followed by a steep ramping up of activity and excitement, topped off with a fond farewell and happy homecoming.

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