QXZ's London Invasion, Part Ten
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I'm looking through you, you're not the same
I'm afraid of Americans.

Woke up to a bright and sunny day. Decided to make the Abbey Road pilgrimage and rediscovered my information as to where it is.

I figure I need to be back at the hostel no later than 4:00 to repack my stuff and be out of there by 5:00, so I can't bum around too much today. Maybe if I'm quick I can get lunch at Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese.

I walked up Grove End Road stupidly singing Get Back to myself, and actually got a bit giddy when I saw the zebra crossing up ahead. The first street sign I came to for Abbey Road was covered in graffiti and eminently photo-worthy. Just around the corner is the studio itself. The fence out front is stuffed with memorials to George; flowers, pictures, written notes, apples, coins, candles. The low white wall under the fence, visible on the album cover, is entirely graffitoed. Most of it's messages to George and John, but the largest one of all, running the length in spraypaint, simply says "Happy Birthday Anna". I'm told this wall is repainted white every other week or so. Names of people from as far away as Brazil and Japan.

Someone, for some reason, has tied a pomegranite with a button featuring the face of Elvis stuck into it to the fence. Three people have written goodbye notes on rolling papers.

I left a note of my own, speaking on behalf of my Mom and Dad as well. Time to go.

I left, crossing at the crosswalk, of course. I photographed my feet.

Transferred to the Circle Line at the Baker Street station. This platform (# 5) is part of the first-ever subway; it was one of the seven stations on the Metropolitan Railway which opened in 1863. They restored it, back in 1983, to look as it did then.

Stopped in at Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, which was easier to find than I expected. The entrance is actually tucked back in Wine Office Court, but there's a lamp out on Fleet Street showing you where to go. Sadly, they'd stopped serving food for the day. I must have just missed it, as people were most definitely eating.

Back to the hostel, packed, out of there. No lengthy goodbyes, but Ivan and Pedro told me to "take care". I left my address for Aisa, since he claims he wants to write to me.

Tubed it to Heathrow, checked in and was eating a crappy pre-flight meal by 6:20. A little less than two hours until my flight leaves. I requested an aisle seat, of course. They're just comfier. I gotta wash my damn hands.

Security line was very long and very slow, and nearly everyone ahead of me set off the metal detector. Folks, it's not that hard: put all of your metallic shit in your bag or your coat, and send that through the x-ray machine. I was on the plane by 7:40.

Oh, good! I think the seat next to me will be empty. Oh cool! Here Comes Your Man is on the PA music. And Devil's Haircut! Nice. Virgin rules. Ah, I've gained a seatmate (who's a dead ringer for the one I had going the other way) and they've brought me a goodie bag. This, and the complimentary George Harrison issue of Hello! I'm keeping. Island in the Sun has come on, and it's hard not to be overcome by the ROCK.

We were in the air by 8:45 (GMT) and on the ground by 10:30 (EDT). Passport control (where they didn't stamp my passport, they stamped my immigration form, the bastards!), baggage claim, customs, and then the monorail to the train station. Train to subway to walking to front door, and I'm in bed by 1:45 AM. Whoo.

The End

Excerpted from QXZ's travel diary, 12/9/01.
QXZ endorses nothing.

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