We were trying to get to our hotel in London on “The Tube.” Our tickets were for Victoria Station though that wasn’t written anywhere.
“Looks like this line actually ends at Kensington Gardens near our hotel,” I said. “I think we could just stay on.” Hm. Wonder why everyone doesn’t do that?
“Ooommpphh,” I said as I walked into the exit turnstile. A little message came up suggesting I seek out an attendant.
“These tickets are only good to Victoria Station,” he said.
I gave him my best, bewildered “We’re Americans” look.
“Ah, right then.” He walked me over to the ticket machine. I was going to suggest that we didn’t need tickets now. We were already where we wanted to be. But something told me to hold that thought. Besides, we needed to get to the British Museum. So I bought all day tickets. Then, after we checked into our hotel, we walked to Paddington Station.
“Ooommpphh,” I said as I walked into the entrance turnstile. “But I bought tickets this time, I mean, like we always do.”
The attendant quickly informed me that I had bought tickets for the bus and tram not the train and tube.
“There’s a difference?”
My wife bought new tickets and we headed to the stairs that led deep into the bowels of the earth where they keep the aptly named underground. Turns out there are like a dozen lines and we had to keeping switching, each time talking an escalator from the bowels to the station and then descending a set of stairs to another platform deep in the bowels.
“I think I’ve seen more bowels in one day than a proctologist sees,” I said. Several people moved away from us on The Tube.
Somehow we made it to the British Museum, which was amazing! We’d seen old, but this stuff was OLD! They had pieces from the Stone Age, as well as Ancient Egypt, China, Greece, Turkey and Mesopotamia. They even had the Rosetta Stone, the ancient artifact that helped unlock the secret of hieroglyphics.
“Wonder if we could use it to figure out the trains, trams and tubes?”
My wife tapped me on the shoulder and reminded me that even though I was wearing audio track headphones, the voice in my head would not answer me.
As we passed from one amazing exhibit to another I began to wonder if any of my stuff would one day end up in a museum. I had some pretty old socks.
My wife tapped me again and suggested if I did want to ask questions to the voice in my head I should not ask them out loud.
One small bronze statue I really liked was that of a bull with a man stuck on his horns. The “voice in my head” told me it depicted bull leaping, a ritual that involved grabbing the bull’s horns and acrobatically leaping onto its back. Wow. How many ales did you have to drink before someone talked you into that?
After several hours moving from one wonder of civilization to another we came to the mummies. They were displayed in stages from gold sarcophagus to fully wrapped mummies to a couple that were completely naked and dried out like giant people jerky.
“Should we have lunch now?” I asked.
After we ate, my wife got us onto the proper train to Saint Paul’s Cathedral, where Prince Charles and Lady Diana were married. Though I’m sure we would have had trouble finding a seat that day, today we were able to go all the way to the front. That’s when they announced that the organ player was going to play. I thought he was pretty dang good. My wife was in heaven – so to speak.
“That was so amazing. I almost forgive you for that ticket thing,” she said.
Note to self: Buy organ music for future screw-ups.
We finished the day with a quick trip to Piccadilly Circus, which isn’t a circus at all, though there were a lot of strange people.
“Still never got a copy of my book to the Queen,” I said. “Maybe I’ll invite her to Santa Barbara for my next signing. She can stay in the guest room."
"Right," my wife said. "I'll change the sheets."