Greetings from London! We truly are here, and made it in very good time – from the bus in Provo through construction to the airport, through the check-in line and security, and onto the first plane to Minneapolis. Even the overhead bins had enough room for all of our extra carry-ons plus the men’s tuxes. We arrived a few minutes early and had 10 minutes to consider life before boarding the plane to London. This plane wasn’t full, but some still managed to be put in the last row where there is essentially no way to lean the seat back. We all tried very hard to embody all the suggestions Rosalind Hall, our cultural advisor, gave us to have as much sleep as possible on the flight over. A few managed that, but the rest of us tossed and turned and yearned for the flight to end.
Sister Hall was waiting at Heathrow Airport for us, and the group feels more complete now. We met our Welsh driver with his double-deck coach, and started figuring out the logistics for this coach and our luggage and instruments and so much more!
We checked in at the Umi Hotel, which is in a beautiful part of town, not far from Notting Hill (for those of you who saw that movie.) The leaders made a quick foray to a nearby T-Mobile store to buy our Internet dongles that will allow us to keep up with the world and post this blog no matter where we are. Technology is a great thing, and every tour seems to bring new information and gadgets and abilities.
We met the bus again, this time heading over to the Westminster area. We were split into small groups, with each fearlessly led by a student who had been in London two years ago for a semester abroad. No one was irretrievably lost, so their senses of direction must have stayed intact.
This time walking served several purposes—first, we were on our feet and not falling asleep. As our cultural advisor has drilled into us, “jet lag is for wimps!” No one will admit to having any, but a few eyelids have drooped very suspiciously. It did feel very good to able to stretch our legs. Apart from the benefits of exercise, we enjoyed looking around and seeing places and things we’re read about for years. I’ll let the photos finish our first night in London. Few people are featured as we hadn’t showered yet in two days, and no one was particularly photogenic. I’ll try to make up for that tomorrow.
Tomorrow night is the first concert of tour, so we hope tonight’s sleep will help put us in this new time zone. We’re thrilled to be here! (And almost equally thrilled at having a real bed tonight!)