Check off “international travel” on the list of things I’ve never done.
Boston’s Logan International Airport was added to my short list of Most Hated Places in America. In case you ever have an international connection, there will be no list of departures for your flight. You’ll have to learn by experience that Terminal E is what you need, and to get there you’ll have to walk through long stretches of empty terminal space and repress the logical human inclination to turn back when you hit construction. Whatever you do, don’t follow the ticketing agent’s directions to go outside to get there. You’ll go though security yet again, your friend will be subject to intense TSA scrutiny as you watch your plane finalize boarding, and you two will be the last sweaty, disheveled travelers on board.
But maybe our experience was unique.
We were welcomed into the UK by a border/immigration agent who interrogated me thoroughly about my intentions.. “Why are you here? What are you doing here for seven days? What are you going to do? What are you going to see? Can I have your itinerary? No, not your tickets, your itinerary–when are you leaving?” And finally, after a protracted fumbling to remember my Expedia password on one hour’s worth of airplane sleep, an emphatic stamp on my passport with a “Just go, you’re fine. Just go.”
Roll Out Roll Call is a smaller show, and that’s not a bad thing. I did some sketches, had time to chat with folks who stopped by, and picked up a couple Transformers Masterpiece figures. This may be my new thing. Man, they’re beautiful. (I’m late to the party, I know.) David Tree ran himself ragged taking care of things for the show. I hope he was able to sleep the rest of the week.
After the convention, Chris, Robert Atkins, and I took a taxi to our hotel closer to central London. It was driven by an older Indian man who oozed first-day-on-the-job confidence. After having to input the address into google maps on his phone for him, we spent the next 45 minutes taking detours as he missed following both the voice directions and the map. In fairness, the fact that someone named Rina kept calling him was probably distracting. Instead of simply hitting “decline” call he would answer it every time, immediately hang up, and then seem frustrated when they would call again.
The rest of the trip was just touristy things. Tower of London, National Gallery, Wandering through Covent Garden, etc. A great experience, but the overwhelming impression I came away with was that I really hadn’t been in a British city. Everyone was from somewhere else in the world. We were just as likely, if not more, to run into the French, Indian, American, or see women in full Burkas as we were to run into a Brit.
We also ran across the European premiere of Jason Bourne as Matt Damon was walking the red carpet.
On the last day, Chris and I did manage to find a small spot tucked away on a side street where we sat for a couple hours listening to British Businessmen chat over beers after work. After eavesdropping on their opinions of Brexit, Americans, the economy, and the spending habits of one of their wives, Batman strolled past and down an alley. Because of course he did.
The trip home was notable in that I did briefly set foot in Iceland (which I wouldn’t mind visiting for a few days sometime) and I got to see Greenland out of the airplane window.
To finally solidify my hatred of Logan International Airport, we did miss our connecting flight in Boston on the way back and had to spend the night.
There’s the short version of my week in the UK. Now to catch up on all the work I couldn’t do that week. Cheers.