(Author: Susan & Brent)
The flight from San Francisco to London was 10 hours more or less and we felt almost every bit of it.The kids slept pretty well, but were still tired.I had Sam's head on my lap, which after six hours felt like a bowling ball on my left thigh, and I couldn't get comfortable.I pivoted around my leg like a protractor trying to find a good position. Finally, the plane landed and we were grateful for an uneventful trip.The adrenalin started kicking in a little when we arrived in London, I guess the realization that we were on this trip of a lifetime was sinking in.We had 8 hours to kill before our plane was to leave at 9 pm that night.We were not real sure what the local transportation situation was in London when we arrived.However, we quickly found out the least expensive option was the "tube." Surely given this name for the fact it is an underground railway system that runs throughout the city.It cost 7 pounds per adult and kids under 12 ride free.Unfortunately, due to the fact the dollar is so weak that cost us 30 bucks round trip.Seeing this was the cheapest means of public transport we didn't have much choice.The "tube" ticket agent was very helpful in encouraging us to visit the Westminster area.We were all about seeing as much as we could in the 8 hours we had so we took his advice.We paid the fare and found the correct train to Westminster.We were hungry, so we found a fish and chips place called the Red Lion and ordered some food.Apparently Sam could not wait for his food and fell asleep sitting in his chair.It was absolutely gorgeous in the Westminster area.We saw Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, St. James Park, and the day was beautiful.However, Emma seemed nervous about getting to the plane on time, an unfortunate omen.I can't imagine why she would have anxiety about being late to things since we are constantly rushing our kids to "hurry up or we are going to be late".We are always running late, and I suppose she just didn't want to go through that stress, poor thing.We told her in our most parental voices that she need not worry about such things at her age and to just trust her parents.We calculated the time we should leave Westminster to get back to the plane, which might have been ok, if we actually had been sitting on the train at time we needed to leave, not walking back from a park (where I fell asleep on a bench), at the time we needed to be on the train.One delay led to another and Brent and I realized that it would take an act of God to get to our plane on time.How could we have been so stupid and irresponsible?To make matters worse, we had stored our luggage at the airport and not only couldn't remember which terminal our luggage was stored, but didn't even know the terminal our plane left out of.It wasn't printed on our boarding pass.As soon as the underground car got to the airport, we woke our narcoleptic children, I picked up Sam, while Brent carried the heavy backpack and we started running like something out of Mission Impossible.Up and down the wrong escalators, running to the wrong terminals, weaving in and out of people like chickens with our heads cut off.Our flight left at 9:00 p.m. and it was oh, about 9:00 p.m. when we finally found our carry ons at the storage place.Emma was running frantically with us and consistently reminding us that she told us we should have left earlier.So much for trusting the parents, I'm sure she will be in therapy over this one day.Brent and I did our best to remain calm and stuck with the "trusting your parents" angle and added a little lesson on time management and adjusting to different situations.We told the kids not to worry and we would get another flight to Cape Town.No big deal, I'm sure people miss 12 hour international flights all the time.We found a hotel and ordered room service.It was late and we were tired, hungry and cranky.Not a good way to start off our year long trip.Brent and I knew we couldn't blame each other, it was both of our faults, but we both wanted to be angry at something or someone, mostly ourselves.Once we got the kids to sleep and realized that we couldn't do anything about it this late and on a Saturday at that, we went to bed, held each other and both cried.We didn't know how we were going to get a flight and we were stranded in the most expensive city probably in the world.Well, as much as I didn't want to make up a story, but, after having no luck with the airlines due to the fact we booked our ticket through an agency (which was closed on the weekend) and buying new tickets would cost us a small fortune, we had to go "Hollywood".The next morning Brent went to the airport and spoke with a ticket agent and told him we were confused about the dates.The flight from San Fran to London was on the 12th and the flight from London to Cape Town was the 13th, due to the fact we lost 8 hours and were on a 10 hour flight.We played dumb and told them that we thought we had to stay a night in London and then would leave the next day at 9:00p.m. which we thought was the 13th.We told them we had had little sleep, didn't travel internationally, had cried when we found out our mistake and were just very confused.The ticket agent was reluctant at first, but felt sorry enough for us and charged us transfer fees to get on the plane that evening (Sunday, 14th).The transfer fees were not super cheap after paying for 4 people, but we were happy considering our alternatives.Needless to say, we were at the airport about three hours before our flight that evening.