London is one of those great cities throughout the world that I have always felt drawn towards, yet for one reason or another have never visited. The city is massive in its size and history, with buildings that are hundreds of years old standing next to ones only recently assembled. The city has survived plagues, numerous wars, and a plethora of other events to make it one of the most historic cities on the world. When moving to Dublin I knew that of the European places I would visit, London was on the top of the list.
Arriving on a Friday afternoon I followed the signs in the airport to the subway which would move me through the historic tube system to my hotel. I checked into my room and texted a friend of mine to let her know I had arrived and figure out where we would be meeting later that evening for a few drinks. Then it was into bed for a quick nap or so I had hoped. I had been suffering from a nasty cough for about a week, and with my new street-noise filled apartment in Dublin I couldn't say when the last time I had a full nights sleep was. And a nice quite hotel room seemed like a good way to get a few hours of sleep in. It's possibly my eyes might have reached some sleep for a minute or two, but it didn't feel like it when she texted to let me know she was on her way.
I crawled out of bed coughing with a headache now. Hopefully a shower would help, I thought, and took a nice long shower in the hopes it would improve my physical well-being. It helped a little. From there it was to a pub for some good beers and some shitty food. One of the nice things about travel is the people you meet while doing it, and S is one of these people met through those travels. We were both volunteering last year at the Antelope Park in Africa and with the modern world of Facebook have stayed in touch ever since. Originally, I had threatened to crash on her sofa for the weekend, and she offered, but when she mentioned she lived in a house with three other girls I decided it would be better to stay in the city. The idea of sleeping in a house full of women always sounds like a good idea, but experience has shown that it's never as fun as a young guy would hope it to be.
At the pub we ordered our beers and caught up while eating poor quality food. I wasn't expecting a world-class steak, but I also wasn't expecting beef jerky on a plate. S wasn't able to finish her chicken something or other. I finished mine even though disappointed in the quality. From that pub we went to another bar to order some drinks with alcohol in them instead of beer. But apparently they have the same skimpy quantity pour of alcohol in London as they do in Dublin. S's stomach was bothering her and my cough wasn't sounding any better, even though I keep trying to convince myself it was getting better. So, I walked her back to the tube and from there back to my hotel where I attempted to sleep while sucking on cough drops all night long.
Last time I went on vacation and got a nasty cough it was in South America. On that trip it turned into a nasty head cold and other flue symptoms before heading home to Seattle, where after getting to the point of not being able to eat, experiencing sweats and chills at the same time, I eventually went to the doctor and was informed that I had Scarlet Fever. That trip was at the top of my mind as I attempted to sleep my first night in London, but this time around I was able to console myself with the joy that the company I kept was more pleasant. And come-on what are the chances of getting Scarlet Fever twice in a lifetime? Something I didn't even know people still picked up until my pleasurable experience with it.
If I could sleep long enough to dream, I would dream of getting a good nights sleep.