While flying standby to South Africa with two friends, we got stuck in London for a couple days due to the flights to South Africa being pretty full. Rather than waste time in the airport hoping to catch one of these flights, we decided to explore London. This was the second time in London for Danielle & I, but Joe had never been so we basically redid our first trip.
Getting stuck actually ended up being a good thing because even though our time in London was short, it was fun & left us with some strange & funny stories.
This trip was even more special than my other trips because this trip we were flying on Danielle's concessional or as I like to call it super standby. It bumps up your priority and gives you business class if it is open. Lucky for us the flight to London was pretty empty so we got to live it up in business class!
We landed at 3pm & waited around for our 9pm flight to Cape Town. It wasn't till final boarding that they told us there wasn't any room & the next flight for us to try was 9pm the next day. Unsure what to do, we debated sleeping at the airport & waiting the whole next day for the flight but the loads weren't looking good. At 3am, after almost just going to Rome or Amsterdam for a couple days until the flights clear up, we decided to stay in London.
We booked a room in a hotel in Kensington Park & ordered an Uber. This is when things started getting weird. Our driver Mafoo (or something like that) was on the phone with Danielle trying to find us. He was getting annoyed & was about to ditch us when we realized he was on the street above us. Tensions were a little high when we got in the car but I was starving so I asked him to stop at this 24 hour McDonalds on the way to the hotel. After another five minutes of him struggling to get the airport exit gate to open, we were on our way.
When we got to McDonalds he drove into the drive-through & some kid was taking the trash out so he stops & aggressively shouts at him, "Hey you guys open?!". The guy, confused, gestures him to continue into the drive-through which he does, driving past the order box & straight to the window. At this point I think, "hmmm either they do things weird in London or this guy has no idea how to order fast food". A woman opens the window & takes our order with oddities that are to hard to describe in writing but it just added to the offness of the night. We then proceeded to the next window where the manager tells us it is gonna be "4 to 5 minutes" which Mafoo heard as "45 minutes" & became furious 😂. We pulled off to a waiting area where after about five minutes of Mafoo telling us how he is being so nice to us by stopping to get food, he goes this is taking too long & proceeds to reverse into the drive-through, cutting off a car who just ordered. I'll never forget the face of the lady in the window holding the next customer's coffee. Confused as to why some little Indian guy with a car full of young white kids reversed to the window & is yelling for his food. Thankfully, it was done & we got out of there. The rest of the drive was quiet & we made it to our hotel around 5am.
Tired & just wanting to sleep, we went into the hotel only to find out that the receptionist doesn't get in till 2pm. Joe & I decided to go search for a coffee shop while Danielle sat in the hallway with our luggage. After drinking some hot chocolate and watching the people of London start their day, me & Joe (struggled but ultimately) found our way back to the hotel where Danielle had quite a story for us. In the short time we were gone, the only door in the main hallway opened & some drunk naked guy came out complaining that he locked himself out of his room and he has to go the bathroom. He then proceeded to go outside & pee off the front staircase. This story was even weirder when we later found out the hotel bathroom is located in the hallway of the second floor. Danielle called the receptionist & someone came & let the guy back in his room. Again, like I told you, weird start to the trip...
It was still only 6am & we were too tired to wait till 2pm so we walked the street going hotel to hotel hoping we could check in early to one of them. We finally got a room & walked up a seemingly endless staircase to the top room. At some point in our nap the fire alarm went off, I woke up, hit my head on the top bunk, & went back to bed. Then a maid opened the door a couple hours later & woke us up. Seriously, we were in the room for like 4 hours & we had a fire alarm go off & some random maid come in, weird 🤨.
The rest of the trip was pretty similar to the first one so I'll just put some pics.
Our short jaunt in London was fun but now onto the real trip!