new Immigration officer: Where are you staying in England.
me: With a friend.
new Immigration officer: Who is he?
me: His name?
new Immigration officer: Yes.
new Immigration officer: How do you know him?
me: We met in Korea. We were teachers together.
By this time, I’m starting to wonder if the rest of my evening is going to be spent in the passport control building. I’m even imagining them inspecting my luggage: full of Haribo gummie candy, a bottle of Absenth, and some pretty well worn clothes that needed a good washing. But suddenly, Andrew’s officer turned to mine and told her that I answered all of the questions with the same answers Andrew gave.
I practically had to pinch myself before rolling my eyes and telling them both we answered the same (and truthfully) because we weren’t terrorists! We just wanted to spend the year traveling around the world! I realized later, when chatting with James and others that they probably suspected we were going to try to find jobs in England. Again, I rolled my eyes. Leave Asia to work in the (technically) E.U.? Sorry friends, but no thanks! I’m taking plenty of chances leaving Asia to work in America as it is!
James’ sister was happy to hear London immigration gave us the run-around. I get it. A run-around is great. I’m all for spelling things out. We have done it before (Israel) but it seemed like a giant waste of time this (very early) morning to mumble non-specific questions and then get frustrated with me when I don’t understand! I’ve also had one too many passport control “officers” and flight attendants look at my old Burmese visa thinking that it is the most important page (with all of my information on it)… so it’s become a challenge for me to know if I should take them seriously or not…
Of course we arrived in London nearly an hour early, just after 5 in the morning. We were exhausted, but once James arrived (with bells on) and we had a coffee, we began to shake ourselves awake a bit. Then came breakfast. A giant English feast of a meal before we hopped on bikes to ride around the city. We stuck mostly along the Thames and I didn’t photograph much, and instead enjoyed the feeling of having a friend again (one we don’t really feel often on this trip) and a friend who made all of our decisions for us! What a lovely break!