07 Nov 2017

Sri Lanka - Getting Lost In Travel by nfiamingo

2/14

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It’s just about midnight and due to the delay in engine number one starting, we are just now getting our dinner - the good news, special request meals get served first! A perk of being gluten-free!

Since both Maureen and I were freezing, I truly welcomed a warm meal- home cooked or microwaved I don’t really care what it is at this point.

Prior to digging into our dinner, drinks were served. White wine and a warm cup of tea are the perfect remedies to heat up the soul!

For our gluten-free dinner, we are served a fruit salad, garden salad, a rice cake (which tasted like cardboard) and a gluten-free ravioli in a roasted red pepper vodka sauce.

While the meal was NOT gluten-free and vegan, it was vegetarian and again- it is a warm meal!

Upon tasting, the dish was actually rather good! A couple hours later though, and I was extremely ill. The gluten-free provided meal did not sit well with me at all! Maybe it was the dairy or the mix of eating fruits and vegetables all in one sitting that my dosha didn't find fun.

Thank you, American Airlines for a fairly decent in air gluten-free dish!

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London was, well an interesting time for Maureen and I.

We got to experience the London Tube (public transit system) which had to have told us maybe 100 times to “mind the bump” or should I put it into English, the gap between the train and the platform.

Once we found our way into the city, it was maybe 2 minutes before this guy informed me “your looking lovely today” damn it- why can’t this happen to me in the states?!?! Maybe I should have acted on it - he could have been my prince charming.

I was trying to find some non-tourist things to do and I was actually really excited for high tea, which I reserved for Maureen and me.

Upon arrival, they let me know that they messed up our reservation and that they did not have us reserved for high tea, but rather just a lunch service and couldn't accommodate a high tea request last minute.

Instead, we wondered the odd streets of London's dreary, rainy skies and happen to find a 100% gluten-Free joint, Beyond Bread! I rocked a gluten-free falafel sandwich, but man it was a tough call because their goodies looked amazing and hard to find in the US. Prices seemed pretty fair as well.

Then, while sitting down for a bite to eat, I received an email that our Free Walking Tour had been canceled. So now we just decided to wander the streets and find a good tea and coffee.

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Argh- after having much success in navigating the streets of a foreign country, we had officially found ourselves lost. Ever so kindly some of the wonderful citizens “google mapped” our destination- only for us to discover this particular Vantra restaurant location has closed.

Maureen and I dove back into a department store to steal some of their free wifi so we could touch base with Kaitlin.

We decided to head to towards Vantra's second location and mapped everything out, saved screenshots of the map and off we were. Being about 95% certain we were going the wrong way, we tried to confirm with some pedestrians- unfortunately, they either have no idea about the streets of London (which for God’s sake, I can see why) or they found it amusing to confuse travelers. Either way, Maureen and I were misguided.

Finally navigating ourselves back, we literally “ran into” Kaitlin on the streets of London only to be delivered some additional bad news- the second location was also temporarily closed in preparation for their new site.

Boo! Whatever, it was not about the destination as much as it was about seeing Kaitlin. We made our way down the block and on our way towards a London pub, we found Rawligion- a 100% gluten, vegan, and organic establishment. Why not check it out?! It is not a “drink” but it is some yummy, fulfilling food! Which, I know I am an oddball, but I prefer good food to an alcoholic beverage any day!

I couldn’t resist but try their spicy jackfruit sandwich- say what?! Two gluten-free sandwiches in one day- unheard of!!

Kaitlin treated us to some raw delicious desserts and pointed us in the right direction towards our train route.

Xoxo, Love you KG and see you soon! Thanks again for everything.

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When one says “the London public transit is crowded” - they are underestimating the craziness of the London Tube.

I had armpits in my ear, feet on my thighs, passenger bags up to my ass and hats in my eyes. This was a cattle-shoot that everyone was eager to, for some reason, voluntarily join in on the fun.

Maureen and I kept waiting for passengers to exit, allowing more breathing room for us and of course, the additional passengers to come aboard and instead- one way or another, somehow we continued to be slammed into additional tightly packed meat patties.

When you think matters couldn’t get any worse, the current train (ETA to Heathrow Airport terminals 1,2,&3 around 7:00 pm for our 7:40 pm boarding) derailed and had us exit to another platform not clearly marked for the terminals of interest to us.

Finally, the “help” on duty, pointed us in the right direction. We joined the crowd and voluntarily smashed ourselves into meat patties and patiently waited for the doors to close.

Watching our clocks and realizing the time was slipping away, a couple more minutes of our patience gifted us with yet another opportunity- the chance to be even more patient. Bahahahahhahaaaha

We derailed yet again. Trying to hop over to platform 1 and in desperation- or maybe frustration at this point, trying to squeeze our way in- we did not make the cut and needed to once again platform hop.

Amen, Alleluia, Praise to all the higher beings above- we are on a train that has closed its doors and started it’s journey to our final destination.

Maureen, actually appearing rather calm - had to know the deal with my anxiety of being fronted with chaotic- disorganization - when my Project Manager mindset has already come up with 5 great alternative ways in which to handle the situation.

Again, counting some of the little blessings, we thankfully didn’t get stuck in Terminal 4 for 8+ minutes- which we had been forwarned happened on a regular basis.

Arriving at Terminal 1,2, & 3 at 7:40 for a flight boarding at 7:50, we checked in and asked for assistance on where to retrieve Maureen's checked bag.

Splitting directions- Maureen retrieved her bag and I headed through security. After some fun there- we eventually reunited and found ourselves safely aboard our flight to Colombo Sri Lanka.