Just before I left London for Istanbul, the Queen was bullied into ceremoniously opening the shiny new terminal 5 at Heathrow aiport. Her advisors must have told her about glorious architecture, global importance and national pride. As BAA, the company that runs Heathrow, apparently forgot to install baggage-transporting conveyor belts, pride quickly turned into embarrassment and shame. For the last week or so, flights have been canceled because luggage couldn't be transported, people were stranded or severely delayed, and everyone who isn't British and wasn't flying through the airport had a good laugh. They should let someone else do the big projects.
I flew through Heathrow last Thursday, in the middle of the disaster. Luckily for me, the crisis only affected British Airways. Their flight from Istanbul that day was delayed by more than four hours. I flew Swiss, landed on time, and got to the end of an ungodly passport-control queue within two minutes, ready to get upset about the length. But then things moved swiftly. I waited for about ten minutes and got to the tube stop underneath the terminal in another three, picking my bag up on the way without even stopping. Twenty minutes after touchdown, I sat in the train home. My fasted-ever exit from an airport happened in what some call the world's worst. Goes to show that luck strikes in the most unexpected places.
Addendum to the earlier Istanbul post: Tempted by tickets at a third of what they cost in London and subtitles instead of dubbing, I went to see "No Country For Old Man" one night. The movie was very intense, extremely slow-moving but unrelentingly gripping. Before I babble too much – and much has been written about this movie already – let me just say that I clutched my armrest frequently while watching and walked away deeply impressed. I'm not sure I'd call it a masterpiece but it's certainly a very good movie, artful and crude in similar measures, and likely different from what you've seen before.
The screenplay was adapted from a Cormac McCarthy novel, though some might say butchered. Apparently, only one or two monologs were left from the book when the Coen brothers were done rewriting, which is all the better because the one McCarthy I started reading, Blood Meridian, didn't really leave me awake all night. In fact, I had to return it to the library before I was done with it.
In London, sun has been doing the tango with rain this weekend, and clouds, tempestuous gusts and clear blue sky have all been competing for people's attention. Yesterday, it was miserable, and the 153rd Cambridge-Oxford rowing race, also known as The Boat Race, took place in the worst rain. Normally, a quarter million people watch at the banks of the Thames. Even given how crazy the English are for eccentric sports events, I can't imagine that that many would have braved the elements this time around.
Today's forecast was just as bad as yesterday's, but the weather was lovely. I took my dad to Hyde Park and around South Kensington and let him wander freely in the general direction of Westminster when I've had enough of sightseeing and his repetitious jokes and stories. At home, sweet dates from Istanbul put me back into a sunny mood.