Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Secret Hotel At London Heathrow

The Secret Hotel at the London Airport? It’s free? What is this you say?!? I thought the rooms at the hotels ran at least $200/night. Ah- that was my thought as well. After a five and half hour flight leaving beautiful Lebanon, I landed around 9pm in the London Heathrow Airport. Dreading my fourteen-hour connection, and determined not to shell out 200 dollars for a mere eight hours in a room, I resigned myself to sleeping in the airport. When you are young, you can do anything. The world is at your fingertips and a fourteen-hour layover in one terminal at LHW airport is a perfect opportunity to people watch and catch up on some GRE studying. Around 11pm, with about one hundred people snuggled up on airport benches in the middle of terminal one, surrounded by closed stores with chain gates and nothing but people picking up trash, a voice rang out- “every one wake up…follow me.” Groggily, they all collected their socks, disshelved-selves, blankets, waters and whatever else the world brought with them, and followed a security guard to Terminal 2, the secret hotel of the London Airport. And when I say hotel, I mean terminal. With about 20 reclining chairs. Meanies in front of me grabbed ‘em first. (I certainly would have) We all re-snuggled back into our sleepless naps on the cold metal benches, trying to stretch a tiny blanket to cover our toes to our heads because of the bright lights and chill. At least 50 nationalities must’ve been present, with languages in every tongue quietly dying down as the hours grew deeper into the morning. Just as I fell asleep, deeply, another loud voice rang out “everyone wake up! It’s time to move in a few minutes.” I swore I was on the Hogwarts Express platform, with voice of the conductor announcing we were nearly at Hogwarts. Much to my dismay, it was not Hogwarts that was our destination at 3:45am. No, no. The secret hotel at London Heathrow herded us back into Terminal one, in the center waiting area. As you can imagine, many people won’t wake up after the fourth hour of their nights sleep. So Mrs. Not Hogwarts Conductor leaned closely into people’s faces, shouting once again, “time to wake up. We’re leaving in a few minutes.” (Insert British Accent) One hundred people from all over the world, grateful for the hospitality of the Secret London Heathrow Airport, slowly awoke from their slumbers, stretching, yawning and looking around wondering where the heck they were. There were those attempting to smooth out the airport hair that had stubbornly developed, those smelling their own awful breath, collecting their belongings once more, and getting ready for our next herded move. Back to Terminal one it is. It is four am. I am wide-awake. Bring it on GRE practice test. Now, I must find the coffee.  Thank you kindly, Secret Hotel at the London Heathrow Airport. And thank you Mrs. Not Hogwarts Conductor, for bringing me to the closest realization of my Hogwarts dreams I have ever experienced.

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