London trip in a nutshell, Day 1

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People noticed I seemed kind of testy for on-vacation-guy last week, here's why.

We got to the hotel at 10:30am, so effectively 5:30 EST. Our room wasn't done,so we walked around and waited for my mom's plane to land. We didn't want to get too far from the hotel in case my mom showed up, which she kept not doing, so we started to get kind of worried. Around 1 we decided to just hang out in the lobby and wait for the room. I slept, Natalie walked around some more.

Our room was ready at 3 and we went upstairs. I went to plug in my laptop and stuff and get set up and realized I'd forgotten our power outlet converter, so we took the one from the minibar for the low-low price of £11.50. Plugged my power strip into that, plugged the converter into the wall, and all the electicity fell out all at once. My power strip was on fire and smoke coming from the receptacles. I guess "surge protector" isn't all that accurate, since it didn't just flip. Then we noticed that as we would turn off lights, they stopped coming back on again, so not only did I flip the circuit breaker for the outlet I was using, all the rest of them started popping too.

So we went to the desk and they sent maintenance up. It was right around this point that I noticed the very fine print on the converter that said "this is not a transformer, you still need that".

Also, we found a regular 110v outlet, not located where the UK and Euro ones were, but under the desk, behind the bed. Unfortunately it didn't work. Maintenance came and just reset breakers and got the UK power back, though the 110 didn't work, and stayed not-working the rest of the trip. Luckily both my laptop and camera battery chargers will do 220v, unluckily, Natalie's camera battery charger does not. We were told we could have a knock down transformer for the duration of the stay, but it never showed and the reception desk staff seemed to have all the engineering acumen of a 6 year old blonde girl, so we didn't push the issue.

It was around this time that my mom finally showed up. We knew her flight had been pushed 3 hours, they called her at home before she ewnt to the airport. What we didn't know was that when they finally boarded, they sat at the gate for 7 hours in Charlotte before finally taking off at ~4am EST.

At least her room had partially-working 110 that we could use to charge Natalie's batteries.

Dinner was shitty chain Italian, I had a pretty inexcusable steak, and left my hat, never to be retrieved because I didn't want to go in that building ever again for fear that I might demonstrate to the cook how to make a rare steak. Grab him by the neck, put his face by the grille and say "SO DO YOU WANT TO BE 'RARE'? OR DO YOU WANT TO BE WHAT YOU DID TO MY STEAK"?

Power was a running joke through our stay. Days 2 and 3 we also lost power to the room. There is no way that was all my doing.