About an hour to go before I board my next transatlantic flight to Chicago. Back in the London LHR British Airways lounge, which looks to be my home base for another 16 hours over the next two weeks as I transit through LHR a couple more times. Oneworld lounge access on international travel is the most immediate benefit of my recent AAdvantage Platinum elite status.
I had forgotten how nice it is to be in airport lounges during layovers when traveling internationally. Over the past 25 years of travel, I probably have had airport lounge access for around 10 of those years through elite status or when flying on Business and First awards. In the past eight years, I have only had lounge access in 2013 with AAdvanteage Platinum elite and I only took one international trip that year.
The LHR British Airways lounge had a couple of hot Indian food dishes at lunch time and that beats the cold Indian food meal I bought at Sainsbury’s the other night on my overnight layover in Londomn.
Food in London is a bargain compared to Norway
London Sainsbury grocery store dinner: Chicken tikka masala (£1.80), baguette (£0.40); salad (£1.00); sliced chicken (£0.70).
This was a $6.00 dinner I purchased at Sainsbury’s and that food carried me through 24 hours until I reached Clarion Collection Hotel Arcticus in Harstad, Norway the next evening. The orange was lifted from the SFO British Airways lounge. I picked up a nice 0.5 L bottle of Pilsner Urquell earlier in the evening from a gas station across the street from Battersea Park for £1.82. Funny thing about that beer is it was the lowest priced bottle of beer in the store, yet I never had a Pilsner Urquell in my five days in Czech Republic earlier this month since it was the most expensive Czech beer I saw in that country.
Last night I needed some food at Oslo Airport and shelled out $6 for a slice of pizza. That was $4 less than the cost for a slice of pizza at Norway’s EVE Evenes Harstad/Narvik Airport. I could not in good conscience pay $10 for one slice of pizza. My hunger in Oslo made eating imperative. A hamburger at Evenes Airport was around $22.
That is the reason I am such a huge fan of Clarion Collection Nordic Choice Hotels in Scandinavia. They feed you dinner as part of the hotel rate.
Where’s the bottled beer British Airways?
Since my visit last week to the LHR Terminal 5 British Airways lounge was in the morning, I was not looking at alcohol. I count eight different bottles of wine here in the lounge and there are bottles of all the distilled liquors around. I find wine way too dehydrating for plane travel and I rarely drink distilled liquor.
I like a good bottle of cold beer. After working my way through 18 canned beers in Norway, affordable since they were purchased at duty free, I was ready for a nice tap beer, or at least a bottle of beer here in the BA lounge. They only have cans of beer in this lounge.
Heineken, Tiger, and London Pride.
I am working on the London Pride, which seems most appropriate for the location. I don’t think I will ever drink the French beer Kronenbourg 1664 again after 12 cans of that in Norway. Being in a can was bad enough, but I did not realize the French beer also has added fructose syrup. I had a sore throat in Harstad and I don’t know if that was due to an infection, an allergy or the canned French beer? Feeling much better now in London.
I’ll be back in California in another 15 hours. When I flew home two weeks ago there had been a heat wave and it was 80 degrees on the drive home through San Jose at 3am in the morning. That is quite atypical for the area of California where I live. It cooled down in Monterey the day I got home. My wife was angry at me for not being home during the heatwave, as if the weather were in my power to control, or she would have suffered from the heat less in my presence.
Yesterday was 92 in Monterey, California. That is a temperature we hit one or two days per year, if at all, in most years. Kelley will probably be mad again that our house heated up during my absence as I was chilling in Arctic Norway. We typically only hit the 80s in Monterey around 5 days per year and those 80 degrees days can happen any month of the year, even January.
Global warming is real. Monterey is heating up to hotter temperatures more frequently than it has been in our lifetimes.
At least I still saw some glaciers in Norway. A couple more decades and Norway might even be ice free in its interior during the summer.
Time to go back to the USA. Chicago is calling.