October 12, 2013

FHTE Day 1: London Town High and sleep won't come

The following is my first post of several documenting my experiences here in London, England as I assist in the effort to make all military content and references in From Here to Eternity: The Musical accurate and authentic.

I don't know which was more exciting, arriving in London in the middle of the night to begin seeing previews of the From Here To Eternity musical previews before the show is locked, and it begins a run that I'm hopeful hat takes it to Broadway and a great run for a long time to come or that the St. Louis Cardinals won an exciting game in 13 innings of the first game of the National League Playoffs and are on their way to to what I'm hopeful is another NLP win and a World Series title. I can't imagine it getting any better than that. I'm pumped.
Getting to London in the middle of the night isn't the best of times. Or so I thought after I learned that the Admiral's Club, for which I had a one-day pass, and planned to stay until the trains started running from Heathrow to London in the morning when I could check into the hotel. At 60 or 70 pounds, a cab was out. And a hotel 10-15 minutes from the airport was 165 pounds and two 10-15 pound cab rides. So I joined a number of other weary travelers in a lounge to sleep in chairs. Or try to sleep. I don't think I slept more than 20 minutes. A lanky man about my age — not quite older than dirt — with somewhat long white hair and  beard came in right behind me and took seats over in the next row and started snoring right away. He told me later that he had ear plugs. But his snoring and the clean-up crew mopping under my chairs and a vehicle of some kind running up and down the area kept me awake.
Both of us sat up about the same time and started talking. He was a communications guy in the Navy, a wounded Vietnam veteran who spent 30 years lawyering in North Carolina and walked away to do what he wanted to do. He'd come from Paris where he left his wife and was on his way to Brooks River, Alaska, for the second year in a row, where he expected to spend the winter again.
"I hope to get there by Tuesday," he said. "From her to Philly to Raleigh, where a friend will bring me some clothes for Alaska, and I'll give him this suitcase, take the one he has and go on to Seattle and Juneau and out to Brooks River, hopefully before the river freezes over."
I don't recall the purpose of spending the winter there, except watching the bears. It was just something he wanted to do, for one thing. He said there are four cameras to watch them and asked me to google Brooks River Bears and click on Explore. Which I did. Quite interesting. Big bears doing their thing. We talked until people started filling the area. Shops opened up. He went for cigarettes; I went for breakfast and then for the underground train and met a woman who lives in Australia. We talked about books, shows, Australia and whatever all the way to Holborn Station where we got off and went our separate ways. She was meeting her daughter who was studying in London and was going to see a show she'd said earlier. That's when the From Here To Eternity musical came up, and we started looking for poster for the show. Didn't see a one until we came up from underground and at the top of the escalator where we came upon a huge one at the end of a long string of smaller ones advertising shows. Both of us got a photo.
"We'll have to see that show," she said, extending her hand later.
Me too. I'm off to the 2:30 p.m. show. May see the 7:30 p.m. one as well. And I'll try to tell you about the show later. May have to sleep first, though. 
Until then, take a look at Friday's Wall Street Journal that has a piece in the Arena section on the musical and do remember that I'm coming back with a tour Feb. 24 - March 4. Still time to sign up for the ACIS "Showtime" tour by Nov. 1 at http://www.acis.com/tripsite/?key=RFJjUDVxSFMzOHpYQnBPYWZaTT0%3D.

See you later from London,

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