Friday, April 8, 2011

Bus Tour

About a week before we moved, Josh and I both came down with nasty colds.  I was still feeling pretty miserable on the flight to London, and when we landed the pressure built up in my head to the point that my ears ached.  The pain eventually went away, but my ears have been blocked ever since, which has not only been uncomfortable but has affected my hearing.  I tried taking decongestants for several days, but that didn't help, so I eventually turned to the Internet for advice.

Yesterday morning I alternated between inverted yoga poses and holding glasses with hot-water-soaked paper towels over my ears.  The result: I felt ridiculous, but no relief.  This morning I tried calling the National Health Service hotline to see if they could help me out.  I spoke to a nice lady who asked me a bunch of questions and then told me someone would call me back within 2 hours.  Half an hour later, another nice lady called, asked me the same questions all over again, and then advised me to go to a walk-in clinic in Tooting, a little over 2 miles away.  Now, I walked about 5 miles on Monday and had a lovely time, but I was not quite as keen to walk to a health clinic, even if it was a walk-in clinic.  Fortunately, I had just bought some new iPhone apps to help me find my way around, so I put London Travel Deluxe to the test, and it informed me that I could catch a bus a couple blocks away that would take me right to their door.

I headed out after lunch, and apart from having to wait longer for the bus than anticipated, I reached the clinic without any trouble.  It is affiliated with St. George's Hospital in Tooting, which looked quite impressive:
But the clinic turned out to be in a nondescript building across the street.  After filling out the requisite clipboard form and waiting nearly an hour, I was finally called in to see a nurse.  After asking many of the same questions the first two nice ladies asked and peeking inside my ears, she told me what I already knew -- the my ears were filled with fluid as a result of flying with a cold.  She said there was nothing they could do for me, and suggested I try inhaling steam laced with something called Olbas Oil.  That seemed very 1950, but I promised to stop at the chemists (drugstore) on the way home and pick some up.  I gave it a try this evening, and it was like inhaling wasabi.  It cleared my nasal passages out, but my ears are still blocked.  Tomorrow's shopping list: heating pad, Neti pot, isopropyl alcohol.  I'm just going to throw everything I can think of at the problem and see what happens.

It was another beautiful spring day, so I took a few photos on my way back to the bus stop.  The tulips and daffodils are all in bloom, as are the trees.  The massive Lambeth Cemetery across the street (which dates back to 1854) was a riot of color.

Daffodils at the entrance to St George's Hospital
Lambeth Cemetery
Lambeth Cemetery
As I headed back to Wimbledon on the bus, I noticed that the route terminated in Richmond, which is a lovely area that we hoped to explore this weekend.  I decided to stay on the bus and see how long it took to get there, since it seemed more direct than going by tube -- and I could scope out any interesting sights along the way.  The decision was solidified by a gaggle of tweenage schoolgirls that packed the bus to the point that I could not have disembarked in Wimbledon anyway.

An hour and a half later, when the bus finally reached Richmond, I decided the tube would probably be the better choice.  At least there was a giant Sainsbury's at the end of the line, so I went in and picked up some Olbas Oil before heading back to Wimbledon.  The one highlight of the bus trip was going right past the famed Wimbledon tennis stadium, which I had never seen before (except on TV).  At least I now know the easiest way to get there if anyone wants to check it out when they come visit...

After Josh got home, we decided to enjoy the nice weather a little more and go out to eat.  We ended up at Nando's, which might look familiar to some of you -- especially if you work in the Discovery building.
I was surprised to see this restaurant in the UK, because one just opened up across the street from Discovery in Silver Spring, MD last year, and I assumed it was a local chain.  Well, there are HUNDREDS of Nando's in the UK -- it's as ubiquitous as Starbucks or McDonald's.  There's one on the main street of every part of London, and I saw several out in the country when we were in Hampshire/Surrey in December.  Apparently it is based in South Africa, and can be found in 30 different countries, but the 3 restaurants in the US are all in the DC area.  I'd eaten at the Nando's in Silver Spring a few times, but Josh had never been to one.  We both enjoyed our dinners, and Josh was especially impressed with the free refills on soft drinks (unheard of in the UK!), so I imagine we'll be back. 

Nando's is right across the street from our local playhouse, the New Wimbledon Theatre.  While it's not quite the West End, we are looking forward to being able to walk to dinner and a show.
Now it's well past bedtime, so I'd best sign off.  At least with my plugged-up ears, the train noise doesn't bother me as much...


  1. I hope you're feeling better soon, Naina! I actually came down with a second cold the week after you left, and my ears got really clogged, too, although I didn't have the added difficulty of having to fly. Hang in there, and I hope the Olbas Oil does the trick!

  2. And, if you look at this blog entry of mine, I think you'll notice that we have the same daffodils here and there! :-)


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