Had it not been for the Olympics being in town, and that we were hauling three kids around, we would have considered running into London for lunch. But it turned out there was plenty to do in the airport. Scotch is very expensive in Israel, so I picked up a supply at a duty-free shop: Ardbeg Corryvreckan (114 proof: powerful but delicious) and my standby, Laphroaig 10-year. There’s something about buying scotch in pounds sterling…
We packed kosher cup-of-soups for our Heathrow lunch, because you can never get enough sodium when you’re traveling. The trick was to get some hot water. I scored some at a coffee shop. They were really nice, and didn’t even charge us. The
fellow chap did poke fun at my use of “to go” instead of “to take away.” Good show. But the hot water they had was from the espresso machine, so it was incredibly hot. I think the metric system also allows them to get the temp of the water above boiling.
There were a fair number of Olympians going through Heathrow. We were hanging out in a central lounge-ish place with comfy chairs/benches, a TV, charging stations, etc. A group of athletes were sitting near us and graciously agreed to the below photo. They’re wrestlers. For Iran.
Seeing their warmups, and that they were sitting right by us (note Deb in the background), I hemmed and hawed, and finally decided I wasn’t likely to get this chance again. I went up and asked what their sport was. These guys didn’t speak English, but a guy with them did. He told me they were wrestlers and, pointing at the guy to my left (right side of the pic), said “he just won the gold medal… for Iran.” He said the last part in a sort of apologetic tone, like I wouldn’t be too excited about that. But I smiled wide and congratulated him, shook both their hands, and asked if they minded taking a picture with me. They were happy to do it.
It looks like the guy on my left is Ghasem Gholamreza Rezaei. Stereotypically, the gold medal winner was more stoic, though friendly (too friendly? note his hand on my leg!), while the other guy was more effusive. I don’t know who the other guy is, but he looked like a movie star, with perfectly coiffed hair and a brilliant white smile.
Apparently, word of my goodwill photography got out, and some other guy copied my shtick. Dude, taking pictures with Iranian wrestlers is so last Wednesday…
Some of our luck ran out with our bags, as the El Al agent forced us to pay for the three extra ones — though he still did not weigh them, thank G-d. And the boys were very much on edge, Shalom especially. But, all in all, Heathrow was pretty good to us.