Day 1 of the Prince of Wales Building Crafts Apprenticeship Program for the Built Environment trip to London. Mouthful, eh? 18 students from New Orleans arrived today in London for a 9 day tour of the UK. We’ve spent the last 5 months working our particular trades: Millwork, Rough Carpentry, Plaster, Masonry,and Ironwork, awaiting the moment we would come to England and graduate. Many of the apprentices have never been out of the country before, and a few never out of Louisiana and quite a few who have never flown. Needless to say, there was quite a bit of excitement as we shuffled our way through airports in New Orleans, Houston and London. One guy didn’t show at all in New Orleans, but managed to catch up with us in Houston at the last minute, while two others actually left the airport to grab a smoke and barely made it back in time for the London flight. Another apprentice only brought 2 carry-ons while others looked like they were packing for a permanent move. We caused quite a stir everywhere we went, and I was asked five times by curious flight attendants ans passengers who we were, one person even venturing to guess that we must be a dance troupe. The flight to Heathrow was half empty, though sleep was still hard to wrestle, and we were greeted by Edith and Fran from the Foundation who helped us negotiate the tube and get to our hostels. People have spent their first day in London in different ways, a few went out and rented scooters while others hunted cuban cigars. I opted for a nap, knowing how hard the jet lag can hit. Now, as I finish up dinner, I’m ready for a pint and will see if anyone else has the stamina to join. Tomorrow our lectures and tours begin at 9 sharp, and the adventure in England will continue.