Friday, November 27, 2009

Cheerio, Chaps!

I'm pleased to report that a) it's been sunny in London (doh! I probably just jinxed us!) and b) we've really had a blast in the past two and a half days.

We arrived on Wednesday morning. It's chilly, but not nearly as cold as it was last year. Or maybe I'm a lot less cold because I brought my super-warm wool coat this year! We hung out in the apartment for a bit, and then Bryan and I went out to find some lunch. Then it was naptime.

Wednesday is also the customary trip to TESCO to stock up on groceries. We stopped at a pub for dinner - had to have fish 'n' chips! - and then went shopping. Prices seem reasonable when you look at the number in pounds sterling... then you do the math and realize that it's $1.65 to the pound. (Which is actually better than it used to be!) Mostly we need breakfast food.

Thanksgiving Thursday, Mom, Dad and I went to the antiques market at Spittalfields. Many of the people in the shops wished us a Happy Thanksgiving. We wished them a happy Thursday. :) There's also a craft market, and some other cute shops. This is the place where I saw the cool giraffe bag last year, and didn't buy it. I wasn't going to make that mistake again! I got some nice jewelry from one of the artisans - a ring, and a matching blown glass pendant and earrings. We tried the Greek place for lunch, for kebabs, salads, feta cheese. It was more like tapas - small plates, for too much money. No wonder it wasn't very crowded!

From there we met Bryan at Gray's Antiques, where dad likes to shop for watches. [and I finally remembered to get a new SIM card for my phone, so I have a UK number now. ] We didn't stay long... the kid and I wandered down Bond street shopping, but we were so exhausted that we headed back to the apartment pretty quickly.

We had planned to go to Five 25 for Thanksgiving dinner, but when we got there, the menu seemed really simple and pub-like, so we opted for Noor Jahan Indian food instead. (My family does Indian food for Xmas, why shouldn't we have it for Thanksgiving?) :) It was lovely. That's one of the restaurants we have come to every year since 2001 - sometimes multiple times in the same trip.

Today was probably one of the best London days I've ever had. As an early Chanuka present, Dad splurged and got me and Bryan tickets to the ATP Tennis World Tour Finals at the O2 arena. Oh. My. Gawd. First off, the arena is really neat. It's that white bubble with the yellow poles sticking out that you see in lots of images of London now - it appeared in the last (Pierce Brosnan) James Bond movie. Inside, there's an inner layer that holds the arena, and an outer layer surrounding it, where there are a dozen restaurants, a music museum, and even a mini amusement park. Also on the outer layer is the practice court for the tournament. We got there just in time to watch Novak Djokovic warming up with his coach, Todd Martin. *sigh* Novak is one of my favorites.

My other favorite is Rafael Nadal. And guess who Novak was warming up to play? :D The opening match was doubles - Max Myrni and Andy Ram against Leander Paes and Lukas Dlouhy. Apparently my brother has now seen Leander Paes play in four different cities.

Oh wait, I forgot to mention our seats. We had FRONT ROW SEATS. In the center - right behind the umpire's chair. Wow. Just... wow. I'll post some pics soon; we were 15 feet from Nadal! Bryan got Djokovic's autograph as the players were leaving. And it was some of the most amazing tennis I've ever seen.

From there, we had to rush over to Westminster to meet the 'rents for a tour of Parliament. One of the guys who grew up at APIC shows now works for the Conservative party over here. He's been here for about a year. He took us inside Parliament, to the House of Lords, under Big Ben, and almost into the House of Commons (the guard wouldn't let us go past the doorway.) Then we went down to one of the eight (or more?) pubs inside the Parliament grounds for a pint. Unfortunately, as it was Friday night at 6pm, all of the other young staffers had the same idea. It was packed! We had our one beer and got out of there.

On the move again, Bryan and I had tickets to The 39 Steps, so we had to head for Picadilly. I saw it in New York when we were there for Robin's birthday, but the kid hadn't seen it. It was hilarious (again). Bryan laughed out loud.

YAWN. That's two and a half very full days, which will be followed by two more full days, and then a full day flying to get home. Time to get some rest! Tomorrow: Portobello Road.

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