Sunday, September 6, 2009

Jet lag is easy if you don't have to be anywhere...

View from the Tower of London Bridge

Hanging out in the drawing room of The Dukes

St. Paul's Cathedral

A little skyline. The pointy bullet building is the Gherkin

The back of Buckingham Palace from the garden

Today we got started a bit late. Neither one of us woke up until around noon, so by the time we had finished our tour of the Buckingham Palace state rooms, we had only a little bit of time before the stores closed.

Edith has become obsessed with the Liberty signature soaps, so we had to go back and snag a few more bars of it. I don't know how we're getting it home considering that on the way here her bags were already prohibitively over the weight allowance. Going to have to get some more luggage I guess.

We had wanted to do a river tour on the Thames, but by the time we got to the dock area, they had shuttered for the night. Instead, our cab driver took us around and showed us some important buildings--the building they call the gherkin due to it's pickle shape, a government office they call the glass testicle, the Tower of London, St. Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Abby, Parliament, and a few others. This was excellent, one we didn't have to walk and two I didn't have to pretend I actually cared and could just admire the window boxes (like the ones that have little topiary bushes the best. Geranium plantings a close second).

I think it's time to head out. The staff at the hotel have started asking us what our room number is with an intonation that suggests they are putting a black mark next to it on some "spit in their tea" ledger.

Oh! And speaking of tea, we had afternoon tea/coffee/ice cream in the hotel drawing room and a group of ladies with southern accents were gabbing in one of the alcoves. They were snapping pictures and I offered to take on of their group. When I asked them where they were from, they said Lubbock. The story continues in a really boring way so the gist of it is that not only did Edith live in Lubbock, but apparently Edith and the ladies all knew the same people and we're all going on the same trip. Only Edith and I can travel all the way to London and not meet anyone British.

The real point of the trip, the cruise, will start tomorrow. We leave for Southampton in a hired car at 11 a.m. and it apparently takes about two hours to get there. I'm not sure what the wi-fi situation will be on the boat, so if you don't see any more posts from me, it means the situation is expensive!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

What time is it?

Dukes Hotel

The London Eye or "The Big Wheel" as the cabbie called it.

Big Ben as seen from the London Eye

No. 6 Chester Street revisited.

I have no idea what time it is here or anywhere else. Generally, this isn't a problem except, well, Edith keeps asking me what time it is.

So ... Live from London! It's us!

Here's the tally for the trip so far:
1. American Airlines employees abused- 2
2. Seats that were supposed to be empty on the flight that were instead filled by a lady who decided she wanted to sit there instead of her booked seat and totally bummed me out (who also happened to look like a mole or some other dark dwelling, fairly sightless creature - 1
3. Number of Ambien pills taken to ignore mole-like lady's elbows - 1/2
4. Number of times I lost Edith in Harrod's-2
5. Bars of soap purchased for Edith Compadres that she is now not giving to them because the soap is too good for them-6
6. Amount of English speakers in London Eye capsule-2
7. Times I've asked an 85-year-old woman if she has her teeth (can I just say that there is something very amusing to me about a glass of teeth soaking on a gorgeous marble vanity?)- so far, only had to check twice

So far, so good. The Dukes is a lovely hotel nestled secretively in the Picadilly area of London (we've walked right by it twice. It's really hidden and none of the local shop girls know where it is, even if they are working right across the street). Edith's walking tolerance is limited so we've taken a lot of cabs today and one guy swung us by the millions-of-dollar townhouse I stayed in when I was younger with my mom and aunt years ago.

The weather has been wonderful today and I was able to wear semi-fall clothes, which considering the first time I'll get to even come close to that in Tucson is November, I was pretty excited.

My favorite place in London is now Liberty of London on Regent. They wouldn't let me take pictures inside, but seriously, Shaleah, Anthro has nothing on Liberty.

Tomorrow we do Buckingham Palace and possibly a Thames sight-seeing cruise. Also might need to go back to Liberty...

Monday we get on the ship!