Monday, July 18, 2011

woke up in london yesterday

Everyone showed up just fine today, so you can breathe easy. I certainly did. I always spend the first half of day one anxiously watching my phone and craning my ear to the window for any sound of luggage rolling and thumping down Manson Place. I check murder reports and kidnapping files. I eagerly rotate through airline websites for any news of disappearing planes. But there was no need for that. Everyone showed up at various levels of grogginess, and they settled into Flat 15 with relative ease. Once everyone had unpacked we trekked around the corner to the fancy new Waitrose grocery store, which now eliminates the need for that crappy old Tescos with their gross sandwiches and their outdated credit card machines. We've moved on, Old Brompton Road Tesco!!! We ate our lunch on the steps of Flat 15, and at one point Zoe confessed her feelings for Casey just as he emerged from the front door.

Today is twofold: get to know your hood, and stay awake. Both involve walking. It wasn't long into our walk that the drizzle hit. We ducked into many doorways and stoops, but eventually crawled our way through South Kensington. Past the museums, past the LDS church, through Hyde Park, on the #9 bus to the High Street, and onto the tube to Gloucester Road. With a less enthusiastic and peppy group a little drizzle might be a challenge, but this group seems determined to enjoy everything, including their umbrellas. And the drizzle comes and goes, so it's not too bad. At least Hyde Park is bright green this year and the flowers are incredible. This is why.

We broke for lunch and I had a traumatic dinner experience at Cafe Nero. I went in to get a quick panini, and I grabbed a ham and cheddar. It took a while to grill up, but i didn't mind because it's always worth it. Unless you accidentally grab a fish sandwich instead! Which is what I did. Which is what I basically choked down. I know it seems ungrateful when so many people are starving, etc. But seriously. Fish sandwiches? So gross. I got past it. It was my mistake.

We reconvened as a group and walked through downtown London, and everyone came with their second wind. The light rain had made the Millenium Bridge slippery, which the group took nice advantage of.

Sadly, we found a dead pigeon near St. Paul's.

But on a lighter note, Daniel rescued a dying pigeon near the Tate! It's the circle of life.

We took a little break at the Founder's Arms pub and had hot chocolate, and then we moved on down the river. The river walk was fairly quiet tonight, which made our walk even better. We could spread out a little, stop for pictures, and there was no competition for the giant green furniture at the National. Trafalgar Square was similarly empty, which is really a nice surprise. That place is usually a madhouse. So we had a really pleasant walkthrough. We stopped at the haunted spot in St. James park and you better believe I pulled out my Android ghost tracking app! We huddled under a tree and communicated with a ghost called "Fred" who didn't have much else to say. I bet you think I'm kidding about all this.

And then I realized I had done my job. I kept them awake. They were joking and having fun. But most importantly they were alive and in the most amazing city in the world. We came home and everybody crashed. I assume. I didn't see it. They are probably all still awake over there, chatting on facebook and eating gummi worms.