28 February 2010
Woke up at 7:15 after sleeping like a rock all night. Checked out from the London Marriott Hotel Kensington. I emerged in London rain, pouring rain and 4 degrees C.
We drove to Harrods Department Store, which doesn't open until 11, at least 90 minutes after we got there. You can park for free in London on the weekend, and we got a choice spot right next to Harrods on a side road. We walked around and found a patisserie called Paul for breakfast. I had the French equivalent of the Guglhupf Brezel roll with ham and cheese, an almond croissant, and a cappuccino. It was awesome and authentic. I think the people working there were French, as were most of the people eating there. That's a very good sign, and a recurring theme here.
From there we walked to the Knightsbridge train station, but it was closed, so we walked to the Hyde Park Corner station, and took the Picadilly Line train (via another 1-day unlimited zone 1-2 pass) to the Picadilly Circus, which is strikingly similar to Times Square, but on a smaller scale.
We went to a sporting goods store called Lillywhites where I bought another shirt and a big golf umbrella for a grand total of £6. Since I now had an umbrella, which I suspect may be magical, it stopped raining. Haven't opened my umbrella yet. I wonder if there's a unicorn hair in the shaft.
Took the Picadilly line to the Covent Garden station and the London Transport Museum.
There was a great old covered marketplace there as well as the museum which was a good deal at £8 (much better than the £17 I would've spent at the Tower of London).
From there we took the tube back to near Harrods,
and ate late lunch at a Lebanese place called Al Araz, on Brompton Street right across from Harrods. Once again, the same deal with the Lebanese workers and customers. Tom and I both got the mixed shawarma plate, some allegedly spicy hummus, a couple of pastries, and I got some yogurt drink with dried mint. That part was just OK, but the rest was excellent and a lot of food. Total for that meal (for me) was £12.50.
By now Harrods was open, so we went in. OMG! I've never seen a £75,000 watch before, nor a 3-foot tall, £795 chocolate Easter egg. It was overwhelming, and I couldn't imagine buying pretty much anything there. It was like Willy Wonka opened his own mall.
We took the surprisingly convoluted and nerve-wracking drive to Ware in our rental car, checked in to the Hanbury Manor (more on that tomorrow or later) and met the other four (Bill and Terry from JCI, Linda and Nellie from GSK) in the "library" which was all Harry Potter looking for some extremely overpriced drinks (£12 for a cocktail). I don't see myself eating or drinking in the hotel any more than absolutely necessary.
So that's about it. I'm working on pictures, washing a bunch of clothes in the sink, and trying to get to bed at a decent hour, but since it's now 23:30 and I have to finish washing one pair of pants and a shirt yet, that probably won't happen. I do have to work tomorrow after all, since that is the real reason I'm here, so I should go to bed.
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