Friday, April 22, 2005

In which Nan and Mike arrive in London

Thursday, April 21, 2005 to Friday, April 22, 2005

First things first. We flew Virgin Atlantic into Heathrow, and I can now vouch for this airline’s general excellence. While the plane itself was clean and the food was good, the thing that I liked was the personal video screen for each passenger. You had a choice of about a dozen movies or old school Nintendo video games (like Legend of Zelda, Super Mario All Stars) to pass the time with. We selected Finding Neverland and the Incredibles, and in between and after the movies we played Dr. Mario. Suffice it to say, we didn’t sleep more than a couple of hours and the flight passed very quickly.

We got into Heathrow around 1 pm and caught the Tube to our hotel. After checking into our tiny room, we started out to explore the city. We hadn’t planned anything for the afternoon so we caught the subway to Camden Market, an open air souvenir and t-shirt place. It was a lot like the Thailand markets we’d been to: hundreds of stalls all selling the same t-shirts and purses. There was even a Thai guy out front selling Thai food from a little stand.

Nan’s brother was supposed to fly in from Italy and meet us in the afternoon, so we headed back to the hotel, briefly stopping over at the British Library. Nan had bought a SIM card for her cell phone, so she called him on his cell. Unfortunately, his airline had delayed his flight 10 hours, so that instead of arriving at 3 pm, he was supposed to leave Italy at 10 pm and arrive after midnight.

With that extra time, we were able to go to the Burberry outlet, which is a bit out of the way, but was one of Nan’s main objectives in the trip. There, we found lots of different seconded Burberry products (and lots of Asian tourists looking through them). I’m not a clothes fiend, but I bought a lot more from the visit than Nan did. Sad but true.

Dinner was at a Britishized-Japanese noodle restaurant called Wagamama. I don’t know what that means (they claim it means "selfishness" !?), but it serves stuff like potstickers, ramen, and yakisoba. I had the chicken katsu curry which had coconut in the curry and looked a lot like a South Asian curry. Despite this English take on the Japanese dish, it was oishi.

We walked around Picadilly Circus after dinner. It was a lot like Times Square used to be, complete with the scrolling video board and the numerous adult theaters. Funny, but it reminded me more of Las Vegas because of the ornate statues and the throngs of tourists standing on the sidewalks, taking pictures like me.

So now we're back at the hotel, it's almost 11, and Nan's brother is still somewhere out there flying over Europe. I hope he gets in soon.

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