Leaving London – so sad… (2008)

I`m really sad to leave London today.  I have had a great time and actually know my way around places – like what way to exit the Tube or which way to turn out when leaving the Tube Station to get to my destination.  Maybe that`s because I have been running around the city seeing it all (or as much as I wanted to), but it`s been fun.

Culture was soaked in many ways:

Museum Culture:

-Tate Britain – everyone told me to skip this museum, but it was nice to take a quick stroll.  (plus then I got to ride the Tate to Tate river boat)

-Tate Modern  – way too many school groups running around, but great modern art.  Plus the view from the 7th floor bar was amazing – right over the river and could see Big Ben, St. Paul’s cathedral and much more.  So I had to have a seat to enjoy it with a Guinness of course.

-National Gallery – saw a lot of the art I studied in college in Art History classes and remembered a lot about it.  I even joined a tour and learned A LOT about Rueben’s painting War and Peace from a docent that was teaching art history teachers.  Amazing how you can talk about a painting for 30 minutes in such detail, but guess Rueben’s left a lot of letters detailing what he was painting about.

-London Museum – got to learn all about the big fire of London in 1666 that last for 5 days and burned down most of the city.  All because a baker didn’t extinguish his oven properly before he went to bed.  Makes you want to check that your fires are out each night.

-St. Martin Church – stumbled onto this after Colin told me about it (and that his name came from here).  I was able to see a great concert in the church – baroque  music.  Nice treat on a Monday afternoon.

People Culture:

-At Benihana oh the people we saw and met:

1.  First, we sit down and the table across from us has a “regular”.  He knows every chef by name, demands “more fire” as they light the biggest bonfire on the table that I’ve ever seen – a few times.  He then demanded our chef do the same thing for him as his chef was done and left.   He was completely drunk and obnoxious.  We did have fun laughing at him (quietly that is)

2. After we ordered our meal , we heard a loud thud and realized someone had fallen walking toward the table.  This girl just ate it and fell so hard on the marble floor.  We felt bad for her and then she sat down at the table next to us.  Now I normally wouldn’t laugh at her misfortune, but we later found out she is a model – so that made it even funnier as she is trained to walk on slick surfaces.  She was very stylish and fun to talk with.

3. The model’s boyfriend, now he’s a Benihana junkie as well.  He and I started to compare all the Benihana’s we’ve been to, what’s different, good, bad and the same.  He really likes the Vegas one (and he’s from Australia, living in London now and has lived all over the world) as he’s an Art Gallery Director.  I don’t know if he or I have been to more as we didn’t count.

4. Then there’s little Valentine across our table.  He’s a 13 year old French boy that is on holiday with his Uncle.  We didn’t talk to them until after dinner and glad we stayed as they were fun and interesting.  He was the first to actually catch a piece of beef tossed to him from the chef  in his mouth.  It was impressive, but I think the hot beef burned the inside of his mouth as he didn’t look like it was fun, but was trying to be brave for the table.  Later his uncle was pressured to catch one too and succeeded.  We later find out the Uncle is super senior executive at Louis Vuitton .

Amber and I at our first International Benihana - we went many times in San Francisco

Amber and I at our first International Benihana – we went many times in San Francisco

All the Benihana's in the world and opening dates

All the Benihana’s in the world and opening dates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

– Amber and Iwent looking to drink more on Saturday night after we finished  at Benihana.  Of course, we had a lot of sake bombs over dinner.  Since it was after 11 and all pubs close, the only places that were still open was in SoHo so off we went.  We saw lots of the SoHo people – of all walks of life.  It was fun to just look at everyone and people watch.  We ended up speaking to two Spanish men who were just looking to keep drinking as well – and invited us to join them at another bar called Pepe’s.  Only problem they couldn’t sell us as they said the bar “was dark, dirty, in the basement without any light, really a dive – but open until 4am.”  Amber I decided it was better to leave when the bar closed at 1.  Unfortunately, Amber was awake most of the night as she had two Red Bull vodka’s so that hurt her sleep.

– I went to so many parks here (Green, Hyde, St. James, Regent’s to name a few).  The people I saw were very entertaining.  The usual amount of people watching occurred, but the parks here have a lot more diversity of people than in New York.

Entertainment Culture:

-Finally saw “Jersey Boys” – it’s been sold out forever in New York, but not too popular in London as no one really knew the Four Season here.  Great to get a last minute ticket for a great seat.  Most of the audience were gray haired – but I didn’t care as the music was fun and a very entertaining afternoon.

-Met Colin’s friends Tom and Rachel (and their friends Troy and Trudy) for a quiz night at a pub.  It ended up being a ton of fun, even though we didn’t do too well on the quiz (took last place).  I couldn’t really help much as it was mostly UK knowledge.  Every once and a while there were US based questions, so I got most of those to help the team.  There were some die hard quizzers there (that after they won, took their prize money and left – party poopers) and everyone else stayed to drink more.  At least the waitress said we were the best drinking table, so we are winners!  We closed down this bar (I tend to do that with whomever I’m drinking with).  I think we have closed down a pub almost every night I’ve been here.

Rachel and Tom were great hosts in London

Rachel and Tom were great hosts in London

Rachel, Tom and their friends at a British trivia night

Rachel, Tom and their friends at a British trivia night

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

– Tom and Rachel are so sweet and stayed with me until Amber left work to meet me.  Amber had to work a lot since I’ve been here as she’s in charge of a huge event in 4 days.  She made plenty of time for me at night to eat and drink.  She fells bad leaving me so late as she is still working, but I tell  her I’m happy at the pub with my new friends and to join us when she’s done with work for the night.  Keep in mind, the pub closed at 11 and Amber’s still at work.  So Tom and Rachel and I go out and hunt for an open pub and walk for about 10 minutes till we find one.  So we have 4 cocktails in an hour and a half and Amber joins us a little after 1am.  I don’t know how she does it as we were then up till 3:30 at her apartment and she was out to work at the crack of dawn.  Amber’s a trooper!  I wonder how Tom and Rachel are doing (as I’m tired myself this morning and I didn’t have to get up until 8:30 and all I have to do is get to the train station).

Amber and Richard were amazing hosts for the past 7 days.  I couldn’t have asked for a better place to start my trip.   Thank you again for having me – I GREATLY APPRECIATE it!

Anyways – I better go as I have to pack up my bag, tidy up and get ready to leave Scotland.  I have a 5 hour train ride to Scotland ahead of me now.

Here’s a link to all the London Photos:

http://www1.snapfish.com/thumbnailshare/AlbumID=225804505/a=13210121/t_=13210121

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