The Last Few Days of Comfort...
The adventure started for all of us before we left for London
That would be Buckingham Palace. The queen is in.
a bit long update.. I’ll try to make more frequent updates…when possible..also from this point on all photos are our own..minus gifs...mainly because the internet is gonna be crazy spotty.
Patrick: His mission was to fly from Switzerland with all of the wonderful Elevate gear, meet Hamish (our beloved seller of the yakmobile) to pick up the car in Petersbourgh (far-ish from London), learn to drive on the left hand side of the road, find a place to camp, pick up Josiah and me, whom he’s never met in person before, and dance the night away. A whirlwind of car parts and supplies to buy and people to meet… solo.
Josiah: Being a good son drove 14 hours from Austin, TX to Greenville, NC to see his family and to get pointers from his dad about car mechanics. Then drive to Atlanta to start his 30+ hour journey to London. With the bonus of two SEVEN hour layovers in Toronto, Canada and Reykjavik, Iceland all to save ~$100… I guess quitting your job drives you to do some uncomfortable things.
Jon: Well my adventure was mainly full of unnecessary redonkulous trips to the dentist. Essentially instead of cleaning and packing my room, at 10 am the morning (my flight out of LAX was at 7pm), I went got a root canal with a temporary filling at with a root canal specialist , had a mad scramble to get a permanent filling at my normal denist at 230, rushed home to pack the rest of my clothes and organize a bit (Sorry Ian and Paul for the mess I left, I love you guys :D), then left promptly to the airport with half of my face still numb to get there by 4pm. Also all with without a car, Lyft, Brent, Paul, Ian and Trix, Thank you! Also coming into London, the customs agent grilled me about when I was leaving the UK, wanting proof that I was leaving the UK on the Dover ferry. It’s not like I want to stay in the UK, I’m well aware of the 90 day visa restrictions as a frequent traveller…
But we all made it to London safely. The past few days have been an absolute godsend. Our gracious hostesses (← not sure if thats a word), Steph and her mother are absolutely the most amazing people in London right now! Josiah and I went to school with Steph back in the day at Faith Academy in the Philippines. Its been amazing connecting back and experiences the nuances of London life.
Things like satnav (GPS), pudding (dessert..ALL desserts), the tube (subway system), pubs (bars), WC — wash closet (bathroom/restroom) its chucking outside (its raining), rubbish (bad), and a bunch of other brilliant & posh saying. Also… MIND THE GAP…
So anyways, yesterday we took the tube into London. We started with an English breakfast (sausage, egg, black pudding, beans, bacon and B&B aka break and butter, tea) from Cafe Hill, which is right next to the Northwood Hills tube station. Although there was a bit of hesitancy around the black pudding, which is essentially congealed pigs blood pan-seared, it really didn’t have much flavor, maybe I’ll have to try it again at a more posh place, but the bacon or beans were much more flavorful. The bacon is almost like a ham cut, but was definitely my favorite out of the bunch, I mean who doesn’t like bacon. B&B is exactly what it sounds like, sliced white bread not toasted with butter. Regardless of what you eat before trekking around London, I would definitely recommend a hearty breakfast to fuel the miles one would inevitably walk to see all the wonders.
So we took the tube from Northwood to Baker Street (The Sherlock Holmes Baker street) transferred to the Bakerloo line and took it to Charling Cross. Upon exiting the tube, we popped out inside Trafalgar square. Full of tourist taking pictures and selfie sticks EVERYWHERE!!! A clear sign of tourists also assurances that you are in the most expensive place in town.
Anyways, Josiah must just have one of those friendly faces, because everyone wanted to give them their iPhones, iPads or cameras to take the quintessential tourist picture for them. Strange, I know… we also saw a few tourist traps.. a man stops a lady and asks for “help” to hold a string for them while he quickly braids together a bracelet, then asks for a “donation” after.
London, London the people you gather in your city are always full of surprises… So from the square we walked to Buckingham Palace saw the back end of the changing of the guards (nothing too impressive) through that park that is in front of the palace, St. James Park. The one where they hired a full-time groundskeeper because of this fiasco.
Note to New York or anyone with pigeon problems, get a pelican, they are BA. Also maybe feed your birds so they don’t too hungry.
Onwards to the Horse Guards, their resting faces exhibited general discomfort and anger.. maybe the horse’s smelled. We then walked to Parliment and Westminster Abbey. It was here that I got stopped by a rather large gypsy lady with what I assumed were meant to be flowers, but just looked like a tiny bundle of sticks and weeds crudely wrapped with foil. She attempted to place the “flowers” into my front pocket of my shirt, but Josiah knowing what was happening denied her with a karate slap and a prompt, “NO THANK YOU.” She was a bit taken back and yelled as we walked away,
“Humph… Is that your boyfriend?”
I get that people need to make money.. but maybe in a less in your face exploitation of the human wallet. Also maybe with a smile and a friendly, “How do you do” Just a thought..
We traversed around Parliament and when to this awesome playground behind Parliament. They have a musical 3x3 square where it essentially looks like you are playing DDR, and a… what I assumed to be a British merry go round. It was strange, flush to the ground, main of textured metal and just spun in a circle. We prolly spend 20 minutes playing on that thing. A definite MUST SEE in London. :P
After we embraced our inner child, our “grown up” brains told us to walk down the Thames river to the London Eye (the big bubbly ferris wheel) sponsored by Coke… then we proceeded to walk away from the self sticks and came upon a quaint fish and chips joint, the waitress was this old petite lady wearing a bonnet and thick pointy glasses… A cross between a classic librarian, diner waitress and your grandma. She was sharp. She marked us as tourist even before our American accents gave our order. She noted our fancy camera.. .also maybe the fact that we were eating fish and chips at 250 in the afternoon…
The rest of the tourist journey was traversing towards the Tower Bridge. At St. Paul’s cathedral, Josiah was stopped by a African man to have Josiah take his photo in front of the cathedral with his iPad for more tourist photos whilst Patrick and I laughed at Josiah. The cathedral is ginormous so an iPad really can’t capture the whole cathedral, bring your widest, most fisheye-esk lens. We also found this cool alleyway and did this…
After a long trekking day, we trekked some more… just 30 more minutes to meet Steph at her work, so she could show us to a proper British pub! We sat around a barrel on stools reminiscing of old Faith Academy friends while Patrick politely listened on. Then back onto the tube to Baker St, where Josiah had a wee bit of trouble trying to find a postcard. He “says” he went to one place that had exactly what he wanted but it was closed, but lo and behold next door had some cool postcards, but then his little eye caught another store. So he goes there but the cards were too expensive.. 80pence..so he goes back to the original store but in that time the store closed for the day.. so he had to begrudgingly go back to the expensive store.. But lesson learned… a bird in hand is worth two in the bush… I don’t know why it was so difficult for him.
We then came back to Steph’s lovely abode for some slow cooked pork adobe we put in the slow cooker before we left… note to self: less soy sauce when you slow cook things… 1:1 soy sauce to vinegar ratio doesn’t apply here, also take off lid to simmer and thicken the sauce… tasty nonetheless though… :D
Marshal comes in today so we shall see what adventures he has in store for us. From what I heard… TSA doesn’t like drones… “OKAY OKAY whoever spybot this is..come with me to the dark corners of the airport..