Wednesday, November 28, 2007

From London

Here I am in London. Most of my photos are bad so far -- from a moving car or plane or taken at night and blurry -- but I'll put a few on anyways. I miss everyone but have wonderful memories of Thanksgiving and of the crazily cluttered advent Sunday visiting the Episcipal church, Grandma, Todd, and cutting and decorating the tree. Then kids up half the night sharing last moments together before scattering to their next destinations.

I took the overnight flight on British Air from Chicago to London in Business Class. I forgot I was in O'Hare by the time I left. In the BA Lounge they serve all the food and drinks that you want in a quiet, roomy, comfortable atmosphere. And the same treatment is repeated on the plane in seats that recline into mini beds.

London looks exactly like it is supposed to look. Near Heathrow, tight rows of houses alternate with horse pastures and soccer fields (still green). The houses all look suitably old and European (what are those styles - Tudor? modernized cottage?). The sky is continually overcast except for the sun peaking out a few minutes at a time, with an occasional light drizzle.

The actual city is composed of crowded streets running all directions, with signs that tell you everything but the name of the street. Cute black taxis, red double-decker buses, cars, trucks, with motorbikes and bicycles dodging forward in the few inches between the crawling lanes of traffic. Mostly old, dignified buildings with truly ugly modern architecture thrown in higglety-pigglety (who would build a glass building shaped like an egg on its end?). A man with a top-hat and tails (but not a tux) stands in front of the Savoy to welcome you.

I definitely expect Richard Jury or Peter Whimsey on the street in front of Harrods or at Charing Cross (didn't find 84 Charing Cross Road) or Trafalgar Square.

Canary wharf is on the East side of London. It is all new buildings where 50 years ago there

Canary wharf is on the East side of London. It is all new buildings where 50 years ago there were old docks, with burly, sweating men unloading boats into dilapidated warehouses (at least that is how I imagine it). Now it is a little Wall Street, crowded with Morgan Stanley, UBS, Merrill Lynch, and so forth.

Everything is ridiculously expensive in London, especially with our poor Dollar fetching less than half a Quid. Tourist beware!

Back to bed for me. My jet-lagged internal clock makes no sense by Chicago or London time.




Blogger gwen said...

Hooray! Three cheers for travel news, Dad! You should post every day - this is fabulous, we can all vicariously travel with you...

11:20 PM  
Blogger Jenny Clay said...

Thank you, Mark! I love the picture with Big Ben in the background. Is that Big Ben? It doesn't look so big from that angle. The signs are funny, when you have been around for a thousand years or so you need a lot of historical markers.

Your comments about Thanksgiving and advent were as generous as I know you are. I am frankly still exausted by it all. Good cheer has its price, even sober good cheer. But, it is well worth it.

Kudos to you for the travel log and I echo Gwen...You should post as often as possible so that we plebs (business class indeed) can partake! I love you. J

7:57 AM  
Blogger rosie said...

Wow! London! do people give you funny looks for having an american accent?

6:15 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

No one ever gives me funny looks.

But I feel like Steve McQueen in my leather coat -- while all those Brits wear wool and work on methodical escape plans, I'm just a cool American (or so I wish).


2:06 AM  
Blogger Madeleine said...

Wow! Sounds great. Have you seen a lot of punks there? The names of streets are often on the sides of buildings rather than on signs downtown... though I'm sure that you've figured that out.

4:32 AM  
Blogger rosie said...

you re a cool american, you rented a motercycle, right?

8:16 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

I did finally find the names of streets on the buildings, Madie, though it took me several days.

4:23 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home