Monday, July 28, 2003

Tea at the British Museum

Ann and I met with my old college friend, Carol, while we were in London. We roamed much of the British Museum and later had afternoon tea in the Museum cafeteria.

Contrary to appearances, the tea does taste far better than it looks

Carol has posted her pictures of the British Museum on her blog here.

Thursday, July 24, 2003

Good Security

In Britain, when Ann and I visited Simon Hughes MP, he tried to slip us by security as he brought us into the Houses of Parliament.

"I'm sorry, Simon," said the security man. "We know you but we just don't know them."

At his insistence, Ann and I had to go through the metal detector.

By contrast, consider the security in New York City. The New York Times reports today that city councilman James E. Davis was shot dead in the Council chamber by a man who bypassed security by accompanying the councilman into City Hall.

Despite 9/11, security remains stricter in London than in New York City.

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Letting Go

It's quite liberating to weed my stuff. I'm moving to Ann's place so it makes sense for me to reduce the amount of books, clothes, and furniture that the movers will shift there.

Last night I chucked books. I asked myself: "Am I ever going to read (or read again) these books?" Out went old Chartered Financial Analyst textbooks, assorted self-help cure-alls and various works of P.J. O'Rourke. However I found myself quite attached to all my many unread books on Buddhism.

I piled the unwanted books on top of my old apartment building's mailboxes. I hope my soon-to-be ex-neighbors will enjoy them.

Monday, July 21, 2003

Snapshots of Britain

It's hard to blog when you're on vacation. Why sit behind a computer when you have places to go and people to see? Instead of a full account of my trip, here are a few shapshots.

The trip to Highgrove to meet the Prince of Wales would have gone smoother had we travelled to the right train station. When we left our train at Little Kimble, I called the hotel for a taxi. The station was tiny, completely unstaffed and lacking even a pay phone. I was fortunate to have borrowed my mother's mobile phone so I called the hotel and arranged a taxi to pick Ann and me up.

Thirty minutes later I receive a call on my mobile from the taxi driver asking where at the station we were. It turns out that he was at the correct train station of Kemble, an hour and a half away by car. Ann and I had no choice but to take the train all the way back to London, change stations and lines, buy new tickets, and take the train up to Kemble. Overall time wasted: most of an afternoon. Minutes late to the reception dinner: only 30.

Other than that the trip to Highgrove was great. Ann explored the town of Tetbury and surrounding countryside while I attended a reunion of corporate social responsibility professionals, met the Prince of Wales and enjoyed a tour of his gardens at Highgrove.

There were many other highlights of the trip. These included a spin on the London Eye with its unparalleled aerial views of the city followed by a boat trip along the Thames. We were also treated to a whirlwind hour-long snapshot of the schedule of Simon Hughes MP (Liberal, North Southwark and Bermondsey) that included a walk through the Houses of Parliament and watching him conduct a TV interview on the lawn.

In Oxford, I thoroughly failed in my attempt at punting though we later enjoyed watching Shakespeare's "As You Like It" in the garden of Wadham College, where Ann studied in her junior year.

For a split second while punting I looked like I knew what I was doing

Ann charmed my parents and my friends. Throughout the trip, we really enjoyed each other's company and scarcely got on each other's nerves.

Atop St. Paul's cathedral overlooking London

This bodes well for when we move in together later this week....

Sunday, July 06, 2003

Good Riddance Day

Here's my prescription for a relaxing afternoon. Curl up with your sweetheart on a bench at the Edenbridge Bowling Club. Enjoy the mild summer weather. Listen to the click of the balls as they collide and jostle for position. Then return to your parents house across the street for your mother's home-cooked dinner.

Ann and I are in Britain for two weeks. I've always wanted to take the redeye flight to London with my sweetheart asleep in my arms.

We arrived at Heathrow early on Friday morning just in time to sample the fabulous July 4th celebrations Britain holds every year. The British call it Good Riddance Day.

We just hung out with my parents this weekend. We walked the Kentish Weald and we visited Winston Churchill's old estate at Chartwell. Relaxation is key since I've not taken any real time off since Christmas.

Tomorrow we head up to the Cotswolds where I will attend the alumni reunion of the Prince of Wales Environment Program. It's a gathering of government, business and NGO leaders hosted annually by Prince Charles at his Highgrove estate.

We will be staying near Highgrove at the Hare & Hounds. It was our second choice of hotel. Just for the name alone, we had wanted to stay at the Snooty Fox.

But when we booked, it was full.

Next entry: my handshake with Prince Charles....