Friday, April 5, 2013

The Eagle(s) Ha(ve)s Landed

I went for a walk on Saturday. 
Despite the fact that we've yet to shrug off winter, some flowers have begun to peek out.

That big building on the left is nicknamed 'the walkie talkie'. I like it.

If I had a nickel for every time I said this...well, I'd probably have a dollar.

This doctors office is just down the street from us. Can your doctors consult in 9 languages?
Cowboys are popular anywhere
Of course, it being Saturday, Kenz and I made our compulsory trip to Borough Market. I feel mildly guilty for posting pictures of this market for about three weeks in a row; it must be boring for y'all. I'll get over it. You should too.

Kenz opted to visit Neil's Yard Dairy (in addition to her regular cheese stalls)

Unless you love cheese, this store smells like butt. Even if you love cheese, it's still pretty rank.

All the employees wear funny little hats. Kenz bought a million dollars' worth of cheese. Again.

We decided to stay out for the day. It wasn't warm, but it was sunny. And sunny confuses us. We think that means it's spring and we should be walking around. As a result, we were outside for about five hours. By the end of it we were icicles.

Apparently the individually decorated Easter Eggs were out again this year. We didn't see any last month, but found them all reassembled in Covent Garden for the holiday weekend. 

We also found men in pink tights and tutus. The out of focus picture is a result of me trying to be discreet.

Hybrid Hawgs?

Proper cruiser, strategic cup holder and all...
We pulled the trigger on some discount tickets for Jersey Boys. Despite the joy of getting a good deal on tickets, our zeal was tempered by the fact that we were downtown with an extra hour to kill before the doors opened. Kenz was cold, wanted to sit down, and had grown tired of our excursion.

It's in these times that I begin to panic; I don't want Kenz's mood to shift; my mind races, trying to figure out things to do. I begin to spit out ideas, rapid fire, none of which are good.
Things like this
It's as if I'm that person who reads billboards aloud while driving down the highway.

One of the problems with this behavior is that I'll immediately shoot down every idea as soon as I submit it. So, what it looks like is Kenz and I walking around, her staying quiet, politely holding my hand as my other hand points to signs of restaurants and stores, as I say, "We could go there. We've never been there before. Nah - it looks too crowded. We won't find a table. Let's keep walking." Each ensuing utterance heightens the stakes in my head. I'm annoying her. I'm not finding anything to entertain her. She's bored. It's all my fault. I'm a horrible husband. I'm a horrible person. I always do this. I should really stop doing this. Oooh, look, David, maybe that place - no, too 'uppity'. Maybe I should ask her...

By the end of it, I'm in a whirlwind of suggestions and negations. It makes me wonder why she goes out with me in the first place.

We settled on a Chinese restaurant in Soho. We'd already eaten, so all we were interested in was a drink (for her) and dessert (for me). We soon realized we were in a legit restaurant.

"Numbing-and-hot" only has two chili icons next to it? 

The entire menu was filled with items I'd never seen before
I was particularly excited for the sweet potato cakes for dessert. After a ten minute review of the menue, for research purposes, we ordered. Despite our close reading of the menu items, we failed to note the minimum order requirement. We were promptly booted from the restaurant because we weren't interested in ordering a dinner.

"Well, that was embarrassing. I've never been kicked out of a restaurant before." - Kenz

So, after all my panic in trying to find a warm place for us to relax for a few minutes, I still failed. Luckily, by this time, the doors to the show had opened.

This isn't even a good picture, but I simply have to take a picture when I know I'm not 'allowed' to do so.
We knew, going in, that we didn't know Frankie Vallie or The Four Seasons. Well, we knew that we didn't know know him/them, but that we'd probably have that lightbulb moment as soon as we heard one of the songs. We were looking forward to that happening. It came about midway through the first act. The rest of the show was one 'reveal' after another - turns out we do know Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons! Ha! Kenz said her mom used to have a cassette tape in the car with all their songs and would play it while driving them to school each day.

I finally found someone in London with a bigger beard than I.
On our walk back, the city was pulsing with activity. It being a Saturday night on a holiday weekend (everyone had Monday off), there was an extra dose of people, alcohol, noise, and that which results from combining said ingredients:

These two had bloody faces, broken glasses, knots on their head, and were falling over each other, drunk, sitting in their own puke. Culture, folks. We're getting it in heaps. 
Kenz's parents arrived on Sunday afternoon, on a delayed flight from which they had little to no sleep. Michael had gotten sick the day before, and neither he nor Patti were feeling refreshed. 

Kenz was beside herself with excitement.
We met them at their hotel and hung out while their room got ready.

[Sidebar: Their hotel bed is bigger than ours. Kenz immediately jumped on it, sprawled out, and endeavored to take a nap as they unpacked]

We eventually made it out for an initial stroll around some of the close 'sights', through Covent Garden, Leicester Square, and Piccadilly Circus, with a stop for fish'n'chips at a pub.

Jet lagged. They admitted that they now understand why we're zombies each time we return to the States.

Opera singer in Covent Garden
It's fun to have visitors, because it gets me looking at the city through a tourist's eyes again. I've forgotten how much I take for granted now that this is 'home'.
We stopped at a hat shop for Patti to get something warm for her head.

Michael couldn't resist touring the Hippodrome Casino
Speaking of Michael:

Everyone has their 'thing' when they're on vacation. Some people like to shop. Others want museums. You know a few that prefer geographic sights. There are those that want to take in the architecture and history. Everyone's got their thing.

Michael's is restaurant menus.

We walked through one of the most densely populated restaurant areas in the world, and Michael stopped at just about every single door to check out their menu. It was awesome. Soho is his museum. The menus function as the informational placards that stand in front of fossils or pieces of art. He was in heaven.

I could've taken 25 identical photographs of this activity.
Kenz booked a 'driving' tour of London for Tuesday on her mother's request. We were met by a quintessentially British man in the morning, and were off to see the sights.

We saw the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace.

We went to Westminister Abbey.

Again, taking pictures despite explicit instructions not to.

I wonder if I could get deported for taking these pictures...

...good thing no one in the UK reads this blog?
 Lunch was at a pub near the Abbey.

Someone broke a glass in the booth next to us. Michael sprung into action, standing, scanning the room for someone to help clean the shards of glass, finding no one. This was Michael's first run-in with British customer service. The one server in the pub, a grumpy middle-aged man who scoffed at me for ordering tap water, couldn't be bothered with cleaning the mess up. Michael stood at the booth for at least five minutes. Eventually, he wrangled Mr. Grump into helping him clean the mess.
"I didn't want that little girl to cut herself on the glass. A lot of people don't know you're supposed to use a wet rag to pick up glass."
After lunch, we drove. And drove. And drove. We went around Hyde Park, Battersea, through the center of town, the square mile, by St. Paul's, and finished at the Tower of London. Traffic was a mess.

All in all, a successful day!
Kenz gave the 'rents a tour of her school on Wednesday. That night, we went to Wicked. I was concerned that Michael wouldn't really enjoy the play, but my fears disappeared once I heard him laughing. It's an extremely easy play to enjoy. 
Michel got candy during intermission; Kenz pounced on it.
Now, it's Friday, and Kenz has 'caught' whatever bug Michael had when they arrived. She's in bed, hacking and coughing, trying to rest before Whitney arrives (she should land in 20 minutes - she'll be staying with us for the next week - the whole fam damily!). We'll have an entire week with the three of them - hilarity will ensue, you can bank on that. 

I got these this morning to aid in Kenz's 'get well soon' effort.
Lastly, a friend of mine taught me how to use the panoramic function on my phone. Below is the main room of our flat (with my back against the kitchen). I'm sure this will come in handy in the near future...

That's it for this week! Enjoy your weekend; thanks for reading.