London Day Six (Cold Rain)

Today we got up and exchange our room keys. We’re moving from paid nights to free nights for the balance of the trip. Everyone here’s in a tizzy over VAT changing back because of the computer ramifications. They’re going to make the entire hotel check out 1-1 and check back in at the new rate. Bloody hell. At least you don’t actually leave and just go down and make a paperwork change and a key swap. That’ll be two key swaps for us.

We went to breakfast and just had eggs and toast. I stopped at Paul’s and got a café eclair on the way to the Natural History Museum. Our first stop was the Annual Wildlife Photography Competition which was fantastic. I didn’t buy the guidebook and now I’m sorry. I may go back and get one before I return. Anyone who is here before this is over, must go. If you can’t, peruse online. After that we went to the dinosaur exhibit, full of bones and such. I thought of William, of course. I’ll burn him a set of the photos from that part of the trip. After that, we popped onto the tube at South Kensington to the Sir John Soane Museum (Holborn Tube) which was swamped — which isn’t hard since it’s such a small museum. While there were only 30 in queue, that could have easily been an hour. You can’t go in until someone comes out.

We also stopped at Eat for a quick snack before taking the Central line to Bond Street and changing to the Jubilee for St John’s Wood tube, the nearest to Abbey Road. I usually do this first thing in the AM and not mid-day, and that would have been for the best. The traffic jam was because of idiot tourists taking photos in the world’s most famous crosswalk. We took a few photos and bailed on idiot-city and came back to the hotel via Westminster where Karen was distressed to find the escalator wasn’t working and it was a long staircase at the interchange.

After a rest, we headed off to the O2, where we saw the Official Michael Jackson exhibition — for those who don’t recollect, the O2 was to be the site of his 50 comeback shows before he died. While overpriced at £15 but was worth it as it turns out. We then went to the British Music Experience also in the O2 because they had an offer to add it on for an extra £5. Real music fans will really like this, though staff were not very organized. The BME gives you an RFID ticket that collects bits of what you do and lets you review them and the related music on the website after you’re home. It also includes three free iTunes songs as well. Sadly, photos were totally forbidden in both, so these won’t be posted. It’s easier if you follow the links for full descriptions on what these two exhibits entail, but if you’re going to the O2 for something else, tack this on for sure. Book directly at the box office and save quite a bit.

Karen had this burning desire for a burger, so we ended up at Cheyenne Spur one of several faux-American burger place in the O2. The burgers weren’t half bad for over here.  I had a Hawaiian burger, and Karen had a bacon cheeseburger, which was made with Irish Back Bacon (as opposed to American style bacon). Speaking of bacon, Paul sent me this link to a comic showing six reasons bacon is better than true love. If you’re at the O2 and feel like a burger, this place seems decent. The “Oriental” restaurant across the walk had a great typo on their menus “Poulty” — yeah, the R had gone missing from all their poultry.

Lastly, we went to the Vue movie theatre and ended up seeing Sherlock Holmes after a bad experience with the automated ticket machines. As you may recollect, many theatres have assigned seating here. We were unable to pick seats with the automated system. There are no humans running the box office, so we had to find someone to ask what to do. As it turns out there were no assigned seats for this showing because the 500+ seat theatre was nearly empty. What a fantastic theatre. One of the nicest ones I’ve ever seen though the seats were fixed back which wasn’t so nice. The movie was 2-1/2 hours long and didn’t seem very long at all. I fully enjoyed it, as did Karen. The acting was decent, and they left it open for a sequel. There are some gory scenes, and one in particular with big carcasses. That was sort of amusing though, because earlier I was watching Gordon Ramsey’s “F Word” and they slaughtered, gutted, and cleaned a pig (gross BTW) so I had already seen it. I think the movie version might have been worse. We figured Holmes was the movie to see since it takes place in London. Some of the sets are recognizable and others aren’t. I was impressed with the effects. We saw previews for Iron Man 2 as well as yet another remake of Robin Hood, this new one with Russell Crowe.

 The O2 was freezing cold, and we were wearing jackets inside, though at least the theatre was comfortable. We took the tube back and went straight to the hotel in the rain, which is expected to continue through tomorrow before the temperatures plummet into the 20s. Not that we trust the weathermen.

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