Weybridge, UK

February 20, 2003
Weather: high of about 50ºF and sunny in the afternoon

After we complete our business errands in London (researching and buying train passes for Europe) we ramble around and see what we can in London. Most of our time is spent around Waterloo, Picadilly, and the Tower of London. The city is much more information-rich than we are used to (lots of signs that we can read). We find everything accessible and easy to navigate. An entirely pleasant visit.

However, it is a bit harder to take pictures of the sites now. The familiarity of the culture makes most things seem a bit too normal to be worth taking a picture of. Everything is lovely and picturesque, but I'm used to taking pictures of the shocking.

Ah, Big Ben. We didn't even worry about whether it is the bell or the tower or the clock that is called Big Ben. That's how confident we've become as travellers.
Now there are several things odd about this. First, I thought that the metric system had completely replaced the Imperial measures. Next, I'm used to road signs being in all round numbers so as to keep things simple as you whiz past. And then, do you really need to warn me about speed breakers? And does the sign need to have a little electric light on it?
This one is especially for Kashmira. Cadbury chocolate is so easy to come by in London, that there are Cadbury vending machines in the subway. And not just one vending machine, either. If this one is busy or out of order, there are three others on the same platform. Perhaps Delhi will install vending machines like this in their new Metro.
We were told by more than one person that Wagamama is a good, inexpensive Japanese noodle bar chain. We were impressed by the efficient service that was aided by the wireless handheld computers that servers used to take orders and relay them to the kitchen. But as for inexpensive... It is hard to find anything that seems inexpensive after India. This is a picture of Julie through the bottom of a glass with ice and lemon in it.
We stopped in at the Tower of London along with about 4,000 other people. The site is well cared for and lovely to see. But I question the use of the word tower. This is a picture of one of the towers at the tower of London and it clearly is round and tall like a tower should be. But the plenty of buildings there are square and squat and they are still called towers. Not unlike the way a slice of cake or a muffin can be called a pudding. (Which is no comment on the fabulous "Toad in the Hole" pudding made for us by Tamsin and JP!)
The chapel in the Tower of London. There are many spaces in this rambling old collection of stone buildings that are incredibly cozy or contemplative.
The Tower Bridge. We walked across and along the Thames during quitting time one evening. The office of the Financial Times is right on the riverfront and they were working pretty late. The sysadmin in the server room was just picking out a CD to play as he started his shift.
There were cranes working on building sites all over London, just as if the economy were booming. This cigar-shaped building was the first of its kind that I have ever seen and is quite a contrast with all the stone masonry of the Tower of London.
"This is not a photo opportunity"
Another reason to like London: dust bins that teach little lessons about aesthetics.

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