London 2012 - Heidi Ho - CycleBlaze

July 17, 2012

London 2012

The trip from Toulouse went smoothly, and the only thing keeping me from major depression, after leaving, is the distraction of a short visit to London.

But before I get to that, let me start off by saying this is an AWEsome time to be visiting London, with the Olympics starting soon. Everyone is REALLY nice, AND helpful. In fact, they have volunteers all over the place in purple shirts; their sole responsibility is to help people find their way.

"I'm not here for the Olympics, but can you tell me how to get to terminal 4 anyway?" I asked.

Sure they could, and did it with a smile. So convenient. Thanks, London!

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So anyway, I had planned the evening in London and checked into a place that was half hotel and half jail cell. And when I say jail cell I don't mean that in a bad way, it was just small, but I'll get to that in a separate entry...

...because one of the reasons I got the room was so I had a place to store my bags while I wandered around.

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I still don't feel well. But hey, I go home tomorrow and then I can sleep till my hearts content. So instead of sitting around and wallowing in self pity, I got a 6-hour train pass that included round trip on the Heathrow Express to the Padington Station, and an all-you-can-ride tube pass, which I got good use out of.

Basically, I walked (and rode the tube) around to some of the more touristy tourist places, like Big Ben and The Thames river, Buckingham palace and Piccadilly Circus, which really isn't an actual circus, as many of you may already know.

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Along the Thames, of course
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Looks like I'm not gett'n near Big Ben
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In the process of all that fun I got dinner of cod and chips, which is really just fish and chips, except you are specifying that the fish part is cod, and not some other kind of, god only knows, fish.

I also had to pick out the kind of peas I wanted.

"What's the difference?" I asked of the peas. Because I have no idea what the descriptions meant, based on her names for them.

"One is more like smashed peas. The other is like garden peas," the bar maid said.

"You mean like a puree?"

"Yes, like that."

"I'll have the garden peas," I said.

And soon after, a huge hunk of fried cod arrived, flanked by peas and chips, which are the same as french fries, they just call them chips in England. In fact, Americans can lose their mind in confusion, because they call chips, crisps, and french fries, chips, as I just said.

But, whatever you want to call them the cod and chips was tasty.

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After dinner I made my way, via the tube, to Piccadilly circus. The place was hopping with locals and foreigners, of which I was one of.

I wandered around seeing stuff and taking pictures for an hour or two until I realized the time on my 6-hour train pass was ticking. I had to get back. Still, there was one more thing that needed doing...

...and that was ice cream! I spotted a Haagen Daz store, stood in a long line, and there it was--Rum Raisin. Except they don't call it "rum raisin" in London, they call it "rum AND raisin."

"I'll have two scoops of rum raisin in a bowl," I said when it was my turn.

"Do you mean rum and raisin?" said the scooper girl.

"Yes."

Except it was rum raisin, just like in America. I found a concrete block to sit on and pondered the moment...

It occurred to me that I had rum and raisin at home, on the night before I left for France, over 5 weeks ago. The only meaningful difference being the rum and raisin in London cost 4 times more. But that aside, it was now official. With rum raisin Haagen Daz on both ends, the trip had come full circle. It's moments like this that you think about your life, or at least the trip, and what it all means...

Yes, there are touching moments. Exploring other countries. Meeting strangers, who then become friends. Experiencing the worst, and the best in people, and their cultures. But in the end, all those moments are forgotten, and it all comes down to this, the true meaning of life-----Rum and Raisin ice cream.

I finished off the last bit on the spoon and resisted the temptation to lick the residue off the bottom of the bowl. Then I made my way to the tube, which brought me to Paddington station and the Heathrow express.

I made it back to my room and fell asleep content. My one regret was that I only bought two scoops of rum and raisin, and not three.

That dean dude sounds like a kill-joy
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Good to know
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The place was crawling with Olympic goers and other related folks, like this news crew from god knows where.
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Buckingham Palace.
Ain't there supposed to be two of these dudes guarding the queen?
Maybe one was on a potty break?
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Piccadilly Panorama
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I didn't believe it when I saw this
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Looks like they plan on selling a lot of crap in the next few weeks
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This guy sure seemed unhappy about SOMEthing
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Ain't this the goofy-est looking Olympic mascot you ever did see?
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Cool bike
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