London: Day One

Emma picked us up and we drove back to her village. Her children Harry and Jack were getting ready for school. I brought a bunch of American candy for her family (Mike and Ikes, Fruit Roll Ups, Sugar Babies, Dots, Hershey Kisses, US KitKat) as well as the Great Harvest Popeye Bread. Emma offered me some squash to drink, but I had no idea what she was talking about. It is a juice concentrate that you pour into a glass of water. We walked Jack to school, and toured around her village.

When we returned from our walk, we drove to the London Temple. We walked around the grounds and snapped a bunch of pictures. It was smaller than I expected (similar in size to the Atlanta temple) and the metalwork on the exterior reminded me of the Los Angeles Temple.

Next, we drove into East Grinstead. We got hot chocolate milano drinks at Caffe Nero. It was the richest hot cocoa I’d ever had, made from Belgian chocolate.

I was so excited to finally meet Emma in person. We had become acquainted through our blogs almost two years ago, and have regularly kept in contact over Facebook and Skype.

Annabelle, Emma, and Nicole

East Grinstead

After our drinks, we went into a grocery store (to validate our parking). It was fun to see the different brands of food, and compare what is available in US markets. I was drooling over the sweets aisle. Back in her village, Emma got us some Rowntrees Fruit Pastilles, Kinder Bueno, KitKat Senses, Haribo gummies, and a juice box of blackcurrant Ribena.

We returned to pick up her pilot David, who was flying a daytrip to Egypt. After dropping him of at Gatwick, Emma dropped us off at the Three Bridges train station. We got the rail fare and travelcard at a discount by borrowing Annabelle for the familly fare. We said our goodbyes for the day, and headed toward London Victoria station.

By this time, we were really exhausted and jet lagged. Taylor fell asleep on the train, and I was pretty close to doing so myself. We transferred at Victoria station to the District line on the tube, and got off at Hammersmith. We stayed at the Novotel London West, a “four-star” hotel that only felt posh in the foyer. Our room was pretty basic; double bed, small sofa, desk, and telly. We napped for a few hours.
For dinner we went into Piccadilly Circus. We walked around for about an hour, trying to decide on what to eat. We ate at an Indian place called Chowzi. I had Palak paneer and he had lamb curry. We walked around more afterwards till we were zonked.

Me in Chinatown

As we walked back to the tube station, I ran my fingers through my hair, and something was crunchy in back. When we were back to our hotel room, I noticed the tell-tale splat of bird poop on my jacket. Yep, a bird pooped on my head in London. We watched a movie in our room and went to bed around 10 pm.
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