We checked into the three star Abbey Hotel:
Then ran from our rooms looking for something to do.
We ended up in Notting Hill at the Portobello Market:
and gave ourselves half an hour to browse.
Which was silly.
It was mostly an exercise in frustration.
The market is HUGE and CROWDED and full of people and crammed with stuff and you'd need a few hours to do it properly.
In the addition to the stores that lined both sides of the street, vendors set up booths on the sidewalks:
Clint and Drew were mostly bored with this experience, I think.
But my granny would have loved it.
The costume jewelry, the antiques, the books, the china ...
For the matter, I think my mom would have found this all pretty interesting too.
After our half hour was up, we went back into the tube to make our way to Picadilly Circus where, upon Clint's recommendation we browsed through The National Geographic Store. They had an antique map exhibition going on, which was beautiful. And there was an Africa exhibit which was incredible. I loved that store. SO INSPIRING.
I bought a book: "The 100 Best Volunteer Vacations to Enrich Your Life."
We talked about our next holiday while eating supper at Pizza Hut.
"Should we bottle feed orphaned lion cubs in Zambia?"
"Or how about compile data on endangered elephants in Sri Lanka?"
"Or we could schlep cameras, make films and guide nature tours in Singapore..."
"How about conducting surveys of dolphins and whales in Scotland?"
"This sounds like fun... throw a Christmas party for an indigenous village in Costa Rica..."
and so on.
From there, we got on the tube - FOR THE LAST TIME and went to The Mall. Westfield Mall. HOLY COW. While Rick power shopped, Drew and I had a bottle of water and people watched. We all met at the theatre at 9 pm to watch Inception.
Interesting note: In England, when you buy your tickets for a movie, you select your seats. So we bought our tickets earlier in the evening, and got into the theatre just seconds before the movie started, knowing our seats would be waiting for us. Very civilized.
We got back to the hotel at midnight because we had no where else to go.
At 2 am we were still awake, being baked alive in that tiny upper room with no air conditioning and much humidity.
I must've fallen asleep eventually because I had some wild Inception-inspired dreams.
It was a short night.
Rick and Sandra dropped us off at the airport at 10 am.
The guys fell asleep at 10:30 -
We got on the plane at 1:20 pm and I may have dozed off waiting for the plane to taxi to the end of the runway.
After that, I stayed awake the whole way home and watched movies:
She's Out of My League (which made me laugh so hard, I cried. And then I had no make up on.)
As Good As It Gets (an oldie. But still a good story. )
Ondine (Colin Farrell, an Irish fisherman, thinks the girl in his net is a mermaid.)
The Last Station (Helen Mirren as Leo Tolstoy's wife.)
Our plane landed in Vancouver at 2:30pm and we were home by 4:30pm.
There was bedding from 4 beds in the hallway, plus 3 weeks of accumulated laundry in our suitcases, and my washing machine's spin cycle stopped functioning. So I did the best I could and got 3 beds put back together by 10 pm (which was 6 am England time), then took a sleeping pill and slept solidly til 9 am.
Yay, I thought.
I'm right back on Pacific Time.
Our first order of the day on Monday was to get Drew to the Driver Services Office so he could get his Learners. Which he did. In 8 minutes. (With a test score of 95%)
Then he drove me to my mom's place where I did the rest of my laundry.
I managed to stay awake til 10 pm again, but boy - I was dragging my buns.
Back to work today.
Up at 7. At my desk by 8.
And 12 hours later? At 8 pm? I'm dying to go to bed.
But Drew has plans.
And tonight, somehow, I've got to stay awake til midnight.
Three things I'm thankful for:
1. My bed.
2. It's still summer.
3. He's a good driver.