London Calling

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We had a good last week in London but I think we’re all ready to say our goodbyes. Even by local standards, it was unseasonably cold for this time of year. Our Airbnb was fine but it was hard to overlook that it was a damp and rather moldy basement apartment. Rafe literally couldn’t stop sneezing and Theo developed a weird horsey cough. So yeah, maybe not so fine after all! Onwards today to the countryside where some fresh air will do us good, I hope.

Anyhow, London. My parents lived here for a time in the late 60s/early 70s, my brother was born here (and returned here for grad school) and I lived here for half a year as an undergrad. So I certainly feel a connection to the city…even though with each subsequent visit, it’s almost unrecognizable. That funky neighborhood where Vince used to live now has a Pinkberry and a Five Guys! And that one beloved pub around the corner from my old dorm– the one where George Orwell and Dylan Thomas were regulars, the one that had been in operation since the 1730s…CLOSED. Gentrification: inevitable and predictable.

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One night we had a babysitter and went with our host’s recommendation for dinner. (We knew nothing of “cool London” and needed all the help we could get.) We ended up at a casual local spot in the hip-happening Shoreditch neighborhood.
These days, since we usually eat at 5:30 pm, we had the tiny maybe 20 seater restaurant to ourselves. That is until I noticed the actor Jason Momoa (from Game of Thrones fame) –and a group of a dozen other vaguely recognizable actors –saunter into the place. They were in town promoting their new movie Justice League…I had a great view of all the action.
Meanwhile, Rafe was faced towards the wall and wondering what all the fuss was about. On the way out, someone else was coming in with an entourage. I was coming out of the bathroom and wondering what was going on. It was Drake! For a hilariously long awkward moment, Rafe was trying to walk around Jason and Drake engaging in an absurdly long and enthusiastic bro-hug. Pardon my girly excitement here, but you gotta admit it’s pretty random considering we were eating so early at a little ho-hum restaurant. We’re usually at home with our 3-year-old scarfing down a hastily-prepared dinner. So yeah, I was entertained.
So…London. We’ve definitely had our fill of its gray weather, leafy parks, cozy pubs, quirky coffee shops, double-decker bus rides, and Jason Momoa.
Oh, and the London Eye! How could I forget? It was $80 for a single revolution and that’s including sneaking in Theo for free as an “under 3.” He did say it was the most amazing experience of his entire life, so I guess it was worth it 🙂
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