People keep asking Chris for directions. Despite our backpack, camera and map; they think we are locals. More specifically, they think Chris is a local. We have concluded it is his very euro trendy brown Sketcher shoes. One look at those kicks and he has instant cred! Too bad for all those suckers Chris has no idea where he is or which direction he is facing at any given moment. I am not much better. Taking the tube is very easy but tends to mess with my fine tuned sense of direction! Several times we have walked for blocks certain we were heading north and as is turns out we were heading east!
We are getting used to the idea of living here. The first morning, we sat in a Starbuck's drinking coffee and Chris asked if I could see us living "here." I gave it some serious thought, looking up and down the street, studying the people walking by and simply could not picture it at that moment. It was very scary. However, spending the last few days getting lost and getting to know the city... I can see it now. I have to squint my eyes and stand on one foot with my right hand in my pocket but I can see it!
We have gone in "grocery" stores and priced food and other daily goods. We have looked for our brand of toothpaste and deodarant. We look for pubs in each neighborhood that have good food and good beer (although the beer is usually the first thing we look for!) We locate all the closest tube stations and today we even ventured onto the bus system with considerable success! We have ruled out several neighborhoods and added a few we previously did not consider. Overall, I think you could say we have spent the last 4 days doing our homework! If we end up living in a place we do not love then it will certainly not be for lack of trying to get it right!
We've also had some fun and some great food, Thai and Indian especially. We have scoped out some places we will take everyone when they come and visit. We have a spot picked out for Mike/Chris's dad (a Starbuck's in Camden Town that sits on the lock and looks out over the street with the best people watching in the city), Laurie/Chris's mom (the Glass Cafe, a resturaunt with a glass ceiling serving grapes on salads and what looked like delicious ice tea), Steve/my dad (Churchhill Arm's pub in Notting Hill with great beer and pictures of US presidents on the walls) and we have also been making lists of places we will return to in the future.
I think the 2 top neighborhoods so far are Bayswater and Notting Hill. Both near Hyde and St James Parks with great shopping and food. Transportation is excellant and the streets feel cozy and livable. I found the public library in Notting Hill and decided I could see myself there on a rainy afternoon with a cup of hot tea and books galore! We also found the best Thai food we have ever had (except when Vim's mom cooked for us) and it is served in a Notting Hill pub! Does life get any better than that? Bayswater is very quaint and we found a Mews, which is like a culd-a-sac filled with two story, shotgun type town houses (aka Mews Houses). We would love to rent a Mews House! So cute!!!
So tonight we plan to grab some fish and chips then head to bed early. We both fell asleep on the tube and missed our intended stop, so sleep is a must if we want to make it another 3 days! Tomorrow morning we are meeting Sal (really nice guy who works with Mike and has lived in London for the past 2 years) for coffee and people watching at Covent Gardens. We had dinner with him last night at the Texas Embasy and enjoyed some delicious margaritas (another destination for Laurie!) I will try to write again on Monday but if not look for pictures by Wednesday.
I almost forgot... today we rented 2 lawn chairs in Hyde Park and enjoyed a picnic of food (greek salad, fresh fruit, homemade humus and fresh bread) we bought at Portabello Market. What an amazing Saturday afternoon... we have to live near the park!