Day +1

No links!  yea!

Today was a fun day… it was so great to leave the room with ZERO cameras (well besides my iPhone), ZERO rollings duffles (as much as I love ThinkTankPhoto bags – I needed a break) and just be a straight-up tourist!

Long night last night – went to bed around 4:30-5:00 am.  Got up at 10:30, did a little room organizing.  Tried to find out when I’m going to be picked up tomorrow, I know it’s going to be early because my flight leaves at 10:35 am here – via Virgin Atlantic – non-stop to SFO – yea!  Karl wanted to meet us all near Big Ben in front of the Winston Churchill statue to do a final wrap-up and stuff for a video.  Elliott and I left the UEL, grabbed the DLR took it to the end at the Bank Station transferred to the District Line and then got off at the Westminster Station.  Elliott took this picture, that’s our columnist Mark Purdy on the left and Karl on the right:

I got to see Purdy for only the second time (well I did see him passing by in another bus once but I don’t count that).  We did a short stand up – Purdy did the most talking because he is great at being eloquent while on camera – he does a lot of TV and radio stuff – so that was cool.  Here is Karl filming us:

We all said our goodbyes, Mark and Elliott were gonna go sight-seeing and I was supposed to meet Robert Gauthier from the LA Times nearby – but wasn’t exactly sure where, so Karl was heading back to see his wife and I knew Robert’s hotel was in the sam direction so I went with Karl…  District Line to Northern Line to the Euston Station.

When I’m in the tube I get no cell signal, of course, since we are way underground.  When I got back above ground I saw an email from Robert that he was at Charing Cross, two stops away from Westminster Station!  Oh well – so said bye to Karl and went back five stops to Charing Station.  After a few emails to figure out where each of us were – found him outside – he was with a reporter from the LA Times – Helene – she writes a lot of their hockey stories – LA Kings – so it was a good year for her (they won the Stanley Cup this year if you hadn’t heard.

We wanted to explore some of the areas around London – but we were hungry so we settled on China Town – we found a restaurant a few down from Super Star, I think called Tau Tau or something like that… it was much fancier and better food than Super Star – and they put ice in their drinks (recently noticed that they don’t do that hear).  When I found out that Helene mostly covered hockey that was cool – we talked a bit about the Sharks – hoping that the NHL doesn’t do a lock out – that sure would be dumb on their part.  Robert gets to follow around the Stanley Cup as it visits each person from the Sharks – he was sharing some stories on that – sounds like a ton of fun – he gets to travel all over for that.

I think we found the key to eating decent food in England – eat Asian food!  I had always heard how bad food was in England and my taste buds are pretty pedestrian, and I had three of my worst meals ever hear – if a country can screw up a burger and a pizza and it’s own dish (shepherd’s pie) – then there is little to no hope for anything decent.  After our super good lunch we explored.  We wandered the streets for a little bit – Helene headed back after awhile and Robert and I kept wandering and wandering.  Here Robert is up to the challenge of taking a group tourist picture with their cellphone:

Found a mall with some souvenirs in it… and this pretty awesome rotating, circular picnic bench… it’s only 6,700 pounds – so that’s like $9,000 US dollars – but I want one:

Robert is a lot of fun to hang out with – he’s mega talented and a really cool guy.  He rescues weimaraner dogs and has been at the Times for some 20 years.  We both just kinda like to wander so it worked out perfectly for us – we probably walked a good 4-5 miles.  Oh we were in one store by Leicester Square and a Bobby came in and told everyone to leave – apparently they were evacuating the block because they found a suspicious package – which turned out to be a cardboard box or something like that.

The booth that Robert got some great deals on souvenirs – Robert has been to Iraq and Kosovo – and I think the owners were from Kosovo – and they were excited to hear that he was there as a journalist to cover their home town.  They gave him a free “I Love London” key chain after he told them that:

Cavendish Square Gardens – very swanky place:

More and more walking and then dinner near his hotel – a swanky Japanese restaurant – I had two great meals today – phew – beef teriyaki:

And to top everything off – Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream from Baskin Robbins!:

Robert was nice enough to loan me some cash and I said goodbye and headed off to the Tube at Tottenham Court Road Station – Central line to the Bank Station – long walk to the DLR then rode it to the Cyprus stop and walked into the UEL campus.  Found my name on the transport list – that was a big relief – I had been trying to call them through out the day and the line was constantly busy.  Now packing… getting picked up at 6:30 am for my flight at 10:35.