September 14 - 23, 2000

 Our Travel Experience

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Tourist Info

Our Travel Experience

We came back to London because we wanted to see Gary. It ended up being a 12 day rest stop during which we relaxed allot in our dorm room, cleaned out our backpacks, tended to some errands, went to the Millennium Dome and saw a few friends. It is amazing how quickly 12 days pass by. We wanted to see many more friends than we were able to. Therefore, we figure we'll go back to London again just before we leave Europe in November.
We really enjoyed our dorm room at the Imperial College. We spent allot of time in the room just relaxing. The bed by the window was nice to lay on during the day and read. It had a very nice view overlooking a park. We also each had our own desk and our own wardrobe. Comparing Seth's clean desk with Tara's cluttered desk brought back memories of Tokyo. We were very lucky because in the end we were able to stay in the same room all 12 nights. At first we thought we'd have to move rooms twice since we didn't plan ahead and the rooms were sold out on two nights. 

One sad fact about our stay here is that Tara's bathing suit was taken away with the towels. It was excellent for her to be able to swim and enjoy the sauna at the College Sports Center, but sad that her bathing suit got lost somehow by the staff. Housekeeping did find Tara's suit and told her to ask at security for it. But, security couldn't locate it and neither could reception. It disappeared somewhere in the vicinity of the reception desk or the security office. So, she had to buy a new bathing suit and is asking the college to repay her for the expense. 

It was fun meeting up with Gary in London. He was here attending Barclay's new graduate hire training program. At first we had a really hard time getting ahold of him since the Citadine's ApartHotel he was staying at didn't have enough incoming phone lines. Finally we managed to talk and organized a Saturday night out on the town. We hadn't been back to our favorite Indian restaurant in Leicester square yet, so we figured we'd go with Gar. But first, we needed to take advantage of his phone line. It is hard getting a phone line to connect our computer up to. So, before dinner, we spent maybe 2 hours at Gary's place connected to AOL. The big surprise was that Tara's Mom was using AOL at the same time, so Tara and her Mom were able to chat for a long time while Seth downloaded his e-mail. This was the first time Tara's Mom had used chat, so it was a neat experience and great timing! Dinner at the Indian Restaurant was delicious as always and one waiter even remembered us from more than 2 years ago! 

Tara always wanted to see the musical Cats and Gary always was quoting  "It was better than Cats" - so with all of us in London, it was perfect to go see Cats together. We attended a Friday night performance and surprisingly had excellent seats even though they were bought on the morning of the show. Also surprisingly, nothing went wrong all night. Tara had had a horrible day because she was unable to find us any airplane seats to Greece and then discovered that her bathing suit had been lost. But, except for a momentary tube delay due to a security alert, all went fine with the evening. All three of us really enjoyed the musical. Tara liked the "Top Cat" the best. After dinner, we headed back to the Pizza Express in Gary's building. It was delicious! Seth and Tara remembered liking Pizza Express, but this was better than even they remembered. Then, quickly we used Gar's phone line again before hopping on a late Tube home. 

Besides seeing Gary, Seth and I had time to each see one other friend. It is amazing how hard it is to see friends if you want time to relax. We each only saw one friend. 

- by Tara 
I saw Lisa from work. Even though we worked together for two years, we had never met in person. It is different to meet in person instead of over chat, the phone or via video conference. I don't think I would have recognized Lisa even if I'd passed her on the street. My timing was good because when I called the office in London, Lisa herself answered and she'd just gotten back from maternity leave two weeks ago. We arranged to go to lunch together the next Tuesday. On Tuesday morning, it was a hard, conscious effort on my part to make a lunch appointment set at 1pm. This really showed how different our lives are now compared with when we were working in London and had to be into the office at 7am! It was neat walking back into the London office, though not very sentimental since the office had moved to a new location since I'd left. I saw a few other work colleagues before we headed off for food. Lisa had the great idea of taking me to a nearby Japanese restaurant. It was delicious! I especially enjoyed the Green Tea and the katsu kurry (as always) was yummy. It was great talking to Lisa face to face. After lunch, I also got to see one of my old managers and we talked about good holiday destinations in Europe for Christmastime. Maybe his family will go to Rovanemi, Finland like we did in 1996. 

- by Seth 
I went to dinner with Sam. 

Food - glorious Food! 

We lived in London for 2.5 years, so we had plenty of time to find our favorite restaurants. We were very lucky this time to find an edible watermelon in the local South Ken Hart's store. Once when we lived in London, Tara cut into a watermelon only to find it rotten inside. 

This trip we visited old favorites including the Noto's Japanese food near St. Pauls, our favorite Indian near Leicester Square, our local South Ken kebab shop (where they also remembered us) and Pizza Express. 

We found a few new favorites too. One was the Chinese place that opened near the station and the other was the Imperial College restaurant. We ate repeatedly at the IC restaurant. Probably mostly because it was close and cheap, but also because we thought the food was fine. Tara also thought the beans with breakfast at the college cafeteria were excellent. She showed restraint though and only had beans with breakfast every four days. 

Unfortunately, Tara was not able to eat her favorite spotted dick at the hole in the wall pub. They pub had stopped doing deserts. And, even though they did have one left over spotted dick way back in the freezer... there was no custard to go along with it, so it wouldn't have been the same. 

Errands, errands, errands. Being in London was perfect for getting done all sorts of little things we needed to do. For example - laundry! The washers and dryers at the College were free so we made sure we did laundry twice. We filed our US taxes for 1999 and contacted KPMG about our UK taxes. We figured out how to vote in the upcoming US Presidential election even though we'd be out of the country with no permanent address. Plus we took everything out of our backpacks and decided what we needed to keep with us and what we could mail home. We took inventory of our bank accounts in three countries and sorted out our finances. Of course, on the day after we transferred some GBP to USD, various governments intervened in the Euro and thus we would have gotten a rate of 1.44 instead of 1.41. Oh well, hindsight is 20/20 and the rate could have just as easily went from 1.41 to 1.38 overnight. 
We did one touristy thing while we were here. We had a really fun day at the Millennium Dome. We were not expecting to have a great time since all of the press about the Dome in the London press was negative. But, we really enjoyed ourselves. The Imperial College reception had 1/2 off coupons for the Dome, so we were admitted for 10 GBP each. The first exhibit we came upon was for the Internet. We were excited because our 10 GBP was going to buy us at the least unlimited Internet access for the next 10 hours!! We did finally pull ourselves away from the free Internet terminals since we had a ticket which allowed us entrance to "The Body" exhibit at 1:40pm. Once we got into the Dome to visit "The Body", we didn't leave until it closed. 

Some of the best activities for us were: 
- The retina scanner which could identify us after scanning in our eye. 
- The really unusual show with numerous people suspended in the air at once 
- The Avitar body scans which we had done (TWICE!) 
- The work exhibition which showed Hamsters running in cages and had fun games at the end 
- The Rest exhibit which just consisted of a big room with lighting and music where you could lie down 
- And of course, the free Internet access throughout the day 

Two big losers we found were: 
- The Hand vein scanning device 
- The Face morphing computer

Overall, we really enjoyed being back in London and plan to visit again.

Category Rating Comments
Overall Experience 9 We 
Ease of Journey 7 We 
Accommodation 9 We 
Activities N/A We 
Coolness 9 We 

Tourist Info

Imperial College Bed and Breakfast,, 44+20 7594 9507
Rooms are only available when the students are not attending classes in the Summer and Easter.