Road Show -- November 8, 1999

Locale: London

Consecutive Days Wearing a Suit:
Tired Factor (1-10): 1  (well rested from weekend, despite crazy jet lag and lots of touring)
Hours of Sleep Last Night: 7

London for the weekend!

It's Monday morning in London! I really can't beleive I'm here.

We had the wrong address for our first appointment. (She had moved offices after our their bank's merger.) This required us to travel about a mile within the city. It was quite a nice tour of the downtown area in a bustling time of day, when everybody is heading to their offices.

So here's the weekend summary. Dinner Friday night was at Logan airport's Legal Sea Foods. I had the Sloppy Joe-style BBQ Portabello Sandwich, despite the dissenting advice of the waiter and the manager. I should have heeded their warning because the sandwich really sucked.

We took a red-eye from Boston to London. It wasn't so bad. I sat net to a "change consultant" from Ernst and Young, Ron. He was a rather nice fellow. He seemed familiar to me, but there was no connection. I think all these people seem familiar because I'm so sleep deprived. He was reading a book on complexity theory that seemed interesting.

In front of me was Andrea, a really cute, intelligent woman. I'm not sure what she did, but she worked at a company that does Enterprise Storage Networks (ESN's) near Boston. She lives on Commonwealth Avenue near Hereford. I was hoping she was staying in London, but no dice... She was heading to a conference in Cannes. What an relaxing, beautiful place! We had the same wristwatch.

Vic and I talked a lot on the plane. I like really getting to know people beyond their outward appearace -- to understand their dreams and fears; to know what makes them tick. It definitely makes life more meaningful.

We landed at 6:30am London time. I slept for about two hours on the plane. We show up at the hotel, the Mandarin Oriental. This place is exquisite. The lobby is filled with beautiful marble. The service is on par with the Ritz, but doesn't beat it.

While the others sleep, Bruce and I wander London. We walked through Hyde Park and then went down to Picadilly Circus. We made a mandatory stop in the Gadget Store; while it had cool things (sorta like Aahs), it didn't live up to its name. We cruise down to Cambridge Circus, picking up a panini on the way. Went down Charring Cross Road. Bruce really liked all the bookstores filled with art/design books. We stop in St Martin-in-the-fields Church. They are in the middle of choir practice. Down to Trafalgar Square to play with the pigeons and then up to Buckingham Palace. We witnessed the Changing of the Guards. What lucky timing! But, as Bruce said, "it's like watching paint dry". We cruise back to the hotel and sleep for a while.

Getting ready to go!

Picadilly Circus

Some playhouse

Approaching Trafalgar Square

Bruce petting the pigeons

Walking towards Buckingham Palace

A procession of horses...

...followed by a zamboni to clean up their dung!

Changing of the Guard #1

Changing of the Guard #2

Changing of the Guard #3

Changing of the Guard #4

All of us meet in the lobby at 1pm. Vic has decided to sleep all day. Not a bad idea. I should do the same considering I didn' sleep last night and got an average of 5 hours per night all last week. We eat pizza. 50 pence of my pizza went to some charity. A novel idea. We then take a similar tour, but continue on to Big Ben and Parliament (Funkadelhic).

We take the Underground to Notting Hill. I didn't realize what Notting Hill was, but when I walked into it, I said "I hate places like this." It is a market with lots of stalls. Usually they are filled with crap meant to rip off tourists. And the vendors are like beggars that tug on you and make you feel bad if you don't buy from them. But, although this place is a tourist attraction (thanks to Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant (which somebody told me I look like, but that was around the time he looked shitty in those mug shots after the "I-just-screwed-a-nappy-prostitute-instead-of-my-hot-wife" incident)), most of the people are locals. And the wares consist of great techno music and hip clothing (not to mention salmon heads).

We go to a show. Beauty and the Beast. I'm not thrilled at first, mostly because I wanted to see Rent. But, you can't really complain about seeing a show in London. It's a great experience. I slept throughout the entire first half! The Coke a intermission did me good, though, and I made it through the second half. The music was good and the sets were incredible.

We eat at a posh place in Picadilly Circus. It was okay. Like most of Europe, they have great food and shitty service. I liked the wine; I've recently become a fan of South African merlot.

Afterwards, Dean and I go out. We tried to go to a club that Joshua recommened. We got denied pretty immediately. We then cruised around Liester Square. Thought about going to the Zoo Bar, but we weren't into it. Went to Covent Gardens, but it was all closed! We went back to Zoo Bar and they "wouldn't let any blokes in". That's good though because that means there were mostly men inside. It was too crowded anyways... we walked by "Cheers", yes the same one that's in Boston. It was incredibly packed wth beautiful people. We didn't want to wait in line, so we cruised.

We ended up going to "Down To Mexico". It was perfect because there was a downstairs dancefloor and an upstairs lounge. It wasn't too crowded and loud, so Dean and I could talk and enjoy the scene. It was cool hanging out with Dean. We are really good friends, but we never really "go out" together. We are at different places in our lives; he goes to sleep at the time I go out! But, being in London gave us a chance to do something other than play basketball, work, or BBQ together. We danced together, despite having a conversation earlier about how un-ordinary that is. I drank a lot. About 3 drinks for each of his 1. I like getting trashed every once in a while. We walked to the hotel. It was a beautiful walk. We talked about life, the universe, and everything...

Walking through the park

Buckingham Palace again

The Millenium Wheel under construction

Big Ben!

Evan crashed out!

At least I'm not the only one!

That's Harrod's down the street...

Sniffing truffles at Harvey Nic's. They cost about >$1200 per pound!

I finally get to sleep at 4am. I'm was really tired. The others want to go to Harrod's at1pm. I ditch them and sleep to 2 in the afternoon. After grabbing lunch across the street we all congreate and go to a "footie" (soccer match). We see Leeds vs. Wimbledon. Wimbledon won, which I guess was an upset. I love the Brits... their cheers go like "smashing" and "absolutely brilliant", and "nearly good". I'm getting decent at reproducing the British accent. It's quite fun to do!

Getting ready for the "footie"!

Football action #1

Football action #2

Football action #3

Football action #4

Football action #5

Football action #6

We eat dinner at this fun Belgian place called Belgo Centraal. They have a HUGE beer selection. I have a Trappist ale and then later a Tripel. Yummy! We get lots of appetizers and I have this crazy mushroom dish. The bathrooms are coed a la Alley McBeal. I get decent sleep two nights in a row!

Evan bored while urinating

Ally washing her hands in the Belgo restroom

The crew chillin' and drinkin' beer and eatin' mussels

Monkeying around the front of Belgo Centraal

Representatives of Immersion loitering on a lion in Trafalgar Square

The meetings on Monday all went quite well. The group meeting was filled with enthusiastic people. I bet most of them will buy.

I'm writing this at a Starbucks in London. How pathetic. It's scary how they are taking over! And the Britts dig it! I can't wait for Noah's, Jamba Juice, and Chevy's to come too...

Since we had so much luggage and the cars are so small in London, we took two limos (actually orinary Mercedes-Benz). I rode alone in the other car. My limo driver was quite a character. His previous job was in personal protection services (like a bodyguard) and before that he was in SIS, Britain's special forces. He told me lots of incredible stories, including being part of an operation to rescues hostages from an Embassy and introdcing Prince Edward to Stevie Nicks. When I told Josh about them, he didn't think they were true. But, he seemed knowledgeable and I couldn't find any inconsistencies in his stories.

The plane ride was good. I had some wine and a few Jack-and-Cokes. I watched Hanuman, an interesting love story that heavily involve monkeys (although most of the movie has human actors). It makes we want to buy a monkey as a pet/friend. That movie, as well as the end of Sixth Sense, as well as the altiitude, as well as the drinks put me into a crying fit. It was pretty intersting. I think the lady in 33C thought I was insane. I kept pining away whenever I saw the monkeys, and then an hour later I was bawling like a child. The primary thought in my head was that in one year I almost lost the two most important women in my life. Thankfully, I'm only batting 0.500.

We arrived early in NYC. We checked into the Omni Berkshire for the third time. We grab dinner at Bice, an Itlalian restaurant. I must say that they served the best Caprese I've had in years. The tomatoes were OK, but the buffalo mozzerella was unbeleivable. To top off an interesting weekend, Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing, and John Salley and their possee sat down at the dinner table next to us. My life is definitely not dull.

Oh, there's no more picture for now because my camera ran out of batteries and I had power issues in London...

Last Week -- Tomorrow