Monday, March 14, 2011
London Bridge is...in Arizona?
On February 28, Alex and I began a real adventure. We had vague ideas in mind of places that we wanted to visit, but the plan was to take a couple of months off and enjoy ourselves before figuring out the next career step. London seemed a logical first stop...something easy and where Alex has family. We could relax and organize a little...eat some of the food we've been missing during our time in Korea. Alex's cousins are restauranteurs and share our love of food , so right away we were whisked off to an unassuming pub with incredible local dishes. Our kindly host ordered plate after plate of unbelievable deliciousness...goat cheese only a day old on crusty bread, new potatoes with fresh herbs, fresh cockles, sea bass, churros with apple mash, Rhubarb Queen of Puddings, and a chocolate hazelnut pie. Can there be an equivalent to culture shock involving food? I think I died that night. Still a bit disoriented from our 12-hour plane ride, we were further overjoyed at how darn polite the English are. In Korea, I'm accustomed to being mowed down unapologetically, but here---here!-- "Excuse me!" for the slightest graze. We basked in our new/old life and exchanged several "this was a very good idea" looks.
In the days that followed, we ate more food that I've craved for a year and a half...and did some sight-seeing. We got a private tour of Parliament from an acquaintance of Alex's (who yelled across the room at a question posed for a Member of Parliament...needless to say, the MP was pretty pissed. Awk-ward.) She also took us to the Parliament Bar, which was filled with less than important people, I'm fairly sure. But hey-- I've now had a neat whiskey in Parliament. We visited the Tower, the Tate Modern, the Victoria and Albert Museum, Portobello Road, had high tea at Kensington, and everything else you're supposed to do in London...it's such a dense city and very walkable.
Our last night was spent with Alex's other cousin, the cousin's Swiss-German wife, and their two adorable kids. We had a really homey meal of fajitas and brownies and I sent the kids to bed with a rendition of a book about animals pooping on other animals' heads. Perfect.