14 n' 15 May 2011
The weekend, ah the weekend. It was quiet and enjoyable. A time of rest and relaxation as we recouped for another week ahead. To be honest I cannot say much about the weekend as we truly just enjoyed the quiet and the being in London. Friday night, which I should have mentioned after our Holy Rosenbergs experience was a trip to the pub. Our first yet! Pubs and most places close early here, but we were able to enjoy a drink till midnight where we had many adventures in learning the culture.
First off, no one sits in a pub, or it is rare, there is much milling about and finding an open table to stand at (which may be normal in America but I am not really a bar type), and we found out through our own error; women do not buy men drinks here. As it was our first night out at a pub (and for many of the girls, their first time being able to drink in a legal setting) a few wanted to get their picture taken and they asked a few guys at another table to do so. It was pointed out afterwards that they looked unhappy to be bothered so Cat decided to be nice and bought them a round. As she brought it back to them all they could manage to say was "this is highly unusual" which at the time we thought nothing of, but this morning Cat asked one of our British friends about it and her response was "Wait, girls buy guys drink in the US? We don't do that here, we're British!" Which obviously explained a lot, not to mention was just quite amusing in general.
Nothing quite so epic has been said since, but it has been an interesting weekend. We needed an Orange store--which is a mobile place that I got my phone at and Cat got her new sim card at, to do what is called a "top-up". Since they are pay as you go phones you have to add minutes on and she had run out. This meant a trip to High Street, only we learned that the tube was closed for the weekend and we had to do a lot of walking. On our way we ran into a protest, that in light of The Holy Rosenbergs was quite interesting. It was, on either side of the street, Jewish people yelling across to Palestinians. It was all very civil as far as protests go, but still quite interesting.
We couldn't find the Orange store, but I did find the H&M and we did a little shopping there which was our first true shopping experience here in England. It isn't much different then the US except the sizes. It was a bit interesting to work out sizes in comparison from the US, but I think I've figured out that I am about a 12 to 14 in UK sizes and wear a size 4 to 5 in shoes. So not too different but enough that it was a pain to figure out.
After we had lunch at a great little place called Wagamama, which Cat and I had gone to with Shelby and Kayla earlier in the week and keep finding that their food is ridiculously delicious. They are a sort of Japanese restaurant that is more like--Applebee's style in America (though even that comparison isn't quite right). They serve noodle dishes and gyoza and edamame, both of which were delicious (even Kayla thought so!) and I would not be surprised if we go again.
After that Cat was determined to see the Kensington Palace (or the Enchanted Palace) and I was happy to go with her. I had not been all that interested in it, but I have to say it was fairly amazing. Cat put it best by saying "It was like a fairy tale". Each room was themed in a different style and a different real-life princess with their story over-exaggerated in a fairy tale like style. You were supposed to try and guess who each room belonged too by the clues left behind and by asking the people placed in each room.
Truly the entire area is actually quite amazing. A small little pond just outside the palace had ducks, swans, and geese (both proper geese and UK geese) that were completely lax about all the humans rummaging around. Back home I would never even THINK about walking up to a swan or for that matter a Canadian goose; there are too many stories we have all heard about their nasty temperament and how mean they can be, but--and I kid you not--these geese and swans would swim right up to you. One man was LITERALLY feeding swans out of his hand with no repercussions. We actually plan on going back to do the same later this upcoming weekend just because it's so unusual (and honestly, it looks fun!).