Tuesday, 20 November 2007

When It Rains, It Pours

Well, it had to happen to me eventually while I was over here for these 6 weeks...non-stop rain and a day full of mishaps and roadblocks. I am happy to report, that I think all involved will eventually look back on this day and think it was a great memory...or at least something none of us will ever forget.

Before you read any further, I'm going to add a disclaimer that this is a particularly long post. Unless you are family, you might find it tedious and a bit boring so please don't feel obligated to read!

We had purchased tickets for the double-deck bus tour yesterday and were anxious to get started on the tour and see all the major sights of the city. We headed down to Piccadilly Circus so we could catch the bus at the beginning of the tour to make the most of our day. As I mentioned, it is raining very steadily so we were not able to take advantage of the top deck of the bus (the best place to really view all of the sights). We took the tour over to Westminster Abbey and decided that would be a good place to get off. We toured the Abbey and really enjoyed ourselves...well, Christopher grew somewhat tired of his stroller in there but overall it was fine.

We headed back to the bus stop so we could get back on the tour and ride over to St. Paul's Cathedral. We were also planning on grabbing a quick bite to eat someplace close by once we got over there. So we stood outside...in the rain...and waited for our bus. 50 minutes later we were still waiting and we were wet and hungry. I personally was extremely frustrated that we had paid for this tour that was not living up to its standards. We finally gave up, as we noticed it was now almost 3:00 and St. Paul's closes at 4:00, and decided we should just take the tube over to St. Paul's. So we map out our route and head over to the tube station. Our trip involved just one change on the tube line and that really didn't seem too complicated. Little did we know that we were changing lines at one of London's biggest tube stations. We ended up having to go up and down what seemed like eight rounds of huge tall escalators and winding through the underground hallways. We did all of this at a very quick pace so we could still see St. Paul's before the end of the day. I know this may not seem like much of a hassle, but when you add on the fact that Dr. Fan was also lugging a stroller (that refused to fold up on command) and preggo here, was carrying her 30 pound two year old up and down all these massive stairways, believe me, it was very tiring.

Well, we finally made it and I'm happy to say that we had an hour to spend in St. Paul's, as they don't kick you out until 4:30. Since I have seen the beautiful cathedral before, Christopher and I went to get off our feet and have a snack in the Starbucks just up the road.

So feeling refreshed and a little more upbeat now, we decided to begin our journey home. However, my mom and I were still upset at the fact that we wasted an hour of our day waiting on a bus that was nowhere to be seen. We decided to make a quick stop back at Piccadilly Circus (directly on our way home) to try and get an extra day added to our tour to make up for the afternoon that we felt we lost. Here again, if you know my mother you know how determined she can be in these situations. After somewhat of a goose-chase and talking to three different Original Tour employees at three different places (all of which we walked to in the rain), we were finally given our extra day and we felt very satisfied.

As we made our way back into Piccadilly Station to complete our journey home, I happened to glance at my watch and I noticed that it was now 6:00 p.m. If you are familiar with London at all, you know that Piccadilly is in the heart of Central London and you also know that the vast majority of the people working there rely on the tube to get them home. If you are familiar with big cities at all, you know that 6:00 p.m. is the heart of RUSH HOUR. So here were are: three Americans, one and a half babies, and one stroller being crammed like sardines onto the tube with the entire professional working population of London. If I hadn't already felt so out of place and if I could have actually moved any part of my body to get to my camera, I would have snapped a picture to help capture what this was like for us.

Needless to say, we finally made it home and then enjoyed a nice dinner while we laughed about the adventures of our day. I am so thankful that my parents were here to help me through this one. Had they not been, I feel certain that today might have been a breaking point for me and instead of sitting here posting on this blog, I would be changing my flight to get home as soon as possible.

In honor of the Thanksgiving holiday coming up in a couple of days, I'll close with this:

I am very thankful to be an American and live in America.

More importantly, I am thankful to live in the suburbs where I can drive my car when I want to go someplace and not have to deal with public transportation on a daily basis.


Beth said...

Crazy day. What an adventure to be at Piccadily Station at that time. I remember that place! I saw a news report today about the awful exchange rate in Europe, and it focused on London tourism. I thought of you guys! Can't wait till you come home. Miss you!

Jonna said...

I love the word Picadilly! What a fun word to say over and over again! I'm so jealous of your adventures, and you will have to host a picture viewing party at your pad when you get on home turf!!

The Braaten Family said...

Wow, what a headache! I'm so glad that at the end of the day, you all could laugh at the day's antics over a nice dinner.
And...LOVE LOVE the babywearing photo!

Jerimiah Smith said...

Man, how funny. I wish I had read all these posts earlier. Mom's first experience on the tube truly must have been priceless. I would have paid to see it. I'm so glad you guys are getting to see so many cool things and are able to do it with each other. I'm jealous I'm not there, but know that I am thankful for each and everyone of you on this Thanksgiving day. Talk to you all soon. Love to all.