Today we only had one thing planned: yum cha with Noel and Markus. I was thankful for this, even though London is only a few hours ahead of Toronto I’d felt jet lagged last night, and managed to sleep in until mid-morning. I anticipated a few hours of lunch, before catching the train home and having a nap, my idea of a perfect holiday day’s activities.
We’d planned to meet at 13:00 so we left Jackie’s shortly after noon. It was sunny but cool enough to wear our down windbreakers. We walked to the train station. On the way we considered who else we needed to see in London, to invite to lunch: Dan’s cousin, Jo, and our Toronto neighbours, Marcio & Eliano, serendipitously in London this weekend too.
By the time we arrived at the restaurant we needed a table for 9 people. I walked up to the man with the scraps of paper in the front of Golden Dragon, on Gerrard St in Chinatown and he wrote down my name, and told me to come back when everybody was here. Chinatown and yum cha rules are the same the world over: your party has to be present before consideration for a table, unless you’re my Dad and know the waitstaff and you just walk right in to find an empty table.
Lunch was good. We had ordered plenty of food, but it was enough. Jo wanted to try every new dish but chickened out when she realised her chicken’s foot was a chicken’s foot, and put it back. We caught up with Noel, who I’ve not seen since he moved to London, seven years ago.
After lunch we all walked to a nearby Italian dessert shop and had coffees and cakes. Annabel’s girlfriend, Evie, joined as as we were leaving and we all meandered about, window shopping. Noel saw my Uniqlo jacket (that I’ve worn all week) and said he’d had a red one. Perhaps London stocked red ones, when NYC didn’t? We traipsed up to the Uniqlo. They had the same stock as New York. We stumbled into a Desigual where Anabel was excited to announce she had a 10% discount card, but nobody bought anything. At Oxford Circus we spilt up; Marcio & Eliano wanted to walk Oxford St, the girls had to go home, and I realised that we had no time for an afternoon nap before meeting Raul for dinner, something we’d changed from tomorrow night to tonight… at 19:00.
In the two hours break between lunch and dinner Noel and Markus were hospitable and let us collapse on their couch in their apartment, serving hot tea and biscuits (chocolate-covered McVites).
It was so good to see Rahul. I had no idea he’s moved to London for a two-year neuroradiology fellowship. His wife, Kezra, hasn’t travelled over yet so we were sad not to see her this trip. We caught up on the last two year’s of things we’d missed in Perth. Dan and Rahul compared travel experiences and planned itineraries. Now I’m sure Daniel will insist that we try an African safari too (thanks, Rahul). We ate a small but filling selection of food at an Indian tapas place, Dhoom.
Horse Meat Disco
After dinner we caught that Piccadilly Line to Green Park then another line South to Vauxhall. As it was about to leave the next station (we were only a few stops away) the announcement said, “Train to Angel Box, next stop Green Park”. We dashed off, not realising that we’d come from Green Park and it was probably a mistake announcement. We weren’t the only ones. Grumbling there were several other passengers who got back on the next train to continue South.
The Eagle, like similarly named gay bars elsewhere globally was painted black and filled with men with beards. I stood out but Marcio, bearded, blended in. We sat, chatted and had a few drinks as the space evolved form relatively empty to pleasantly full. Daniel started to fall asleep so we headed back to the trains, before they turned into pumpkins. No more hour of night bus. At dinner Dan had messaged another of his Mum’s family friends, Pauline, and suggested we catch a train 90 minutes out of London tomorrow to Salisbury and have lunch. He asked me for permission/my input into the idea after it had been arranged. I had no idea Stone Henge was so close! Hopefully I’ll get to achieve a bucket list item.
We’ve got home “early” (only 1 am) to get some sleep. It’s going to be a big week of sociasiing.