Tuesday, December 28, 2010

It’s a Boys, Boys, Boys’ London Town

Since our Christmas plans got first maimed by Heathrow’s inability to handle the snow and then obliterated via mechanical failure by Delta’s plane, we are doing our best to make some lemonade out of the lemons we’ve been handed. And I don’t just mean walking away from all this with a valuable lesson learned about never travelling over the Christmas. Nor retaining the other valuable lesson learned (not by just us, but by thousands of stranded travellers that got screwed out of Christmas this year by the airlines/airports of London) to never travel to or from England during the winter.

So, now that we are celebrating Christmas in the UK and trying to make the best of it in light of the fact that our presents will not be arriving from the States for at least a week or two…. We got off our lazy duffs (after licking our wounds for a day by watching lots of movies and playing video games) to head into London to see the Christmas lights and maybe even get a little culture. I know! Culture!!

We set out with one question on our mind: Could London handle the Furious Five??


The train ride into Waterloo station went pretty well, with only a couple warnings being handed out for an overly vigorous game of rock, paper, scissors.  The underground Central line was blessedly empty of passengers, so the boys were able to each hang onto their own poles, which gave them much pleasure while I smirked uncontrollably every time one of them cried, “No, I want my own pole!!” A rare instance where I was thankful they were all boys: the sight of my daughter, no matter the age, swinging around a pole with such delight and abandon would’ve been a little … disturbing. IMG_4460

The escalators were another point of exhilaration for the boys.  Honestly, I think the train rides and the escalators were their favorite part of the whole trip! Next time I’ll have to work a double-decker bus into the travel plans, too. Their heads will explode from the excitement of it all.

Our first stop once in Town (I love that this English tradition of calling London “Town” continues on!) was the British Museum.  I was excited to show the boys the Egyptian collection because it was an area of obsession during my youth.  I was so into Egyptology in 6th grade that I actually wrote an entire book in hieroglyphs. Yes, I was that kind of nerd.

I couldn’t get the boys to stay still long enough to read many of the placards on mummified cats or to examine the various gods and goddesses and the forms they took, but the scarab beetles and some of the more colossal statues really got their attention.

IMG_4424 IMG_4428


I made everyone pose by this giant fist. What better photo op for the Furious Four?

At one point I heard CC start to giggle, then Destructo, and when I spotted them, all three boys were gathered in front of a glass case pointed and laughing like hyenas. I walked up and asked what was going on and saw this:


Destructo ran away as I approached, crying out, “Look! He’s constricted!! You can see his wiener!!!” I have no idea what he means by constricted. Maybe uncircumcised? I quickly decide that this is not a conversation I want to pursue and we moved on to the Africa exhibits.

IMG_4435Being a glutton for punishment, I can’t help but immediately point out the ginormous set of balls on one of the African statues.  What is wrong with me??

<----I don’t think you can see them, but the statues in the background have testicles as big as their heads. WTH?

From the museum, we moved to a Starbucks across the street so Mommy and Daddy could re-charge with some caffeine and my first Peppermint Mocha of the season (yum!!) and the boys could get some much needed drinks.

Random Rant: Can somebody please explain to me why drinking fountains are so hard to find in England? I just don’t get why they are impossible to find or just not installed anywhere. It makes me crazy.IMG_4444

After our rest-stop, we headed back to the tube where, at 4:45, there were about a million more people now on the trains. Fortunately, we only had one stop to go to get to Oxford Circus where we were headed to see the lights and do a little shopping. I couldn’t take a photo because of the tight space, but, quite literally, we were so packed into the train that we didn’t have to hang on to the poles or anything because we were crushed between bodies. The boys thought it was hilarious.

When we got off at the next stop it was dark already, so the lights were looking fab over Regent and Oxford Streets.  Nobody seemed impressed but be, however.  *eyeroll*  I brought them to Carnaby Street, hoping the space theme would make some kind of impression on the young heathens, but, alas, it did not.  I thought they were very cool, though, and snapped some photos with the  ol’ Hipstamatic. Again, I was foiled in my attempts to get some quality time in the Camper and Irregular Choice stores.  I’m beginning to think, despite my desire to possess them, that wacky shoes are just not part of the program for me…



After some lovely winter strolling, we paid our respects to Hamley’s, celebrating 250 years of toy sales!, then made a stop for mulled wine and some recon on dinner. 007 and I were having such a lovely time over our drinks that we didn’t even bother discouraging the game our young lads had come up with to pass the time. The one where the standing two younger ones tried to kick the holy bejeezus out of the eldest one, who easily deflected each kick because of his seated posture. Warmed by our libations, we laughed at our ridiculously loud and outgoing American family and only chided them when they almost collided with glaring passers-by. Aaahhh, good times…


Any references inferred or implied from the sign behind us are purely coincidental and accidental.

I managed to come up with a plan to go to Wagamama (a japanese noodle joint), located the nearest restaurant (only four blocks away!) with my iPhone and then mapped the walking instructions with the iMap feature. Technology at it’s finest, folks!

It was an even bigger hit with my ramen-noodle-lovin’ kids than I could’ve hoped for. They went absolutely mad for it! From the chopsticks, to the gyoza, to the family-style table seating, to the freshly squeezed apple juice (?), to the giant bowls of ramen and udon noodles, they loved absolutely everything about the place. From there we dragged our well-fed bones to the tube station and then on to the Waterloo Station to catch our train back home.

It was such a delightful day that it made our not being in Florida seem not so bad for awhile and renewed our faith in the boys’ ability to be brought out in public. Certainly a Christmas miracle!

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