We got up bright and early today at around 7. Well, I was fast asleep having woken up only once briefly during the night. All of a sudden there's something poking at me, and it's Patti going "come on, it's late, let's get up!". Max was sound asleep too, but we all got up (reluctantly) feeling much refreshed from the previous day's wake-fest.
We walked over to Victoria Station, picking up some coffee, juice and rolls along the way, where we caught one of those double-decker sightseeing buses.
The bus makes a 2-hour tour of the city, and you can get on and off anywhere you want during a 24-hour period. It also includes a cruise down the Thames, but we probably won't have time to use it. The buses have either a live English-speaking tour guide who narrates as you tour the city, or a recorded presentation in many languages. Ours was the latter variety, so while the others listened in English, I listened in Italian, and understood maybe 50% of what was said (lots of dates make it easier to catch up tho...).
It's gorgeous out today -- the sun is shining and it's warm. Lauren fell asleep during part of the tour, and Max looked vaguely bored. Patti was thrilled though. After we went all the way around Hyde Park, through Baker Street, the Theatre District, and Picadilly Square, we reached Westiminster, where we got off.
We had been hoping to go on an 11 AM tour of the British Museum, and we were running behind, so we caught a cab. Partway there, the driver informed us he'd heard on the radio that the British Museum went on their first strike in history today (I thought this only happened in Italy!) and so was closed. So we had him take us to the Science Museum instead.
Max was very excited. I'd told him about the exhibity\ they had that showed how everyday things (appliances, plumbing, electrical fixtures, etc.) worked. He was really intrigued by the working toilet and rushed right down to have a look. He wasn't disappointed. He also was quite taken in by a semi-working game of Pong, and we played a couple of games leaving the score tied.
Then we went upstairs to view the printing and papermaking exhibit, and that was about all the kids had left in them. We visited the gift shoppe prior to leaving (v.v.cool).
We intended to hop back on the bus, but weren't in the right spot to catch it. So instead, we took the tube over to Harrod's, had a spot of lunch, and then went to look at the pet store within. There were three Westie puppies chasing each other around that were sooooooo cute. One of them decided to ummm... relieve itself right in front of the window. I was surprised they allowed that type of thing to happen at Harrod's.
From there, we went to the candy section, where Lauren was disappointed that they mostly had chocolate and not the sugary confections she loves the most. But we'll keep looking.
After completing our purchases, we hailed a cab back to our apartment where Patti and Lauren promptly fell asleep (and I worked on this very page). Max read while I wrote.
At 4, we all left the house again, walked down to Victoria Station, and caught the tube to Leichester (pronounced "Lester") Square. We went to meet Patti's childhood friend Marty and his partner Patrick. Marty is a playright and Patrick is a theatre actor and the president of the Actor's Guild, who looks like he just stepped out of an Armani catalog. Both were in London for a conference.
They briefly showed us Leichester Square before walking us over to the theater box offices to get tickets for a couple of shows: The Mousetrap (tonight) and, yes, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (it got good reviews, honest!) tomorrow night.
On our way to dinner we chatted about lots of things... the plays they'd written/been in, 9/11 (both live in New York), London, plays they've seen, ...
Midway through walking between one box office and the next, Patti screamed in horror! She'd lost her Let's Go map ... again! (Yesterday it was "I can't believe I lost this on my first day in London!" Today it was "I can't believe I lost this on my second day in London!" It was destined to be.)
She bucked up and we continued to the box office to get our tickets, and then headed over to Wagamama, an interesting noodle bar in Soho. As I walked in, I remembered that this had been featured on one of Rick Steve's programs.
We had a wonderful time at dinner, chatting about Marty's latest play and Patrick's stint as Pangloss in Candide (one of my favorite musicals). We reluctantly departed at 7:15 as we both had plays to go to.
We taxi'd over to St. Martin's for the Mousetrap, an Agatha Christie murder mystery. We've been sworn to secrecy by the actors in the play, so I can't tell you whodunnit. Sorry.
We had nice seats in the Dress Circle and settled in to watch the play. Max and Lauren both loved it. It was both mysterious and funny. Patti and I both loved it, but had a difficult time staying awake because the jet lag hit the minute we sat down. Following the conclusion of the play, we taxi'd back home where we planned out tomorrow's activities. (We have 10 hours left on our 24 hour bus tour ticket, so we just have to use it!)
Stay tuned for Lauren's Li(n)es... a new feature to be coming soon. Also for photos. Really. I promise.