On almost every intersection, on the pavement is painted “ßLOOK LEFT” or “LOOK RIGHT à” because dad has unknowingly stepped into traffic like so many other Americans. It feels weird having to look the ‘wrong way,’ but you just have to pretend that being a bad pedestrian is the right thing to do, and then you won’t get run over. I still think it’s kind of funny to have advice written on the street. I think they should say other things too. LOOK RIGHT. TIE YOUR SHOES. FLOSS DAILY. CALL GRANDMA. It’d be good for the whole city. We tried to see Wimbledon today, but only got to see the outside of the stadium because there were no tickets available. We had lunch in the town of Wimbledon and surprisingly the tennis wasn’t on TV. Only equestrian. We tubed over to the town of Richmond, which had a big grassy park and a place to play cricket, but we basically walked around and went back to London. It was a nice area, but that was about it. It’s kind of funny how dense the population is here, and how there’s no zoning like we’re used to. You’ll be in a residential neighborhood, and then turn the corner and there’s a huge electronic billboard on the back of an apartment complex.
We went up a monument in memoriam of the great fire of London in 1666 (also a year, like this one, in which people thought the world was ending) that started in a pudding shop. It was 311 steps up or something like that, I wasn’t counting, and had a great view of London. There’s not too many tall buildings, not like a US city, but there’s a few cranes up, and they’re building vertical. We were just killing time because we were going to meet up with Huaiwen at 5. We went to get Chinese food and she laughed at us, coming all this way and eating Chinese food, but honestly I’ve had fish and chips about every other meal. I still don’t get why they call fries “chips.” What are chips then? ‘crisps’ or something? We kind of caught up and she’s doingw ell. She resigned from the Dutch team and is planning to move again, but is not set particularly on where. She gave her all-access pass to her one athelete’s husband so they could enjoy the Olympics together, which was really kind, but now she’s kind of just shuffling around the city be herself. She asked how we were enjoying London, and I hadn’t taken a step back to think about it, so I said I kind of feel like a gopher. You get in the tube and go underground and pop your head out and see something, and then go underground and pop out again; you never really get a feel for where things are. She seems really happy though.
We parted and went to go see the Buckingham Place where the beach volleyball was being played, but you can’t even get near the awesome venue without a ticket. We almost saw a lot of cool venues today; however we did stroll through Trafalgar Square (which is only called ‘square’ because it’s actually a square), Big Ben, parliament, and the outside of Westminster abbey, which we thought was St. Paul’s cathedral at the time, and the beach volleyball is actually at Hyde Park. Obviously we know what we’re doing in this city. We saw the London ‘I’ too, but I really think it looks more like an ‘O.’ They had a “lights show” on the ferris wheel while the sun was setting over the Thames, but it wasn’t much of anything, seriously. It just blinked a little. I suppose the fact that there was no crowd should have been a clue. The police lights zooming through the streets towards the other end of town were more impressive. Btw there are statues and monuments everywhere in this city, new and old.
I feel like I’ve seen everything, but seen hardly anything. There’s so much to see. At least I’m adjusted for the time zone now.