There being no place to sit in the room, we laid on the lumpy bed at the Rama Hotel near Victoria Station in London, clicking through the TV channels. We caught the tail end of the great Spencer Tracy - Katharine Hepburn - Sidney Potier movie "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?" from the 60's. We were still adjusting to jet lag, and the fine accommodations at the Rama weren't helping. (You perhaps remember earlier posts where we discussed toilets all by themselves in a little room? Craming a sink into the little room about where your right shoulder should be when at toilette does not help the situation, at least for big guys like Doug.)
The American dollar doesn't buy much in Great Britain any more. Doug has had this theory that you judge the cost of living somewhere by the cost of beer at the pub. We drank very little beere. At 2USD to 1GBP, money was flying out of our hands like confetti. I decided it was more comforting just to kid myself and not think of our expenses for these two days.
Our EasyJet flight to Toulouse left early Sunday morning, so we spent a little time figuring out logistics, then headed out walking around to see some sights we missed 20 years ago---Trafalgar Square, Covent Garden, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Houses of Parliment, and Camden Town Market. The statue of Alison Lapper in Trafalgar Square commemorates the "resilience of the human spirit". Ms. Lapper, a thalidomide baby born in London in 1964, is 8 months pregnant when depicted in the sculpture. Doug went to the Winston Churchill and War Cabinet Museums while I sat outside and people watched and listened. I occasionally heard English spoken. We rode the double-decker buses like any good tourist should. I most looked forward to feasting on ethnic Indian food during our stay and I had my chicken tiki masalla fix to last awhile.
Checking email messages at the Rama, we were more than pleasantly surprised to learn that some good friends of Doug's sister in Seattle are driving over from Provence to "crack open a bottle of champagne" and celebrate our new life in France. Joan and Drew will be our first 'visitors' in Leran. They have been splitting their time between Seattle and Vaison la Romaine where they have a villa in that most charming town in the Vacluse. As our role models in France for this venture, allowing their brains to be picked along the way, it is only fitting that they be here for the christening.
We're now in Leran and heading this morning to the bank to get a certified check for the transaction. It feels good to be here.