Sunday, June 10, 2007

Weekend in London

London is such an incredible city. When I lived in Germany, I really didn't have a lot of interest in visiting London. I wanted to go to more "exotic" locations like Turkey and Morocco. When I finally did end up in London for a couple of days, I was blown away. This wasn't the bland city that had been rooted in my mind for so many years. There was so much to do. The variety of attractions could keep one busy for a lifetime. (I had similar experiences in New York City and Washington D.C.; I never had a desire to visit, and once I did I couldn't wait to go back).

Walking down the street, the variety in London is amazing. The people on the streets span every area of the globe. I don't know that there is anywhere else in the world where you can walk down the street and see such an incredible variety of cultures. You can get authentic foods from anywhere. London has it all.

So, when my biofuels "hobby" presented an opportunity to spend the weekend in London, I jumped at the chance. Not only did I get a firsthand look at a potential revolutionary new technology, but I had some time to walk around London and see some sights. I don't care too much for big cities most of the time, but London is really addictive. History and impressive architecture everywhere. Bentleys and Ferraris parked out on the street. Wide open green spaces throughout the city. It is an assault on the senses.

At one point, we walked over to Buckingham Palace. I was about to get my picture taken in front of the palace, when my friend pointed. I looked over, and this was what I saw:

Jesse Jackson and Daughter (?) at Buckingham Palace

I almost asked if I could have a picture taken with him, but I figured he probably gets pestered all the time for such things. Besides, I am not exactly a fan.

So, when he walked off, I walked over and had my picture taken in the same spot:

Me at Buckingham Palace 2 Minutes Later

The funny thing about the Jackson sighting is that I would have never noticed had my friend not pointed it out. Whereas my wife has some sort of 6th sense in this area, I am obvlivious. Once, when she took a trip to New York with friends, she spotted Donald Trump on the street and Starr Jones in a Burger King (no joke). She called me on that trip and said "I am standing here with Hugh Jackman!" I said "Huge who?" I didn't know who he was until she said "Wolverine from the X-Men."

I did experience a surreal moment in my hotel lobby. I was reading the international version of Newsweek. The cover story was How to Restore America's Place in the World. Now, I am no fan of George Bush, but as I read that story I found myself becoming a bit annoyed at the airing of our dirty laundry. The article detailed all of America's shortcomings. And I was sitting there, surrounded by people from half a dozen countries, and I was thinking "They probably think all Americans are like the stereotypes." And about that time, half a dozen drunk Americans came up, loud, laughing, and making a scene. I looked around and everyone was staring at them. And I thought "These people will all leave London will their stereotypes about Americans reinforced."

Still, I can't wait to visit again.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

On seeing Robert's picture my immediate reaction was "hey look, it's an engineer!" I wonder if Jesse had the same reaction.

8:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


You were in London, and I was in New York.

I agree with you re London (living here) but find New York at least as stimulating. A city I avoided for many years after some bad experiences in the early 80s, but have found completely changed (richer, but also politer, and far less afraid of, and governed by, crime and the fear of it).

I am glad you are reunited with your family and I hope your health issues are well and truly addressed.

I will regret your posting less, but if it makes you a happier man, and your family a better one, that is an unalloyed good in the universe, vastly outweighing my concerns.

Good luck!



6:23 AM  
Anonymous Ciara said...

I'm doing my eurotrip, currently I'm in Ireland but in next week I'm going to London, hopefully I'll see city in the middle of Olympic Games. Btw. interesting photo:)

7:46 AM  

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