London

I went for quick trip to London for day job. Logistically, the trip was pretty challenging, because I’ve never been to London, and the meeting was actually in Brighton, which is 2hr train ride south of London. Anyway, I worked out the details so that landed at dawn on Wednesday, roamed around London, then traveled south by the evening. I worked all day Thursday and then flew back on Friday. That’s the short and sweet version.

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Leaving LA at dawn. LAX to Houston.

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Houston to Heathrow was pretty empty. I got a whole row to stretch out and nap.

As I sat in the middle seat on an overbooked flight, I counted my blessing that my traveling neighbors are polite and slim. I watched most of Birdman, which I loved. I think I was in the perfect mood for it. Michael Keaton does crazy well. I love Ed Norton. And Emma Stone. She was great. Fun plot. The connection in Houston was suppose to suppose to be 50 minutes, but ended up an all out sprint. My seat neighbor was more nervous for me than I, but there wasn’t much I could do about it. The replanting process is so slow.  I would have liked to have bought snacks for the long haul to London. But cest la vie. My run training came in handy. The flight was already boarding group 3. I was a sweating mess from hauling ass across Bush International Terminal C from Gate 39 to 16. I’m sure I got my mile run in.

The international flight was cool. Empty in the cheap seats in the back. I watched the Grand Budapest Hotel. Excellent movie. I was in the prefect mood for that too. I love Ralph Fiennes and Ed Norton again. Swinton is great. The directing and style was so cool. I could lay flat across 3 center seats. I forced myself to sleep a bit. It was pointless. Too bumpy to sleep so I watched Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Pretty good movie. I liked it. Good bad guys on both sides. I brushed my teeth and got ready for a fun day in London on a half hour of sleep.

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As the plane circled the city, the sun just start to split the sky. Beautiful dawn colored the Thames. It felt like the Disneyland Peter Pan ride with the Thames and lights.

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Wow Vitoria Station is huge. It felt a lot like Tokyo Station, but all on one level and more historic. But, there were thousands of people buzzing through. All the men were buttoned up in their black suits and nice shoes. The ladies all dressed up too. It was 37°F at 8am. First thing at Victoria Station was talking to the train ticket lady and make sure I had the ticket to Brighton and the time tables right. I stashed my very large bag at the Left Luggage spot and then hopped on the Double Decker Tour bus by 8:30am. 3 hour tour around the city of London. That includes the morning traffic. I was thrilled for the first hour, listening to the recorded tour and taking pictures around town. Then, I was over it. The same old buildings of famous dead guy. but, maybe I was just getting hungry.

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Elementary my dear Watson. The real Baker street.

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National Gallery at Trafalgar Square.

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Millenium Eye. Big Ben. Parliament.

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Tate Modern. Tulley, Picasso.

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Tower of London. Tower Bridge.

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I walked across the Millennium footbridge with my Strava on. That should catch a few cycling buddies off guard. The. I decided to walk down to the Tower bridge. And Tower of London. The City of London has so many centuries of history; it’s amazing. The city is short with small blocks. No sky scrapers in the city center. I started falling asleep on the tour bus with my ear buds in with the pre-recorded tour and soothing patriotic music blaring.

I bought souvenirs for the kids. Picked up my bags and headed down to Brighton. The train ride was smooth. I was really drifting off at this point. When another train in the opposite direction passed by it caused a pressure pop and I jumped every time. The countryside and ‘burbs were so less glitzy than Kensington and Chelsea. Reality really.

Fortunately Brighton is the end of the line and I got off.  It was sunny and crisp. A short walk to the hotel. I woke up nicely at about 5pm. I decided to go for a run along the beach. It was sunny and crisp. The beach was pebbles really, not even close to sand. There was a quaint board walk, Ferris wheel, put put golf. I was running easy with the wind and worked up a sweat. On the return it was a head wind and freezing cold as the sun went down.

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Showered. That felt good. A couple days overdue. Nice dinner nearby at Browns. Mint julep. Pork chop, poached apple, broccoli, and mashed potatoes. People warned me the food would be bland, but I had great food the whole time.

Got up early and went for run before business meeting. I took the local train to Portslade for full day of meetings and testing.

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Alex at Portslade beach

I met a couple guys from the meeting for a true English pub dinner. Pictures below. As we walked to a local restaurant, they pointed out an original Banksy, the notable graffiti artist.

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I got up early the next morning and took trains and trains to get to planes.

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Long day of connections to get back to LA. Plane was too bumpy to sleep or read. So I watched 3 movies: Foxcatcher. Channing Tatum as a wrester and Steve Carrel as DuPont. Weird uneven movie. SPOILER: the shooting at the end made no sense. American Hustle. Christian Bale. Love him and his big ‘ole belly. Amy Adam. hot hot hot. Bradley Cooper fun. Jennifer Lawrence is great a wild card. Interstellar. Christopher Nolan’s epic space exploration. Some pretty good twists to keep you going. SPOILER: Matt Damon had a deliciously villainous role.

I got off the plane in LA, 80F. Ahhh. I love coming home.

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UPDATE:

Several people asked how the food was. I actually had a good set of food in my short time in England.

In Victoria Station I had a fresh organic salad. In Brighton, I had a big porkchop dinner with a mint julep .

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The hotel breakfast at Ibis was a yummy French breakfast. Eggs, croissant, Nutella, yogurt with raspberry puree, fresh fruits, juices, and latte.

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Dinner in Brighton was a traditional English pub with a milehigh burger. The beer was from a local brewery that is older than America. Delicious.

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