Thursday, November 23, 2006

On the Streets of London

I'm on a short trip to London for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Unfortunately, due to trying to travel light (just one carry-on bag and nothing else), I didn't bring my camera. So as of yet I don't have any pictures to share.

I do, however, have some thoughts. They're not as interesting as pictures, perhaps, but sorry, that's all I've got right now.

I'm not sure why, but for some reason even though London is an international mix of people from all over the world, they all generally dress in the same dark color scheme. When looking at a busy city sidewalk or a packed subway car (called "the underground" or "the tube") it's nothing but a sea of black and navy blue. I'll have to try to get a picture of it just so you can see I'm not exagerating. Last time I was here I had brought along my bright yellow goretex rain coat (since it does rain a lot here) and made a note of trying to spot someone else who was also wearing some colorful jacket. Over the course of a day walking the city's streets, I saw just one other person wearing a jacket that wasn't a dark blue, black or brown. It's a national phenomena.

I arrived in London in the mid-afternoon and grabbed a quick bite to eat at Pret A Manger. It's a chain of sandwhich shops that seem to be everywhere in the city. In all the times I've been to London, I've always noticed these shops but had never actually eaten at one. Today when I finally did, I was pleasantly surprised. All their sandwichs are made from all natural ingredients, fresh each day on location and they taste great. They even have a vegetarian selection. They also have vegetarian soup which was great. Plus, at the end of the day, any left-over sandwiches are donated to the homeless. They average donating 12,000 meals each week! I also greatly enjoyed reading their napkins. This is what is printed on it:

"This ugly brown napkin is made from 100% recycled stock (pretty white napkins are bleached which can result in environmentally damaging toxic waste). If Pret staff get all serviette-ish and hand you huge bunches of napkins (which you don't need or want) please give them the evil eye. Waste not want not."

I only received two napkins, so I didn't give the girl behind the counter an evil eye...

After eating, we went to the Science Museum where there is a history of video games feature going on called Game On. They have all sorts of classic video game machines and home arcade systems set up for hands-on playing. It was very interesting to see all in one place the evolution and progression of the machines. They even have one of my favorite arcade machines there - Discs of Tron. I haven't played that game in years, but I did manage on my first playing here at the museum to get the furthest I've ever gotten on this game and surprisingly got to enter my initials for the highest score on the machine. There were all sorts of extra details about the making of some of the games - so it was a very interesting exhibit. Unfortuntely, by the time we finished up at the video game exhibit, the museum was closing for the day, so we didn't get to see anything else.