The next week I took off for New York where I had 3 days of corporate training, before heading off to London. I've spent so little time in New York City in my life... Only once before have I stayed the night there, and never two nights, I spent as much time out and about as I could spare.
I was staying in a hotel half way between Central park and Times
Square, and walking from there to the IBM building, even closer to Central Park. The class kept us pretty busy, and the city was recovering from the huge snow storm that had shut everything down for about 3 days, but it was still wonderful to be there. I walked to the Rockefeller Center and went to the "Top of the Rock" and viewed the city. Unfortunately, I wasn't out and about any daylight hours, but I did walk over to Times Square late at night, and that was crowded as day time and bright as day too. Those were the touristy things I did. I did eat some pizza, and have a hot dog too ;-).
I did happen to see Donald Trump as the IBM building is on the other end of the block from the Trump Tower. The last morning I was walking to work and the sidewalk was all shut down.. I was a bit annoyed as I had to cross the street to the other side to get by, when I realized there were about 4 black limos and a bunch of security guys running around. Then the guy next to me yelled "Hello, Donald" and I looked up and he was getting out of his car and going in... He looked and waved.... NOW, I have seen New York!
So people have asked why I didn't stay another day in New York to visit, but I was heading from New York to London and chose to have the extra day there rather than here. I left Friday evening from New York and 6 hours later at 10 am arrived in London. My hotel and the IBM office are very close to the airport so quickly stopped by to check in and grab a nap then took the 1 hour ride into London on the Underground. That day I didn't have too much time, getting to town about 4pm, but my main desire was to ride the Eye, the large ferris wheel prominent on the London skyline. I got into the capsule just at dusk and got to watch the lights of town come up during the hour ride. The Eye is new since I have been to London, but that just made me count back and realize the last time I was in London was 1981 (I was there when Charles and Di were married)... I was kind of shocked by that fact, and then most of my students interjected that was before they were born!
|Foreground : Westminster Cathedral - Middleground : Big Ben - Background : London Eye|
The second day I went into town and spent most of the day at the Tower of London (which remains largely unchanged for the last 1000 years), followed by a "dinner" of scones and clotted cream, and finished with a visit to the Tower Bridge. The Bridge opened it's upper passageways to tourists in 1982, and again... thus I had never been, but recently they renovated the floor of these passageways to incorporate a glass floor... so that's always fun.
Kings Cross Station
|The Coffee Shop that |
Harry Potter was written in.
|Proper English town with row houses, cathedrals, and of course a castle!|
But not to keep an "old dog" down (Ha!). Friday we finished up class at noon and had a pizza party with the class. Then Vivian and I jumped on a train for Windsor to tour the Castle there (The Queen's Winter Residence.
My final weekend in London found me taking a City Cruise Tour down the Thames to Greenwich to the Royal Observatory to stand with one foot in the Eastern Hemisphere and one on the Western Hemisphere. Through geocaching (of course there is a geocache at longitude 00.000) I learned that due to crude methods of measurement (and the fact the the world is not exactly round, and local gravities) that the Prime Meridian line and the Royal Observatory is about 100 meters east of where it should be. So I walked over there to where it was actually longitude 00.000 and took a photo.. although there was nothing there.
Sunday I went into town early to catch the Chinese New Year parade and Celebration at Trafalgar Square, the largest celebration outside of China. The parade was nice, but the square afterward was so crowded you could hardly move. I opted to walk to Covent Garden and the Market there, where, surprise! I found a few more things to buy. Back to the hotel early to pack up and leave to come home the next morning. I felt like I had accomplished enough on the trip and was anxious to get home.
Meanwhile at home, Mike has been skiing 3-4 days a week. Rarely though is it just free skiing on his own. Most of it has been work. He signed up to teach 2 days a week, but due to overflow and need they are calling him in for more. He is loving it and they are loving him. He has many repeat students (which pays him a bit more) and has had a few tell him that they hated past ski class experiences, but loved skiing now that they skied with him. He has also been required to go for a few days to take workshops and testing to get certified with his Level 1 instructor certification. He is off today to Beaver Creek to take his final exam on that. I am jealous as his skills are improving so rapidly and I can hardly get out! I have caught a couple mornings with him though... still love living here.
Nai has been (since November) totally occupied with Basketball. The JV team has only won one game, but they are having fun and he is learning a lot... and playing a lot because there are so few players, they can't afford to let anyone sit out, a benefit of being at such a small school. Most of his friends at larger schools have been cut from the teams. But his last game is this week, then I think he will be stir crazy! He has decided though to try out Baseball, so hopefully that will start soon.
That is all the news around here! My calendar is filling up fast... so I'm sure you will hear from me again shortly! Hope everyone is having as much fun as we are!! Until next time.. Cheerio!