Monday, June 08, 2009

Family Time!

My older sister and brother-in-law are visiting from Hong Kong, so I had fun playing "tourist" with them around Central London. Unfortunately, Keenan and I may have missed our "UK summer" while we were on holiday in Turkey -- Londoners had two weekends of sunshine and 70+degrees! No fair; why does the sun have to come out while we are away? It's back to typical London weather now, aka overcast and light showers.

However, last Thursday turned out to be a decent day for sightseeing. We started off the day at the Borough Market for some yummy chorizo sandwiches, then strolled along the Queen's Walk to the Tower Bridge.

Here's a photo of me being "emo" as my sister played with her new camera:

We headed across the bridge to the Tower of London -- full of school-aged children on field trips. Hungry again, I suggested lunch at El Vergel for cheap and tasty Latin food on the Southbank. It's one of many fun things about playing host -- making visitors try restaurants you've been meaning to go to.

Next off to the Tate Modern for an awesome view of St. Paul's Cathedral and the Millenium Bridge from the 7th floor cafe, then to the London Eye, Big Ben, and ended our walk at Trafalgar Square. I haven't walked this much in a very long time. After resting our poor feet at Waterstone's (it's our Borders here in the UK), we made our way to Bond Street Station to meet up with Keenan for dinner at South Indian restaurant called Rasa. The last time I had proper Keralan food was with our good friend Mina over two years ago while visiting Cochin, India. The appam and savory coconut-clad fish dishes did not disappoint.

The next fews days involved shopping -- a lot of shopping. If you are on holiday with my sister expect to shop til you drop. Literally. Friday morning started off on Sloane Street and Harrod's (while it's crowded, it's a must-see), a quick detour to see Buckingham Palace, then to Old Bond Street where she was on a hunt for a pair of "champagne - colored" pumps, then to Selfridges, and TopShop on Oxford Street. Before that, I had to take them to Golden Hind, supposely one of London's best fish-n-chips restaurant in lovely Marylebone. It was quite nice in fact! You would think we had enough shopping for the day, but nope, we continued our day of shopping at the new Westfield Mall at Shephard's Bush. I'm telling you -- shop til you drop! We had dinner with Albert's old family friend who lives in Oxford at a nearby Italian restaurant and then went back to Clapham.

Still on the hunt for those pumps on Saturday, Keenan and I skipped out on what would be my third consecutive trip to Old Bond Street in three days. I passed on this one and met up with them at the Royal Festival Hall for dinner at Canteen, so - so modern British comfort food.

It was great spending time with my family! They are now in Italy; first to Venice, then Florence, and Rome where we'll be meeting them this Friday for a little Roman Holiday. And the forecast in London is 70F and partly cloudy for the weekend? How cruel is that? Let's hope for another brief UK summer. We'll be in town all summer, so sun, please be kind to us and come out every so often.

Love from the U.K.,

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