Wednesday, 23 March 2011

The one from the first 48 hours in the UK

After 3 days in Phoenix and 3 in Georgia we boarded our British Airways flight to London!  Our 8 hours in the air was filled with On-Demand movies (so cool!) where we got to choose between HP 7, Love and Other Drugs, The King's Speech, Black Swan, True Grit, and 127 Hours - what a line up!!!  Through customs we went and instead of saying, "We will be here for a week," we had to say, "Well, we are moving"  Our driver (thank you Ernst and Young) took us through a scenic drive of the city and we quickly marveled at Big Ben, Westmister, and Buckingham Palace (and the changing of the guard), through the window of our car.

We arrived at our temporary accommodations in Southwark (Flat 43, MyBase1, 130 Webber Street, London, SE1 0JN) and began the settling in process.  This consisted of an email home, a warm shower, and a 4 hour nap!  We woke in time to head down to 'the cut' (yes, that's the name of one of the main streets) and found a delicious Italian restaurant for our first culinary adventure of the trip.  Luckily we happened to stumble into a beautiful white table cloth establishment, with some amazing true Italian cuisine.  We met our first 'british friend' - a middle aged 40 something from Wales (you have to love how close they seat you next to your fellow diners in Europe).  He informed us of the many ins and outs of the area, and wished us well on our adventures.  After dinner, we headed down the road to our local pub - the Stage Door - where we had a few pints, and read our first English newspaper.  Believe it or not, Britney Spears still makes headlines here as well.  We stopped at our local market on the way home for some 'home supplies', which included a couple of Newcastle beers, Haribo gummy bears (yay!), and Shayne's new love...butterkist popcorn.  We also attempted to get some coffee creamer for our morning coffee, but ended up with something that closely resembles a cross between sour cream & churned butter.  Hey, you live you learn.  More experimenting needed.  We ended our day with a lovely viewing of a great american classic film - Waterworld!  Who doesn't love a good Costner flick.

We arose on Tuesday at the brisk morning hour of 13:00.  For those of you following at home, that's one in the afternoon.  Jake kept waking up, and smiling as Shayne was still a sleeping beauty!  It's not often that she stays in bed past 7:00am.  The day started with a lovely medley of Coffee & Butter cream (note: cup of coffee not finished by either party), a french baguette, apricot jam & some delicious cheese.  After  'brunch' we headed to the local hardware store for our first electrical adapter purchases (more to come we're sure).  We headed back to the flat to square away our finances, and wrote down some google map directions for the jaunt to the bank.  Sure we got lost, but we ended up on the right street eventually, it just might not have been the 'most efficient route'.  We got our UK bank accounts set up (thank you Lisa from NatWest bank!) and boarded the Tube (MIND THE GAP!) for a trip to one of our neighborhood's of interest - Islington/Angel.

Shayne would like to add (in reference to Islington - AMAZING!!!! - We're doing it!!!)

The Islington/Angel area was fantastic.  We walked up and down Upper Street & Liverpool Road, and found some amazing pubs, restaurants, shopping & culture.  We stopped in The Angelic pub for a round, and Shayne found Bulmers Cider on tap!  This is definitely our first choice so far for future living scenarios.  Granted, we've only visited one neighborhood...but trust was a hell of a neighborhood.

Favorite London Moment #1:  Flash Mob opera at the King's Head Pub (Islington, Upper Street, 19:00)  Let us describe further... Sitting in a quaint little pub just off upper street.  Two beers ordered (London Pride & Staropramen).  Pub is packed like a can of sardines.  All of a sudden, a man begins to sing.  Next, a nice young lady (who had just propositioned us to buy used CDs & looked homeless) joined in.  We soon realize, that the majority of patrons who had been drinking around us, were all joining in the musical performance one by one.  We asked ourselves, are we the only ones in here that aren't a part of this performance?!?  Yes, we decided.  Well us, and the drunk homeless man who snuck in for the viewing.  We are in the middle of a Flash Mob Opera.  Unforgettable indeed.

We headed back towards the tube, and caught the northern line to London Bridge station, with a quick transfer to the Jubilee line back home to Southwark.  We headed down 'the cut' to a local place our 'british friend' told us about.  The Culture Grub chinese restaurant.  We are talking, a massive plate of incredible chinese food for all of 5 pounds.  When you come visit, we will probably be taking you here.  Granted again, we have eaten at all of 2 restaurants to date, but both have been fabulous, and this one was an amazing deal.

We are now back in our flat enjoying a Newcastle, a Bulmers, and round two of Butterkist popcorn.  Who knows, maybe Field of Dreams is showing tonight.

Day 2 lesson learned:  Coffee creamer = Coffee Whitener.  No butter coffee tomorrow!


  1. OMG! I am so proud of you guys for starting a blog this quickly. Of course you were present for the flashmob. That was Seamus reminding you that even the British are up for a "dance off." I absolutely love the stories already and am glad you both are out exploring the city. Definitely will be checking in for updates.
    Love you both to pieces. Miss you even more.

  2. What an experience; I'm thrilled you've taken this opportunity--try out the Long Island Iced Tea Shoppe some night; great little bar/club at Leicester least almost a decade ago when I was there!

  3. My favorite part was the "shout out" to Ernst and Young. Gotta do it, right? Glad you guys are having fun. Still waiting on the crumpet, Shayne...

  4. So excited to follow your blog and read all about your big adventure. Only the two of you would find a flash mob in a neighborhood pub Day 2 - gotta love that!!!! Are you telling me Shayne that Jake stayed awake for the movies ... I'm havin a hard time with that.

    Thought of you often yesterday as I sat NOT being called while waiting to be released from jury duty ...

    And oh yeah - loved my mirror message Mr. Jake. I needed it yesterday after waking up and realizing you all weren't here ...

    Love you both so much and could not be more proud of both of you ...

  5. love this! I'm starting to freak out so this is helping....a lot. Do you have a mobile set up yet? Email me the number and we'll make plans soon after we arrive!

  6. Finally had time to read this. It's wonderful! I have something filing next week while being slammed on something else. I am sure glad to know they sent you a driver when you arrived. Keep in touch and I look forward to following your blog adventures. I am heavily plugging for your Cats this week. I sure hope they beat that team I despise. Would be nice to see them play SDSU with a trip to the Final Four on the line. I'm sure you could make a few "friendly wagers" with some people you know in SD if that comes about. Have fun.

  7. Yeah Jakers and Shayne... Thank you for posting this blog!! I cant wait to hear all about the exciting things yall will be doing!! Take care!!

    Matt, Jess, Jaxon, and Zoey

  8. This makes me SOOO happy! I can't wait to hear all your crazy stories! I love that Haribo gummi bears were one of the first purchases across the pond...well done. And it doesn't surprise me at all that you found a flash mob on your second's like Shout House- London style! Miss you guys tons! LOVE YOU!!!


  9. Hoot! No shame in taking the long way home... it's bound to happen a few more times, at least. I talked to Suz last night and we are already hatching a plan to vist you this summer/early fall. I just got to get a tourist visa sorted out for Eunice!! Heh. Awesome job on being bloggernauts... how about a photo? Kiss, kiss. Cxx.

  10. Once again you kiddos amaze me!! 48 hours into your new home away from home and so many funny stories to share! London watch out..two of the best people on earth have arrived, things may not be the same for the Englanders(people who live in England) who get to spend time with Shayne and Jake!! Of course you two were in the middle of a "Flash Mob", I can only imagine on your adventures throughout Europe you both will probably be "DANCING" in the next one!! Have you ran into Harry Potter yet! Oh yeah, "That is just a movie" Thanks for the blog, it is really heartwarming to read your adventures. I love you both tons, miss you lots of tons. Carry on with gusto!!! XOXO

  11. AH-MAZING! So happy you guys are starting this blog! PLEASE keep sharing your adventures... it still amazes me that somehow you guys always end up in the middle of the most incredible, funny experiences. Always laughs with the Singletons! And I agree with Chase... pics please!!!!!!!!!!