We flew to London through Doha, Qatar on Qatar airways which was great. We had a 5-hour layover and so paid to use the first class lounge. There we had food, drinks, and free Internet access. We watched Matrix Reloaded and relaxed. It was worth the money. In London we stayed at the Langorf Hotel (NW3) about 30 minutes by underground from the city center.
We ate 2 nights in Chinatown where the Chinese New Year celebrations were at there peak. We ate Japanese at Tokyo Diner. Of course we had to have fish and chips so we stopped at St. James pub for lunch. Other food we ate was hit and miss but all the beer I drank was great. We visited the "Ye Olde Cheshire and Cheese" on Fleet Street which is one of London oldest pubs. It was rebuilt after the great fire in 1666 so it has been around from sometime before then. But the basement, where we enjoyed our beer and Sticky Toffee Pudding, was not destroyed in the Great Fire and so was the only part of the original structure. We also visited "The Tipperary" across the street which is the first Irish pub to open outside of Ireland! My dad would have loved it.
We hopped aboard the Big Bus Tour double decker bus and cruised around the city. Terry loved the ride and eagerly listened to the live commentary. I loved getting off the bus and spending some time at the actual sites like speakers corner in Hyde Park, Temple church, and St. Paul's Cathedral. Walking to Temple Church we passed hordes of camera crews at the High-court of London. Paul McCartney's divorce hearings were going on. Unfortunately we didn't see Sir Paul, but he was inside. We saw the London Eye but decided it wasn't worth the wait or the money. We also past on Westminster Abby since they wanted 10 pounds (approx. $20 US) for non-worshippers to enter and had a no photography policy to boot. Made me wonder how the already extremely rich catholic church managed to build and maintain the abby before they had deep tourists pockets to pick. So instead we visited the Temple Church and gave our voluntary donation (the way it should be).
We took a chance and saw the brand new "Lord of the Rings" musical. It sucked. It couldn't decide if it wanted to be a drama, a musical, or a "cirque de soleil" production. The story was straight from movies part 1 through part 3, which were of course great, but the play brought nothing new to the story. The music lyrics were indecipherable, the music was unmemorable, and the performances were high school-ish at best. The two best elements were the costumes which were amazing, and the old school theatrical effects. The later were ruined when they tried to mix them with modern effects as well. In contrast the musical "Wicked" was absolutely incredible. The music, lyrics, performances, costumes, sets, story line, everything about the play was spectacular.
So after exactly 1 year and 10 days of traveling and moving around, Terry and I finally returned to Kauai on Valentine's Day. It is great to be back. We had big plans, visit the beach, do Dinner out to celebrate Valentine's Day. But we crashed and slept until morning. The next day we started were we left off, we had our morning coffee with Anne. Our trip to Africa was fantastic. Between being on our own, joining tours, camping, staying at 5-star resorts, sand boarding, and safaris, we had a lot of diversity in our 30 days. We enjoyed traveling with our Canadian friends Dave and Namita again. But now we are home and plan to lay low for a bit. Thanks to all for keeping up with our journals and for the comments!