Tuesday, June 15, 2004
London with Georgie
I'd just flown in from France, and I was catching a flight the next day back to Vancouver. I'd arranged to meet George in central London, and the plan was we'd hang out in the city centre and stay at my old stomping ground, Hotel St. Simeon in South Kensington so he wouldn't have to trek back to his flat in East London.
'Twas a bit easier said than done, since I hadn't written down his mobile number, and it was still in an e-mail I couldn't retrieve because the terminals were down at the internet cafe. Meanwhile, he and a friend headed over to the hotel to find me, but I'd checked in already and was at an internet cafe a few tube stops away, trying to find a way to contact him! By the time the terminals were back up again, I'd gone looking round for another internet cafe, couldn't find one, then gave up. I should've just used the BT phonebox that had a browser, but I had run out of coins, I'd already paid for time at the cafe, and was not about to pay the ridiculous amounts BT charges to use the browser! So, I e-mailed until I could reach him, and we arranged to rendezvous at Oxford Circus.
I hadn't seen him for a while, so was happy to find him looking dapper and well. He was stationed with a friend and some of her friends at CVO, a fireplace showroom that had a restaurant. Yeah, a concept place. Rather chic with price tag to match -- a central London price tag, that is. By the time I got there, several people were already on their way to getting off their gourd, if not there already. One girl I never even saw, since she'd wandered off to the loo before I arrived, and had to be sent home in a taxi. The final bill came to a whopping several hundred pounds sterling -- yikes! Luckily, mine was only about 40 or so of that, but I'd only had a couple of glasses of wine, a couple bottles of water, and shared a plate of crudites and antipasto with George. But, to give you an idea, a bottle of Norwegian VOSS water was £2.50.
George and I stayed up super late, chatting and printing off photos, and morning came far too early. He had to get a tie for work and promised to return to accompany me on the tube to Zone 3 to Heathrow before he had to go. I waited as long as I could, but he was running late, so I headed off to Gloucester station, hoping to bump into him on the way. I caught up with George after going through the turnstiles, and we were able to get in more chat-time before he jumped out at the end of Zone 3, tie in hand...
It's so good to catch up with friends in this day and age when the only thing separating you from them is a flight. Now, if only those of us in North America had more holiday time, we could do it more often.