Street Rock

Ivan and I woke up at 9:30 am on September 27, 2011.  Lil Dave decided to stay home since he had a test for school.  We got the train into London.  Ivan hailed a cab and it took us to Spitalfields Market.  We were doing the Alternative London Tour.  The group consisted of 20 people.  Our guide Gary took us around East London.  He knew a lot about the street art in the area.  He researches the art and updates the tour regularly. 

Street Art from the Alternative London Tour:

We saw lots of cool art in the Spitalfields, Banglatown and Shoreditch areas.  Gary talked about the history of East London and about the street artists.  We went down Brick Lane which is filled with many curry houses.  It was great to see so much street art – there’s many talented artists in London.  This tour was great.  I love seeing street art.  It’s a free tour with donations appreciated. 

It was now lunch time.  Ivan and I each got a falafel and halloumi wrap at Pret a Manger.

We walked around Soho.  Ivan and I each ate a Snog which is the best yogurt in London.. even better than the yogurt places in Vegas.  I think it’s the taste of the all natural and fat free yogurt. 

We checked out the Kidrobot store.  The store has many figures, t-shirts and books for sale.  I wish I could have bought a few, but they’re pricey.

I wanted to check out the new M&M’s World which is at the bottom of the W Hotel in Leicester Square.  Ivan is surprised that they decided to put one in London since M&M’s aren’t very popular in England.  There’s lots of people looking around, but very few people buying things like the colored M&M’s. 


Next, we walked to La Tasca for dinner.  Ivan found a great 2 for 1 tapas deal on the internet.  Ivan and I shared potato bravas, aubergine, bread with cheese and onion on top, fish croquettes, paella, mushrooms and fried fish.  It was a very tasty meal.

It was time to see a musical.  Ivan and I walked to the Dominion Theatre.  We went inside and sat down in the fifth row.  This was going to be my third time seeing We Will Rock You and Ivan’s probably 68th time (he’s lost count actually!).  The story is about futuristic London where musical instruments are banned. 


The Earth is a uniform Ga Ga world where music hits are computer generated.  The Bohemians, underground misfits, believe that there was once a time where people wrote and sang their own songs.  The Bohemians are in search of ‘The Dreamer’ who will find the guitar of the great hairy god.

The set is amazing ranging from bright video screens or a run down Tottenham Court Road station.  I love their outfits.  The songs are true to the original Queen songs.  The best singers were Scaramouche played by Sabrina Aloueche and Meat played by Rachel John.  The story is original and very interesting.  If you want to see a proper musical, don’t hesitate to see We Will Rock You.

Source: We Will Rock You photo


Pizza Decade

On September 26, 2011, Ivan, Lil Dave, Denise, Ken and I had lunch at the house.  Ivan and I had Thai carrot soup with rolls.

We headed up to London by train.  I wanted to go to Primark and buy some clothes.  It started raining.  I picked up clothes, an umbrella and lip gloss.  Primark is filled with great clothes at cheap prices.

It started raining even harder.  We walked to Strada for dinner.


Ivan got a Fiorentina which came with Mozzarella and spinach with garlic, nutmeg and black pepper on a tomato base, finished with an egg and Parmesan shavings.  Lil Dave got a banana pizza with extra bananas while I got a Caprino.  My pizza was so delicious with goat’s cheese, mozzarella, roasted tomatoes and artichoke hearts.

We walked to Commodity Quay at St. Katharine Docks.  It was time to see a play called Decade.  We had to walk through airport security to enter.  We were asked if we had any electronic devices on us.  I showed the guard my cell phone.  Next, an Immigrations officer asked us questions.  I forgot that it was American security, so the lady was nice.  She stamped my ticket with a red A and let me through.  Ivan got a red D, but was let through just as easily.


It wasn’t in a theatre, but in an office building.  The play takes place in the Windows of the World restaurant in Manhattan.  Ivan said it’s an exact replica of the restaurant.  Decade covers 30 different stories about the 9/11 tragedy.  The story that spans the whole play is about three 9/11 widows that meet up every year to talk about their husbands and their lives.  I noticed that some of the cast had clothes with light grey on the shoulders – which represented the dust from the Twin Towers.  A few of the stories include a man who talks about conspiracy theories, a lady with eczema who is speed dating, a journalist interviewing Osama Bin Laden’s killer, a speech by Barack Obama and a Ground Zero souvenir clerk who picks up tearful women tourists.  At one point, there was a circle with the cast doing the airline safety procedure.  The group kept repeating the procedure while moving around in a circle.  In the middle of the circle, we see a man dressed up with a scarf on his head.  We see the man play with his shoe (it looks like he’s tinkering with a shoe bomb, but actually he’s just cleaning his shoe).  Eventually, he takes off his scarf to reveal that he’s a white man.  It reveals our prejudice about seeing a man dressed up like that.

The play is quite powerful and moving.  I loved watching it, although some of the stories worked while some didn’t.

Source: Decade picture


Comedy Heroes

In the afternoon of September 25, 2011, Ken drove Ivan, Lil Dave and me to the train station.  We found out that we would have to take a bus from Leigh-on-Sea to Basildon.  So, we took the train to Leigh and then transferred to a bus.  The bus took forever which took about 45 minutes – it seemed to have too many stops and drove really slow.  We got the train to Stratford.

It was time to check out the Westfield shopping mall.  We stopped into Boots first.  We saw a man getting ready to close the shop.  Ivan asked the clerk if the store was closing already.  She said that the shop would be closed at 5 pm since it was Sunday.  We rushed over to Primark, but unfortunately it was already closed.

So, we got the tube into Soho.  We went to The Blue Posts to hear some live music.  The Fallen Heroes were playing great jazz.  It was crowded in this small pub which it’s always crowded on Sundays since the band is great to listen to.  Ivan and I shared a cider and listened to the music for 30 minutes. 

It was time to head to The Comedy Store.  We waited in line for a few minutes.  The doors opened and we bought tickets.  Ivan and I put our jackets on two chairs in the front row to save our seats.

Then, we headed to a Korean restaurant for dinner.  Ivan, Lil Dave and I sat down and checked out the menu at Corean Chili.  Ivan got spicy cod fish soup while I got the beef ribs. 


I was being bad and going against my diet by eating some beef.  I get cravings sometimes.  Lil Dave got a banana stew.  My dish was average while Ivan and Lil Dave really enjoyed theirs.

We walked back to The Comedy Store. 


It was time to see the Comedy Store Players.  Twice a week, they do improv here.  I’ve seen it numerous times with Ivan.  The cast does different skits like telling a story where each person contributes when they’re being pointed to.  One of my favorite skits is where we have to guess an obscure job of one of the players.  Past jobs have included the person who polishes the Queen’s silverware with a badger.  It was another hilarious night of improv.  I really wish Vegas had awesome improv like this.

We got the train back by taking Southend Victoria.  This train is a lot quieter than the train we usually take.


Walking Fish

Ivan and I woke up at 9 am on September 24, 2011.  Lil Dave had gone to Monkey World already.  Ivan and I was supposed to wake up an hour earlier, so we could head to the Farmer’s market with Denise and Ken.  I guess we didn’t hear his parents getting ready to head out.

I used the internet and worked on the blog.  Ivan also used the internet. 

Denise and Ken were back from the market and shopping at 11:10 am. 

Later on, Denise made us a lot of food for dinner. 


We had Jewish bagels, salad, egg salad, salmon, cheese and sesame nuggets.  It was all very tasty.

Ivan was trying to fix his old computer while I was on the internet.

Denise made tea around 3 pm.  I love a good cup of tea in the afternoon.

At 4 pm, Denise drove us to the Southend seafront.  I wanted to find a light sweater, so we headed to Primark.  I found some good deals including a great sweater, jewelry, tights and a retro purse.

It was a lovely day out, warm and a little breezy.  We walked along the seafront.  We saw the Adventure Park which has a few rollercoasters.  The street has a few amusement arcades with Las Vegas names like Circus Circus and Monte Carlo. 


It made me think of home and the Las Vegas Strip.  The longest pleasure pier in the world Southend Pier is also in the area.  I walked down it with Ivan, Denise and Ken the first time I visited England.

The tide goes out really far in Southend. 


Denise said it comes in really fast.  We chatted and walked around.  It was time to head back.

Ivan fixed the computer.  I was using the internet and typing stuff on my laptop.

Ivan, Denise, Ken and I went to The Olive Tree for dinner.  It was time to eat some fish and chips.  Ivan got the cod while I got the haddock – we both got our fish cooked in matzo meal which is lighter and healthier. 


It was a tasty meal, but the fries weren’t that good.  I prefer really crunchy fries. 

Ken drove us back to the house.  Then, we all walked to The Angel Inn.  It’s a restaurant and bar.  Denise and Ken had sparkling water while Ivan and I drank wine.  We tried to chat, but some men were being so noisy. 


We stayed for awhile chatting or rather shouting at each other.  We walked back to the house. 

Ivan and I used the internet before heading off to bed.


Magic List

Ivan, Lil Dave and I had lunch at the house on September 23, 2011.  We had lots of food like bananas (for Dave the monkey, of course!), falafel, smoked salmon, salad, grilled cheese and Spanish tortilla.  I was so stuffed afterwards.

Ken drove us to the train station.  We went into Soho.  It was time to meet up with Neal at Trafalgar Square.  Ivan and I couldn’t spot him anywhere.  We don’t have internet or a cellular connection on our phone.  So, Ivan was trying to find wi-fi on the phone.  After 40 minutes, he got a hold of Neal.  He was at the movie theatre.  He said that he called the house to inform us that we should meet at the theatre.  I guess he relayed the message to Ivan when Ivan couldn’t hear him on the phone.  Neal was going to watch the movie Killer Elite.  Ivan said we’d meet up with him later for dinner.

The Malaysia Night event was happening in Trafalgar Square.


Many stalls were selling food or offering services all around the square.  Ivan and I were still stuffed from lunch, so we didn’t buy anything.  I really wanted some Nasi Goreng which is my favorite Malaysian dish.  I didn’t see it on any menu, but fried rice was listed which is close enough.  I also saw Mee Goreng, Roti Canai, Nasi Lemak and Chicken Satay on menus.  Lil Dave managed to get a Nasi Banana which made him a very happy monkey.  In the middle of Trafalgar Square, a big stage was set up.  When we left, a few ladies were on stage.  I wonder what kind of entertainment was on later.

Ivan wanted to meet up with Neal after his movie was finished.  We went to Trocadero and waited for awhile.  I checked out a souvenir shop and an anime/manga shop.  15 minutes later, Neal came out and noticed Ivan waiting.

We started walking towards Wahaca.  It’s a wonderful Mexican restaurant.  I really wish Vegas had a Wahaca.  The food is delicious and the prices are reasonable.  Lil Dave had banana quesadilla, top banana salad and summer banana tacos.  Ivan and I shared summer vegetable tacos, broad bean & feta cheese quesadilla, MSC ceviche tacos and summer fuerza salad.  We chatted about life and Neal’s upcoming trip while eating our dinner.  The food was so delicious.


The broad bean and feta cheese quesadilla, MSC ceviche tacos and the summer fuerza salad were the best dishes.  The restaurant gives out matches, but if you look inside it’s actually Serrano chili seeds.  It tells you how to grow them yourself and includes a guacamole recipe.  Ivan and I are going to grow our own Serrano chilies.

We walked to Odeon Panton to see the movie Kill List.  I read about this movie in Time Out magazine.  The movie is about a couple, Jay and Shel, who have been constantly fighting because of their financial problems.  Jay’s friend Gal comes to visit for a dinner party.  Jay flips out during dinner and then decides to take a job with Gal.  Jay and Gal are hit men and are given a contract AKA the kill list.

We soon discover that Jay is a very violent man.

The movie was a great thriller, but really violent – a few scenes made me cringe.  The story was good.  I guess the ending is up to your interpretation.

Next, it was time to watch some close-up magic and mentalism.  Ivan bought tickets at the Leicester Square Theatre.  We were going to see Chris Dugdale: 2 Faced Deception.


He was on the tv show Penn & Teller: Fool Us.  We got seats in the front row.  Chris came out and wanted to use somebody from the audience.  I looked directly at him for some reason and he chose me.  I chose a card from a deck and wrote my name on the back of the card with a Sharpie.  He was saying things, doing them and I was following suit.. for example, walking like we were strolling funnily along.  Chris was supposed to make the card appear in a wallet, but it wasn’t there.  He handed me a tape which said Beatles Anthology on it.  He motioned to me to put it in the tape deck.  There, I saw my card with my name on it.  He took out the card and showed everybody.  I have NO IDEA how he got that card in that tape deck.

Chris is a good looking guy who’s quite charming.  Chris presents the tricks in a very original way.  He’s really quite good.  He smiles a lot and looks into the eyes of the audience creating an intimacy.  I was baffled at most of the tricks.  Ivan usually knows about 95% of the tricks, but even he didn’t know most of the tricks were done.  If you’re in London, go see him… you’ll be amazed!

Source: Chris Dugdale photo


Inbetween Kitchen

On September 22, 2011, Ivan and I had breakfast at the house.

Shortly, Ken (Ivan’s dad) drove us to Thorpe Bay Station at 1:10 pm.  We took the train to the West End. 

It was time to watch a movie.  We walked to Vue Cinema.  We were going to watch The Inbetweeners movie. 

The Inbetweeners Movie

Ivan and I loved the hilarious tv series.  The movie has the four boys Will, Simon, Neil and Jay headed on holidays to Malia, Crete, Greece.  They are in search of girls, fun and booze.  Ivan and I thought it would have been a lot funnier.  It did have a few really funny moments.  The story was predictable and ended in a sappy happy ending.  It’s a good movie, just could have been a lot funnier.  Where was Jay’s constant lying about hooking up with girls?  It needed more of the boys insulting each other and the Best Friends bit.  I wouldn’t watch this movie again, but I would definitely re-watch the tv series.

We were getting hungry – so, we headed to Satsuma for dinner.  This restaurant got an update inside.  The long tables have been replaced with a few tables for 2 people and then booths covered with an orange oval that can hold larger parties. 

Ivan and I checked out the menu which had a few new items on it.  Ivan and I shared the miso aubergine. 


Ivan got a nice tofu soba while I got seafood ramen.  The food was delectable.  My ramen had a good broth with seafood like shrimps, scallops and mussels.  I would have liked more green onions though.

It was time for theatre.  We walked to The National Theatre.  Ivan and I had great seats in the second row in the Olivier Theatre.  I’m really short, so Ivan grabbed a booster seat for me.  It’s usually a soft cushion – although once I got one that was a hard plastic seat, which reminded me of the booster seats that kids get in restaurants.

The play we saw was The Kitchen which is set in 1950’s London at Tivoli restaurant.  The set was a big kitchen filled with everything like pots, pans, trash cans, ovens, stoves and plates.  The story is about the waitresses, cooks, and porters of the kitchen including English, Irish, Italian, Jewish and German.  They fight and flirt while making and serving food. 

Some points of the play, there was a rhythm in the kitchen where the staff would be chopping at the same time or each circling in place in unison.  This play was well choreographed.  One second the noise of the kitchen was loud and then almost everybody froze except for a few people.  The audience would then hear their conversation.  I thought that was pretty cool. 


The stoves were lit with theatrical smoke coming out of the pots.  To make the kitchen even more real, there was sounds of cooking oil. 

At the top of the kitchen set, a chalkboard had words written on it.  When the waitresses told the cooks their orders, the order would be written up on the blackboard.  I didn’t even notice this until towards the end of the play. 

The main story was about Peter, a German, who’s having affair with a married waitress.  He’s very high-spirited and seems to love the hustle and bustle of the kitchen.

This is one amazing play.  Tom Brooke’s performance of Peter was wonderful. 

Source: The Inbetweeners picture & The Kitchen picture


Curry Grief

Ivan and I woke up at 10 am on September 21, 2011.  We slept about 7 hours.

I worked on the blog. Ivan, Lil Dave and I got ready to head out.

We left the house at 2:10 pm.  Ivan, Denise (Ivan’s mum), Lil Dave and I walked to Thorpe Bay Station.  We said bye to Denise.  We went to Soho.

We walked around.  There’s been lots of Mexican restaurants popping up around London the last few years.  Ivan and I saw one recently and decided to check it out now.  We checked out the small menu at Pancho No. 8.  Ivan and I got a medium sized vegetable burrito.  It was so hot since Ivan got hot sauce on it.  My mouth was burning.  The burrito tasted good.

We walked around Covent Garden.  Ivan and I stopped to watch a group of musicians play a few songs.  I love London since there’s always something going on like theatre, museums and events.  I really wish Las Vegas was more like London.  Vegas doesn’t have much culture.

We walked to Masala Zone for dinner. 


This restaurant’s ceiling is decorated with many colorful Rajasthani puppets.  I wish we had a few of the puppets to decorate our house.  Ivan got the vegetable grand thali while I got the Goa prawn curry. 


Lil Dave got a banana and chicken curry.  My curry was so delicious. 

We walked to the National Theatre.  The play we were going to see started at 7:30 pm.  Ivan went to pick up the tickets.  The man at the box office told us that the play started in 3 minutes – since it’s press night, the play starts at 7 pm instead.. probably to give the press time to write their reviews.  We rushed over to the Cottlesoe Theatre. 


We sat down in the first row for the play Grief by Mike Leigh.  The play is set in the late 1950’s.  The main character is Dorothy who’s a war widow.  She always seems busy with her housework.  She’s raising her teenage daughter Victoria.  Victoria seems very unhappy and doesn’t have any friends.  Edwin is Dorothy’s brother who lives with them.  He is soon to retire from his job of 45 years.  There are many people who come to visit including a funny doctor and Dorothy’s two friends who always talk about their social lives.  We realize that Dorothy is really depressed along with her daughter.  Lesley Manville who plays Dorothy really does look like she could cry at any moment and looks very tired.  In between scenes, the flowers are changed.  Ivan noticed this and said that it depicts how mundane life was for Dorothy. 

The play is a bit slow.  It’s an interesting story, but not too exciting.  It was an average play.  I certainly liked his last play Ecstasy a lot better.

Source: John Haynes/National Theatre via Bloomberg photo


Walking Spy of Ages

I woke up at 6 am on September 20, 2011 to find Ivan already awake.  We checked out of the hostel at 7:35 am.

We walked to The Breakfast Club.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t open yet.  We walked around Soho and checked out the shops that were open.

Ivan and I went back to The Breakfast Club.  Ivan ordered scrambled eggs with smoked salmon while I had a poached egg with avocado and chilies on toast.


We each enjoyed a smoothie as well.  The food was so very tasty.

We walked around the store Pylones.  They sell the cutest products like cuckoo clocks and pizza cutters.  I was happy to find a Kidrobot store, but unfortunately it was closed.

It was time to watch a movie.  We walked to Odeon in Leiceister Square.  This is the theatre where movie premiers are held and also the BAFTA Awards.  We sat inside the theatre to watch the movie Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.  The movie was very, very slow and REALLY confusing.  Gary Oldman is the main character.  Don’t go see this movie… it’s boring and doesn’t make any sense.  We walked out of the movie maybe about an hour and 10 minutes in.

Ivan wanted to use the internet.  So, we walked to an internet café.  I wanted to play SIms Social, but the computer didn’t have many plugins installed.

We took a walk to Embankment station.  Soon, we’d be headed out on a walking tour.  The tour guide wasn’t there yet since we were 10 minutes early.  The tour meets on the side with the bridge.  Our tour guide Stephanie arrived.  She looked very British.  Stephanie introduced herself and told us about the “Somewhere Else” London walking tour.

The group, which consisted of 20 people, walked over the bridge and started the tour.  There was a lovely view of the London Eye, Big Ben and Houses of Parliament.  Stephanie talked about the London Eye. There are 32 capsules that represent the 32 boroughs of London.  She informed us that one of the capsules was missing.  The reason behind it is that they’re replacing each capsules one by one.  The capsules come by boat since they’re so big.  The new capsules will have air-conditioning and wi-fi.  Ivan thought the capsules would also have more seats and heating as well.  She also told us that one of the capsules was painted orange.  The London Eye was once painted red for Valentines Day.  At that time, that red carriage could be rented out for £350 which would include a butler and dinner.  It’s orange now which is sponsored by EDF Energy.  It’s being used as a private carriage for different things like a wine capsule or afternoon tea.

Stephanie talked to us about the River Thames.  In the 19th century, the river had untreated human waste in it.  People would swim in it and contracted polio.  There was an airborne miasma coming from the river which they believed made people get sick with cholera.  In the summer of 1858, The Big Stink occurred.  Metropolitan Board of Works kept rejecting proposals made by chief engineer Joseph Bazalgette because they thought it was too expensive.  Finally in 1859, they accepted one of Joseph’s proposals since it had become a major problem.  Joseph Bazalgette created 90 miles of sewer under the River Thames.  It’s thanks to him that he created a river that inhabits many small varieties of fish and a river that’s safe enough to swim in, if you’re brave enough to go in the freezing water.  We saw the memorial for Joseph Bazalgette located on Southbank.

Stephanie showed us a building where ITV makes tv programs.  Many people were waiting around to take pictures or get autographs from famous stars.  The group went further along to the National Theatre.


She said the style of the building is called brutalist.  I thought she was joking, but she was serious.  As you can see, it’s not a pretty building – but when it was built in 1976 it was quite modern.  We took an elevator to the second floor.  This was a great view for the residents of London in the 19th century to see across the River Thames.  It was a nice view of the buildings on the Embankment side.  Stephanie told us that the first hotel to have toilets in each room was The Savoy.

The group went back down in the elevator.  Stephanie showed us the small beach that was created near the water.  The residents of London in the 19th century worked hard.  The sand was brought in, so they could enjoy the beach and the water.

We walked to an area called Gabriel’s Wharf.


This nice area is filled with shops, restaurants and bars.  Coin Street Community Builders (CSCB) runs the area where they create co-operative homes, shops, restaurants, cafes and parks.  We saw the homes nearby also run by CSCB which were quite lovely.

Next, we walked around Lambeth.  This part of London in the 19th century was very industrial and filled with workers.  We saw buildings that haven’t changed in many, many years.  The Georgian style was quite dark and, in my opinion, depressing.


We walked along Windmill Walk.  These dark brown buildings still have chimneys on top which are now used for ventilation.

Stephanie was a very funny guide and very knowledgeable.  I think tour guides should be interesting and funny.  It makes the tour even better.

In the 19th century, people bought home insurance.  They would place a receipt on the house (I can’t remember the actual name of this plaque).


If there was a fire, the fire engine would come by.. if they saw this receipt, the fire would be put out immediately.  If there was no receipt, they would just pass the house by.

We walked to the King’s Arms, an old pub that Stephanie recommended.  It’s sad to know that 3 pubs close every week in England.  We also passed by a cake shop called Konditor & Cook that Stephanie enjoys.

Our last stop was The Old Vic which is the oldest theatre in London.


Stephanie talked about how in the 19th century seating restrictions didn’t exist.  People would pile into the theatres – with people holding on to the wall as their seat.  Stephanie recommended the best fish and chips shop down the street called Masters Super Fish.  We stopped by, but it was already closed.

Stephanie was a great guide!  I could listen to her talk about any subject and it wouldn’t be boring.  I wish my teachers back in school were as exciting.

Ivan and I walked around to try some dinner.  We went to eat at Little Sicily.  Ivan found a great deal on Toptable.  Ivan and I shared bruschetta and pan fried mussels with a garlic sauce for our appetizers.


For the main courses, we got tuna and pasta with seabass.  It was a very tasty meal.

It was time to head to the Shaftesbury Theatre.  We were going to see the new musical Rock of Ages.


This is an American musical filled with many hit rock songs.  Ivan thought it would be fun – he read a lot of good reviews.  The simple set was a bar.  The band played on a stage throughout the musical.  The story was about a woman who heads to Hollywood to become an actress.  She gets a job at The Bourbon Room.  She immediately falls for a guy named Drew, who also works at The Bourbon Room, who’s an inspiring rock star.  There’s another storyline where a German man wants to buy up the Sunset Strip to convert it into a shopping mall.  The story was very lame.  Ivan thought it was like a school play.  The singing was average.  The musical included 28 songs including Sister Christian, Cum on Feel the Noize/We’re Not Gonna Take It (reprise), Every Rose Has It’s Thorn, We Built This City, The Final Countdown, We Built This City,  Hit Me With Your Best Shot and Don’t Stop Believin’.  The hit songs and the pole dancers couldn’t even save this musical.  I’d avoid this musical if I were you.  It made me realize how amazing other musicals are like We Will Rock You, Billy Elliot and Priscilla Queen of the Desert.

Source: National Theatre photo


London Town

I woke up at 8 am on September 19, 2011.  Ivan was already awake.  He hasn’t been sleeping much since he’s still jetlagged.

I played Sims Social on Facebook.  I’m so addicted to the game.  It’s lots of fun to play. 

I packed up a small backpack and my purse.

Ivan and I got dressed to head out.  Lil Dave was staying in Southend while we head up to London.  Lil Dave is doing his schoolwork online while we’re traveling.  Cousin Dave is flying off to Sweden later today.  He’s going to visit his family for a few days.

Ivan’s mum drove us to the train station at 11 am.

We walked around Soho.  We arrived at the doctor’s office where Ivan would be getting his medical.  Ivan and I planning on getting married soon in the USA.  We’re getting a fiance visa.  He must get a medical as part of the visa requirements.  The whole process included a lot of waiting and Ivan getting blood taken and an x-ray.  Ivan was done with everything after an hour.

It was time to get some lunch.  Ivan thought we should go to Beatroot Cafe.


It’s a great vegetarian place with a buffet.  The dahl, chili and pasta were the best dishes. Recently, we have given up eating chicken.. so we’re now pescetarian.

We walked around Soho and arrived at Picadilly Backpackers.  The internet says the hostel has pod sleeping space.  It didn’t turn out to be pods at all.  It was just ordinary bunk beds. 


Ivan also read that the rooms were decorated with art.  Wrong! It was just a plain ol’ hostel room with no special frills.  However, there was art work (not even good art work!) in the hallway you enter to get to the rooms.  The doors on the third floor were all orange with the room numbers in black letters. 


It reminded me of a prison since orange reminds me of prison uniforms.

We checked into our 6 person room.  Ivan and I were tired.  Jetlag is so annoying.  I don’t like feeling like a zombie all the time.  I just want to return to my normal sleeping schedule.  We took a 2 hour long nap.  I was surprised that I actually fell asleep since there was noisy construction work going on outside.

It was time to head out again.  Ivan and I grabbed sandwiches at Pret a Manger.  Then, we took the train to Wembley Park.  I’m so glad Ivan knows London VERY well.  I would get lost walking around and taking the tube by myself.

Our sandwiches were consumed on the train ride.  We walked from the station to Wembley Arena.  I’ve never been to Wembley.  The stadium looks really cool and is massive.  Tonight, we were going to see the funniest man alive Lee Evans.

This was my third time seeing Lee Evans.  Ivan has seem him numerous times. 


Lee did a long 2 hour and 10 minute set talking about his life and wife.  He is so freaking hilarious!!   I could watch him for hours – I really wanted to see more!  I still can’t believe how he’s constantly moving about on the stage.  At the end, he played a song on the piano and sang.  His voice isn’t bad.  Lee Evans ended the show with his wonderful Bohemian Rhapsody performance. 

Check out the Bohemian Rhapsody video:

At the very end, Lee ended up shaking many people’s hands in the audience.  If you ever get a chance to see Lee Evans live… go do it! He’s sooo very funny.

We got the train back to Soho.  We walked around Soho for a bit and then it was off to bed for us.

Source: Beatroot picture


Chillin’ in Southend

Ivan and I woke up at 5 am on September 18, 2011.  Lil Dave was still sleeping.

I worked on the blog and played Sims Social on Facebook.

Ivan, Ivan’s mum and I went to the Jewish synagogue.  Ivan’s mum bought us some challah, bagels and apple strudel.  Then, Ivan’s mum drove us to Sainsbury’s.  Ivan and I bought ingredients for the lunch we would be making later today.  I love British grocery stores.  There’s always a big selection of cheeses and the food is a lot cheaper than food in America.

We came back to the house and relaxed.


Ivan and I cooked Tofu Jalfrezi for lunch.  I made the garlic and avocado salad.  Neal cooked up trout. 

The meal turned out really good.


Ivan’s mum would never touch Indian food since she thinks it would be too spicy.  Ivan didn’t tell her it was Indian food.  He wanted to have his mum try Indian and like it.  If he told her it was Indian, she wouldn’t have eaten it.  Ivan’s dad said it tasted like Indian food.  Ivan’s mum seemed to like it.  She wants the recipe, so she can make it another time.  Score one for Ivan! 

Ivan’s mum brought out strawberries and yogurt for dessert.  We always eat so much food at Ivan’s parents house. 

Ivan, Neal, Lil Dave and I watched tv.  We learned how bagels were made on How It’s Made. 

I used the internet.  Ivan and I took a long nap.

Lil Dave and Cousin Dave played around in the backyard.

Neal left to head back to London.

Ivan and I had trout for a late dinner.  We watched the show Spooks while eating our dinner.  Spooks is a wonderful show.  There’s some great shows in England.  Unfortunately, shows usually only make 6 episodes per series (season).

Ivan, Lil Dave, Cousin Dave and I went to bed at 10 pm.

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