London Tales and Travails

Fish and Chips and Fosters and Family in a British Pub
I Just returned from a wonderful weekend in London.  It was a happy reunion. I had not seen Kae for nearly 20 years. She was just a little baby girl the last time i saw her when Kim and the girls visited in Georgia. Together we went to Florida and Disneyworld.  I was in school, back then.

I saw Rio last summer in NYC when she was visiting Kim but had missed Kae.  So it was  especially sweet to see them both again.
Me and the Girls

I was extremely lucky that Monday just happened to be a Belgium National holiday. That allowed me to puchase a Eurorail ticket to London and spend 30 hours there.  The train ride only took about 2 1/2 hours and the ride was very smooth.

The city was splendidly beautiful -- unlike any place I've ever visited.  If I had to make a comparison, London has the cosmopolitan of NYC, the museums of DC, and the old Europe look of Paris

In the 30 hrs, I got to make the most of the time and was able to
spend time with Rio, Chris, and Kae. Even got to see Kae perform her
magical role of Trixie in the much celebrated and sold-out play:
Lazy Town.
Trixie (Kae) and me

Trixie was a great character who was a rebel without a pause -- she was a rule bender and one who thought outside the box. 

Fortunately, Kae is nothing like Trixie.  But I completely enjoyed the show.  Lazy Town's antogonist is Robbie Rotten who is always trying to get the kids to be lazy and eat junk food.  The Protagonist is Sportacus who is athletic and comes to the rescue.

Sportacus gave me all the motivation I needed to go running.   I enjoyed running along the narrow cobblestone streets, and along the river Thames, passing Pubs, tourists and double decker buses.  It was a wonderful experience.  Unlike anything I have witnessed back home.

Chris and I also had the great opportunity to visit the Imperial War Museum.

Constructed during WW I, the museum really depicts how life in Britain was during WW II.  It boasts a 3-story building with all the details of life built within the walls.

I have been to many museums over the years that depicts warfare and weaponry.  First, I brushed it off as just another museum, similar to the many Army, Navy and Marine Corps Museums I've seen in Washington, DC.  But when I arrived, I was in for a staggering surprise.

It may be old, but it is beautiful, formidable and exciting.  It  is fascinating, interactive and heartbreaking.  The holocaust museum is very emotional and definitely not for the faint of heart.

The Trench and Blitzkrieg experience was scarily realistic and truly shows the sacrifice and courage of Londoners during WW II.  Besides the bombs and artillery, soldiers had to endure  the smell of urine, lice, rats, corpses, etc.

Their artifacts is truly extensive, covering every aspect of warfare.

In WW II, the main weapons of ground warfare for the Germans were machine guns, submachine guns, anti-tank weapons, flame throwers and grenades.

Sadly in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the main weapon is IEDs.   They not only strike ground patrols in road convoys, but they also indiscriminately kill civilians.

After this trip, I was primed and prepared to make the trip to Afghanistan in a few days. 

Inside the London Eye enjoying the splendid panoramic view of the Thames River Harbor.  When erected in 1999, The London Eye was the tallest ferris wheel in the world.  (Today it is surpassed by the one in Nanchang and Singapore).

Today, it is the largest cantilevered observation wheel and the most popular paid tourist attraction in UK.  It takes nearly 30 minutes to go around.  The Eye never stops even when people disembark (except for the elderly and disabled).

Now I just made it home to Mons, Belgium.  The trip was smooth but you
wouldn't believe what happened when I made it back to the small town
of Jurbise.

The cops were waiting for me. Or should I say, the cops were there
waiting for the tow truck to tow my rental car away.

You see, like an idiot, I left the passenger side rear window open
overnight. Why? Because on Sat morning, I stopped to ask for
directions to the train station.

Well, the cops finally found out and wanted to tow my car because they
didn't want anyone to break in and steal it -- which would have been a
worse nightmare.

I just made it in time. If I had come just 10 minutes later, I would
have arrived at the parking lot without my rental car. It was cold
and rainy and I would have been stranded in a small town without
directions and without knowing who to call.

Thank God the Lord's grace and mercy is always upon me.

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