After our exhausting run through the British Museum, we decided to put our lives in someone else's hands and hailed a taxi. It took us, in all its speedy death-defying mobility, to Covent Gardens. The place kinda reminded me of the West End in downtown Dallas. There were scores of outdoor kiosks, vendors, and little shops wedged into the building that was once a fruit and vegetable market. And there were street performers.
This guy was an escape artist. He had members of the audience strap him into an old fashioned straight-jacket...
And then he, well...escaped! In the process of getting the straps loose, he was attacked by a stuffed dog and several eating utensils fell out of his jacket. Interesting.
As were these guys. They were playing a sea shanty and had the crowd clapping and dancing right along with them. It was very fun (except for the poor, poor woman in the lower left that was just trying to talk on her cell phone, and here were all these crazy people, whooping and clapping and fiddling...I mean, seriously, what were they thinking, enjoying themselves while she's trying to have a conversation!?).
After a quick stroll through the area, we headed for sustenance. Carole and Roz chose a place called Palm Court. It was very good! They had a two - or three - course meal option, where you picked from appetizers, main courses and desserts. As tempted as I was to have all three desserts, I opted for the steak and a traditional English dessert. It was a pudding of some sort. London Survival Tip #7: An English pudding is not necessarily like an American pudding. English puddings are more like cakes, served hot and with some sort of topping. Mine tasted very much like a spice cake and was rather overly-generous with the raisins. The Man had the creme brulee and won a kiss when he said mine was better (I had a taste of it...he's right, mine is better).
Our lovely dinner companions, Roz and Carole. Did I tell you how we found these wonderful women who showed us around their fair city? My mother is part of a family history/genealogy webgroup for one of her family lines. This particular line has roots in England so most of the members are in the UK. When I told Mom about our upcoming trip, she posted to her group, asking for recommendations on places for me to visit. Roz volunteered to act as tour guide and we readily accepted. And we were really lucky! Roz knows her city very well and knows the best routes to all the interesting places (even if she does walk your legs off...you'll be too busy staring at all the cool things to notice the pain). Also, she had an entire packet of information on the sites we visited. London Survival Tip #8: The English use a different size paper than we do...it's longer but not as long as legal papers.
After dinner, we said goodbye for the evening. The Man and I headed back to close-by Trafalgar Square where I had seen a souvenir shop with the most reasonable prices. On the way there, the most extraordinary thing happened: we ran into someone we knew! Imagine being across the world, in a foreign city, out sight-seeing and seeing someone from work! The Man's coworker was there, with his wife, looking for a good place to eat. (Remember the last time we were looking for dinner in Trafalgar Square?) After our initial moments of dumbfoundedness, we pointed them in the direction of Covent Garden. Kinda crazy, eh?