Friday, November 23, 2007

Black Friday

Wow, I've been gone from Blogger for a few days and things have gotten a lot more interesting! For example, now I can upload video directly to my blogger template from my desktop. Fortunately, I accidentally took a 4 second movie while on top of the London Eye. In case you're wondering what I'm shooting, there was a Star Wars exhibition near the London Eye this past Sunday and my husband spotted the 4 storm troopers from all the way up in the sky and told me to take a picture. Here's the video - those white things in the background are the storm troopers and yes, I'm married to a Sci Fi lover :)

I love Black Friday and am extremely jealous of all the folks shopping right now. Buggy and I have to get some shopping going ourselves for the big family Chanukah in a few days. Buggy had an interesting suggestion on how we can save money on gifts this year, and I'm against it but we're still negotiating. So, our friends and family were very generous for us during our wedding and we have a lot of gifts in our home that we can't really use. Either it's just not our taste or it was just impracticle. At this point, it's just adding to the clutter and I have no clue what to do. So, Buggy suggested that we actually regift them to the family - but TELL THEM that that's what we're doing so no one wonders. I think that's a little umm, rude, so I think we're going to have to go pick up presents but my husband keeps working on me and trying to convince me. We'll see (aren't you happy you're not exchanging gifts with us this year hehe!)

London was wonderful! I took some pictures with my Nikon Coolpix on Sunday, which was the coldest, darkest, rainiest day of our entire trip. We spent the day sightseeing, and took the kids to the London Eye and Covent Gardens. It was so cold that we had to stop at a Starbucks on our way to Covent Gardens.

But, before we get to the end of our trip, let's start at the beginning. We got to the airport 2 hours before our flight and Buggy and I zoomed past everything. Security took the most time and then, since the line to get through border control wasn't that long, I decided to to the hand recognition card. What that means is that, next time I go in and out of the country, I bypass that HUGE line of tourists and citizens waiting for their passports to be stamped and I go to the machines on the side, swipe my hand dandy card, and put my palm on the machine. Within seconds, my fingerprints are read and the machine spits out a form that says I can enter (or exit) the country. It literally saves us 15-30 minutes depending on how many flights are taking off/landing. Unfortunately, only citizens of Israel can do this, but I'm hopeful that soon anyone can do this!

We raced to duty free to buy Buggy's brother some whiskey, and to get us a couple of bottles too, and then decided that we needed a video camera for this trip. I've been the video camera champion for a while, so I insisted that we go get one, and Buggy was in agreement. We ended up with a great Canon that took both video and stills, and we managed to board the plane with 20 minutes until takeoff. The flight was uneventful and I was shocked when we got to Heathrow. It's a crappy airport folks! I was actually missing Ben Gurion while we waited around the dilapidated baggage claim for our stuff. Buggy helped a nun off with her bags and then our stuff came around and we met Buggy's brother for the trip to Golders Green to their house.

So, impressions of Golders Green/Hendon was not so great. It's literally the Jewish ghetto of London and everyone is one top of one another. It's extremely claustrophobic, with the houses shoved in next to one another on each block. I was exhausted so we passed out and slept very well. The kids woke us up early the next morning and I took some cute video. Buggy's nephew cried when he had to go to school because he wanted to stay with us, and then Buggy and I got a move on into the City to do some touristy things.

First of all, last Thursday in London was a beautiful day. The sun was shining and it was crisp cold but it was very comfortable because we were prepared and dressed appropriately. Our first stop was Buckingham Palace for the changing of the guards. We were coming through the Park as the band marched past and we raced to the gates to get a good shot. Unfortunately, there were a ton of tourists - many of them were Hassidim! - and I couldn't get such good pictures. I managed to get some video of the procession though, and of course the horses, you can't miss the horses. It bored me a bit so Buggy and I decided to do the bus tour around the city. It was fantastic! I counted at least 15 Starbucks and 25 Pret a Manger's and I told Buggy that I wasn't leaving the Country without some Starbucks! We practically saw everything I wanted to see from the bus, and then we ended up back at Leicster Square at this great vegetarian Indian restaurant called Woodlands. The food was terrific and we were starving, so we really enjoyed ourselves. We decided to walk off our eats by heading up to Piccadilly Circus to the HMV and then down Piccadilly where we went window shopping.

Sorry to stop mid-trip but I just realized it's an hour until Shabbos and I still have to get ready. Enjoy the video and more pictures and updates to come!

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