Wednesday, July 15, 2009

London Without Electronics

So you noticed the lack of blog posts? That's what happens when all the electronics go on the blitz at the beginning of the vacation.

Loading my iPhone with travel podcasts and games for the long plane ride, I hit some download that demanded a software update. Bad move -- the download somehow became corrupted, totally freezing the iPhone, with no time to make a mall pilgimage. Even back home today, I was unable to restore it in multiple attempts and resorted to taking it into the Apple store for a reboot.

The tiny notebook computer made the trip, hooked into the free WiFi at the first hotel, but never worked again -- just the white screen of death. It's packed and awaiting shipment for warranty repair since it's less than a year old.

Luckily, the camera continued to work, although the lens cover is sticking open a lot. Keenan proactively bought a new point-and-shoot for the trip, one that met his qualifications for high zoom, high macro, low light shots so that he can use it for air shows and birding. It takes amazing pictures and I am officially camera jealous. I can't wait to try it for jewelry and beads. Perhaps it will be a nice option in my photography tutorial.

So I had a peaceful, media free trip: London 4 nights, Paris 6 nights, London again 4 nights -- a Paris sandwich as the passport control guy said.

The initial stay in London was HOT -- pushing 90° with little air conditioning available anywhere. Our hotel was toasty, the underground was an oven, and even our jaunt out to the British Museum (close to our hotel) late in the first afternoon offered no relief. I was grateful that I had packed a couple pair of shorts!

We did all sorts of normal touristy London things: visiting the Tower of London to see a castle, the Crown Jewels, ravens and Henry VIII's armor; walking alongside Parliament with views of Big Ben and Westminster Cathedral; perusing the Winston Churchill Museum and War Cabinet Rooms, left as they were at the end of WWII; riding in red double-decker tour buses to rest weary feet; sailing down the Thames River to Greenwich to stand astraddle the Prime Meridian, the arbitrary line from which global longitude is measured; eating fish and chips; and checking out the King's Cross/St. Pancras underground station to see the locations used in filming Harry Potter.

By the time we headed for Paris, the loss of electronics was taken for granted.