Posted on 2006/12/23 09:41:40 (December 2006).
[Tuesday 19th December]
Jetlag was up to its old tricks - as absolutely standard I woke up around 4AM this morning. I made use of the time to write a few blog entries on the laptop, but didn't actually get a chance to upload them to the web yet.
My brother gave us a lift to the station around 9:30, and from there we got a train into London.
The first port of call was to go and visit my new office - although I won't be starting the new job until January 8th, the recruiter suggested it might be a good idea to come and take a look round before that to meet the team etc. The office was a big, airy open plan type affair, but other than that it was hard to get much of an idea of what the new job was going to be like. We had lunch at the cafeteria there (which is all completely free!) and that was quite nice at least. It was also quite cool that they were happy for me to bring Chie along as well, so she could also enjoy a free lunch.
After leaving the office we set about finding ourselves a hotel, and I took over this task in the knowledge that Chie would get us into some nasty fleapit somewhere. So I went towards the other extreme, and booked us a room at the recently refurbished Sloane Square Hotel. We immediately went and checked in so we could drop off our luggage, and after a bit of a rest we headed out for an afternoon of shopping.
We visited the usual places - Harvey Nich's first as it was fairly close by, and then given that I wanted to buy some foody type Christmas presents we headed from there over to Fortnum and Mason's. In the latter we saw Rowan Atkinson doing his Christmas shopping, I would very much have liked to go and say hello, but I'm sure this was the last thing he would have wanted. Sadly he didn't get up to any Mr. Bean antics in there, like the time where he wanted to buy a frying pan, and got a big fish out of his pocket to measure.
Once we'd got ourselves fairly laden up with shopping we went back to the hotel again to drop it off.
For dinner we wanted to eat something that we wouldn't have been able to get in Japan - so settled on Lebanese food. We'd been told there was a "Lebanese Restaurant" near the hotel, but it turned out to be more of a kebab shop. Instead we headed over somewhat wearily to Edgeware Road. By this time we were getting pretty tired and it seemed like a hell of a trek. I found us a reasonable looking place and we had an assortment of mezze (including of course the all important halloumi). I think we were both feeling pretty tired and a bit out of sorts by this point though, and so it wasn't a particularly fabulous night out.
Upon returning back to our hotel we had a bottle of rosť champagne which we'd picked up in F&M earlier and had very little difficulty getting to sleep.
It had felt kind of weird being back in London today, and not in an entirely good way. Spending time with my family back in the UK immediately feels comfortable and relaxing, but it seems being out and about in public actually induced something akin to culture shock. London in particular can be a bit overwhelming and I wonder now in retrospect if it was such a good idea to go there today. Oh well.
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