London(Sep 3-10 / Nov 3-4)

September 2, Monday
I arrived in the morning, not exactly on schedule, but not too late.
The plane was a new 777 with "individual entertainment centers" - small TV screens mounted in the back of front seats. You can select one of 6 TV programs and a lot of radio channels. The food was pretty good. Unfortunately I fall asleep even before the dinner (for half hour, I guess) and didn't sleep after that (which was my plan to adapt to London time sooner - I almost didn't sleep the night before with this goal in mind).
One of the reasons was my neighbor. It was funny, I noticed this cute man in the waiting area (he looked British, but did remained me someone, after few minutes of staring at him I realized his face looked very similar to Robin Williams' :-)). His sit was next to mine, we stroke conversation right away, he told that he was visiting San Francisco for 2 weeks just couple days ago... Word by word - and it was that non-frequent case that my gaydar worked (and he didn't have any of accessories which would suggest it). So we were chatting for hours - he was a German living in London for some 7 years teaching German Language and Culture in University (his accent was British, not a bit German). He fall in love with San Francisco (and with someone *in* San Francisco) - so he was already plotting plans how to go to Bay Area to study for Ph.D. or something. It was very pleasant to talk with him all the way.
I watched _Flipper_ and _Dancin' in the Rain_ (while sleeping a bit, having dinner, and drinks, and snacks, fighting a nose-bleed, which stopped pretty fast and wasn't big deal).
We arrived almost without delay, but then we waited for half hour for landing, and finally were on the ground with about an hour delay (which was fine with me - the scheduled arrival time was before 7, we landed a quarter to 8). The passport control line was incredibly long (there were some 4 planes from the states landed at about the same time) - it took about 45 minutes to get my passport stamped. But at least all luggage was already waiting, so I went to the tube station without further delay. Got the weekly ticket, got to Bayswater station where my hotel was located easily enough.
The hotel is just a short block from station. The weather was gray and drizzling, but warm. My room wasn't ready for some 45 minutes, I almost fell asleep in the lobby. Hotel looks little bit ran down, the room is on the smallish side (I guess it's OK for the half-price I am paying, but I would be disappointed if I plaid regular $160 for it).
September 3, Tuesday
Didn't do much, figured out the Tube (especially stations with trains going in all directions), slept a lot, found the Internet Cafe (it took some time before I figured out the phone system in the hotel, the phone adaptor for my laptop, settings for dial-in).
September 4, Wednesday
I went for a matinee performance of "Passion" in West End. I was able to buy a ticket an hour before the show without any problems. It was very good, though probably way too serious for a musical - I don't know why they didn't call it an opera. Serious drama of passion extremly well produced and sung (and Michael Ball is cute, and has nice ass - this serious play starts with a bed scene, very realistic in that, and he runs around in a very short sleeping shirt). I liked the show a lot.
September 5, Thursday
Met Andrew at Gatwick. His old picture I had on my computer wasn't too good, but good enough for me to recognize him in a crowd.
Andrew proved to be the same sweet guy I knew on IRC. He is quite reserved on outside, but has very intensive internal life, which seldom gets out. It was very easy to interact with him, and he was perfect a companion. I did expect some more emotions, but his emotions were not directed at me.
Finally, I started to be a tourist. We walked around the city without a specific goal in mind, just looking at all standard places, like Westminster or Trafalgar Sq (where we climbed on and posed with the lions). We found that in London it is somehow difficult to tell apart live people from wax figures.
That night we went to G.A.Y. (if I remember correctly) but went home not too late, after all, Andrew was travelling the night before.
September 6, Friday
This day was spent in British Museum (for some 4-5 hours, I guess, with 2 or 3 breaks, sometimes it seemed to be too stuffy inside - and a sit outside was needed) - for me it was the start of my Asia Minor adventures. I wondered - if all of the Parthenon was there - what did I see in Athens then?
St. Paul Cathedral stairs were as claustrophobic as any, but the view from the top was worth it.
This night was in Heaven. No, not really in Heaven, but in huge club with this name. It has some 4 dance floors, very good air-conditioning, and awful techno-music. Everywhere we saw ads for "wet underware contest" to be held on September 7th. I looked at my watch - it said 09-07-96, so we waited, and waited, and waited. Andrew fall asleep right in the middle of that pounding loud music (which was good thing - after that I didn't have second thought whether my snoring is loud or not). Nothing happened. It took us couple days to realize that they meant night from 7th to 8th, not the night from 6th to 7th.
September 7, Saturday
It was a day of National Gallery - I finished my personal visits to "Great Museums of the World." (When I was a kid, my brother borrowed from his friend albums from the series with such a name. It had Louvre, Hermitage, Prado, Metropolitan etc. London's National Gallery made my personal experiences complete.)
We had a nice dinner at the Cafe Royal (food was classic and classy, and the plaque on the wall mentioned that Oscar Wilde frequented the place.)
The boat cruise on Thames is not to be missed. The guide was chatty, and most of his jokes were actually funny. But the view of London from the boat is quite breathtaking - if I weren't in love with London by that time - I would fall in love with it on the boat.
September 8, Sunday
This day we visited Her Majesty the Queen. Well, she was out of the palace, so we had just look at the empty rooms. The invitation looked quite nice, but they didn't let us to take pictures inside.
Later we met Ilya, went to Earl's to see the show, were looking for a club for quite some time unsucessfully (one was almost empty, another had special party) until we ended up in D.M.P.I. (we couldn't find it and had to get a black taxi to get to the place just few blocks away.)
September 9, Monday
Mme Tussaud - nothing to write about, but a lot of pictures
Sherlock Holmes museum deserves it's own page

September 10, Tuesday.
Andrew leaves for Tallinn with flight 172, 10:30 AM
Vadim leaves for Brussels from London Waterloo Int. train station by train EST 9124 at 10:27pm, arrives at Bruxelles-Midi Est. at 14:45 PM
There his namesake meets him and they follow to Amsterdam.

November 3, Sunday
Vadim arrives from Paris by train 9031 leaving Paris 1:04 PM, arriving at Waterloo 3:26 PM

November 4, Monday
United Airlines Flight 955 leaves London/Heathrow at 8:20 AM, arrives in SFO 11:40 AM
End of the Great Tour, Vadim goes to work the same day :(