Friday, 13 July 2018

London, England (Hampton by Hilton, London Docklands)

I woke up much earlier than usual so I could be at Parliament Square (the park between Westminster Abbey and the Parliament buildings) to see the launch of the Baby Trump Balloon. I had no expectations of what it would be like when I got there. But I had a good breakfast and a shower and was out the door a little before 9:00 a.m.

To get to Parliament Square I took the DLR train to the Canning Town stop where I could transfer to the Jubilee line that would take me to Westminster. Once I left the Westminster station I saw the balloon. What an odd site to see among the traditional buildings of London!

Once I crossed over to the square I took pictures, talked to a few people and mainly walked around. Many, many cameras and the media was represented as well. I was asked to participate in a video interview by a representative of NHK (Japan Public Television). He asked my thoughts of the balloon, why I was here, what might the people in the U.S. think about this, etc. He asked if the balloon was going down to the level of Trump supporters, to the extent that some poke fun, in not a kind way, at others – name calling, etc. That stopped me for a moment. I guess this is something that a bully might do to ridicule someone else. Though this has a comic look to it so guess it was done mostly in fun with no specific agenda. But let’s face it, Trump often acts like a baby or a young child.

After about 30 minutes I left. While at the square I made an appointment at 4:00 to get my document notarized, so all I had to do now was find a place to mail my check to American Express. I walked all the way from Parliament Square to Trafalgar Square and didn’t see a letter box. Even asked a couple of policemen along the way. When I got to the Charring Cross Underground station I asked a person at the station’s information desk and she pointed me to a nearby box.

I was tired and went back to the hotel for a quick nap. After my nap, I took the DLR and was at my 4:00 p.m. appointment a few minutes early, but they were ready for me. I met with a solicitor (attorney) to notarize the document. You have to swear on a bible and sign a document to verify. Not simple like in the U.S. I was able to get the document notarized and they scanned the document for me so I could send to my attorney in Hood River. I’ll send the original in the next day or so (now that I know where I can find at least one letter box in the city).

The Trump demonstration started at 5:30 so this gave me time for a coffee and sandwich. By the time I finished it was time to take the underground to the Westminster station again and walk up to Trafalgar Square, about a 1/4 mile away. I found that the main street had been blocked off so it was easy to walk up to Trafalgar Square. Along the way I passed people who were in the parade that ended at the square.

When I arrived at the square, it was packed. A sea of people had gathered. Those who I told (in the U.S.) that I was attending the demonstration asked me to be careful. Those who I told in the U.K. knew that everything would be okay. Aside from the many signs that were not too kind to Trump, the crowd was mild and polite as I made my way through to get a better view of the main stage. I couldn’t quite hear everything that was being said by the speakers so I knew that I probably wouldn’t hang around too much longer.

After about 45 minutes I left to get a coffee at a nearby Starbucks. I needed to call my bank to get my debit card authorized so I could us it. Earlier I tried the automated process by using my phone but it didn’t like my Ireland phone number. I made a call to my credit union from a nearby park. They were, as always, able to help me out and my new debit card was now activated.

While sitting in the park a couple sat down nearby, using a map, and where trying to find something. I asked if I could help. They were from Fresno and were on their way to Scotland for a golf tournament. We talked for some time before I had to leave for the concert I was attending at 7:30.

My friend, Dmytro, was performing his Nosferatu performance at an old music hall near Tower Hill station. I had seen his Metropolis concert last October. (See link below.) I talked with the people sitting behind me during intermission and found out that one of them composed music for another silent movie and another had an ancestor who performed in a London music halls probably similar to this one. Dmytro’s performance again was exceptional. It made watching the movie very enjoyable. He really is an amazing composer and performer. His partner Hazel helps produce these events.

After the concert I met up with Dmytro and Hazel and met two of their friends, Catherine and John from York. (John has met the Queen and both have seen her in person.) We talked for awhile before we left for our separate ways. So glad I went to this concert. A great way to end the day.

My trip back to the hotel was easy. A short walk to the station and then a 20 minute ride. I stayed up for awhile but was in bed by midnight.

I have very little planned for tomorrow. Maybe have dinner with Prean and Viktor.

To see pictures: 

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