Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The London Vacation - Part 2

{Part 1 here}

With my high need for completion and closure, I have been stressing about the fact that I hadn’t written my sequel to my first post about our London trip. Finally got some time and energy to pour into the same, so here goes...

Day Six: Meeting the London Mommy Bloggers

After some seriously packed days and with the weather continuing to remain lousy, I decided to take it easy in the morning. In any case, Jai’s plan was to visit the Imperial War Museum which I could not have been more disinterested in if I tried. So I lounged around till noon (or as much lounging as one can do with a hyperactive toddler under the same roof) and then left to meet DesiGirl and Silent One for lunch at Nando’s.

Here’s what I find cool about this whole blogging thingy (other than the opportunity to write and rant, of course) – that I can meet up with people from halfway across the world who I have never met before and pick up with them as if we were continuing a conversation we had had a few days earlier. It was fun, effortless and before we knew it, it was time to go back our separate ways. The food was great too – was nice to get my spicy fix after the bland food of the past few days.

In the evening, my mom and I left the men in charge of the house and kid and took ourselves off to see The Lion King. The story was known so no surprises there but the set, the costumes and the music were out of this world. My favourite bit was their rendition of The Circle of Life right at the start, which was a visual treat with such lovely and unusual renditions of the animal costumes. This video doesn’t do it justice at all but watch out for the elephant emerging from the audience.

Day Seven: Another Garden and Another Blogger Meet-up

We spent most of the day at Kew Gardens with a friend of ours. Though it thankfully did not rain, it was grey and miserable through the day so it wasn’t as much fun as it could have been. Also, given the weather and Ayaan’s tendency to get cranky without a nap, we spent only till lunch time there so I don’t think we did complete justice to the place. But what we did see was beautiful. It was huge and green and had the Thames flowing peacefully by at one end. And the collection of plant life on display through the park and the greenhouses was mind-boggling to say the least. And the tropical greenhouse, which we visited right towards the end, was absolute heaven because of the lovely, tropical temperature. We ended with lunch at the garden café and Ayaan continued to surprise me with his openness to new food – he had a bit of pumpkin soup and then polished off an entire kid’s serving of sausages and mashed potatoes – all stuff that he has never eaten before.

In the evening, I met up with the blogger I formerly knew only as 30in2005. And is she the person to know in London or what! We met at Borough Market (which is London’s oldest food market) and I got a full, guided tour with running commentary. We then had a drink and something to munch at a lovely tapas bar called Brindisa. Spanish food, especially tapas, is my new love. An entire meal made up of yummy appetisers – what’s not to love! This is the first time I met up with a blogger who was not a mommyblogger. And even my slight worries were immediately laid to rest and we chatted away nineteen to a dozen, even lingering at the tube station while multiple trains zoomed by. It gives me heart that I can still have an adult conversation with minimal references to my child! And getting back to her being the blogger to know in London, thanks to her I avoided the supposedly disappointing London Aquarium and was able to throw a fun birthday party for Ayaan at a place recommended by her.

Day Eight: A Lazy Day and a Happening Night

The lazy mood resurfaced on Saturday, helped along again by fairly miserable weather. We finally stepped out only for lunch and decided to experiment with Lebanese food at Maroush. The food was nice enough but the shawarma platter that I ordered for myself was really too large for just one person. We ordered some minced meat and rice concoction for Ayaan and he gobbled it up without a murmur. Seriously, by this time, I was feeling pretty silly about worrying about his diet on the trip! What is with kids and their need to prove you wrong…

In the evening, the brother made good on his promise to show me a night out on the town. Since the husband runs a mile in the opposite direction when told of such plans (gets in the way of his 10 p.m. bedtime you see), we roped in my cousin and her husband and the four of us set off to have ourselves a rocking time. We went to this exclusive, members-only club called Maddox. After waiting in line for a bit, we were shown to our table, which was basically a small round table with a semi-circular leather sofa. For the hefty entrance charge that you pay, you basically get a magnum bottle of vodka and a host of mixers. I got introduced to a new combination – vodka and Red Bull! And you know what they say about Red Bull giving you wings, well let me just say that they know what they are talking about. That combination kept me going till five in the morning and I was up the next day for breakfast and a trip to the zoo with the son! Anyway, coming back to Maddox, it was a super-cool place and the music was pretty good. I was wondering it would be all that house and trance nonsense which I really cannot bring myself to dance to but they mixed it up really well and we were dancing away right to the end. I felt totally over-dressed in my skinny jeans and slinky top though since mostly the women were in sexy dresses. Overall, the crowd was very nouveau riche and the way to flash your wealth there is to order Dom Perignon champagne, which is brought you with full fanfare (sparklers and special music) so that anyone in the place would have to be blind and deaf to not notice the RICH GUY OVER THERE WHO JUST ORDERED THE EXPENSIVE CHAMPAGNE!!! ;-)

Day Nine: A Fun Day for Ayaan

I woke up bright and early at eight and thought I was up to facing the day, so after a brunch at a nearby deli, Jai went off to the British Museum and my mother and I took Ayaan off to the Battersea Park Children’s Zoo (which we realised was actually just walking distance from the brother’s place). It is a really cute, little zoo with a very small collection of animals – nothing more exciting than a lemur or a meerkat – but much more suited to young children. And they really make an effort to make the zoo kid-friendly. The animal enclosures are very cutely designed. Like the mouse enclosure actually had this awesome mouse cage that was designed like what Jerry (of Tom & Jerry fame) might live in with a tiny bed, dining table and bookshelf. And all the fences had glass squares cut into them so that the little kids could see what the animals were up to without having to be lifted up. And the harmless critters like donkeys and rabbits were kept in enclosures with fencing that allowed kids to reach in and pet them. Very well done, I thought...

By lunch time though, the huge amount of alcohol in my system finally started to make its presence felt and I started feeling sleepy and nauseous. So once we gave Ayaan his lunch, we headed off home and I collapsed into a nap right next to him for the next three hours.

In the evening, we headed off to meet my ex-boss who lives near Swiss Cottage. He has a 5-year old son so Ayaan was fully occupied. In fact, most of the time, he was in the kids’ room downstairs while we sat upstairs and chatted. But I think his over-the-top friendliness finally got to the raised-in-London 5-year old in need of some space. He came up to the living room with Ayaan in hot pursuit and then kept edging away from Ayaan on the sofa, who thought it was a great game and kept inching closer much like a lecherous man on a park bench! It would have funny had it not been embarrassing! Anyway, the boy finally came to the conclusion that the only way out was to take himself off to bed, which he promptly did...

Day Ten: Another Fun Day for Ayaan (Aren’t these titles getting more creative by the minute?!)

We finally made it to Legoland. We were supposed to go the previous week on Wednesday but thankfully I happened to log into the site in the morning to find that it is shut on Tuesdays and Wednesdays! Anyway, our relatives who were out of town nicely lent us their chauffeur-driven car to drive out to Windsor where the park is. But what with the mandatory car seat, only three other adults could fit in the car. So we sent off Ayaan in the car with his Patti and Mamu while Jai and I slummed it and went by train. We reached almost an hour after them so they had gone in and got started on the rides.

The park itself is pretty cool though it is in no way comparable to the Disney parks both in terms of size and the rides themselves. But it is well suited for a kid of Ayaan’s age who has never been to an amusement park before. Many of the rides had a 1m minimum height rule and thankfully Ayaan just made the cut. He had a complete ball, to say the least – his favourites being the water rides except the last one called Vikings’ Splash which he found a little scary.

The Lego City that they have built in one corner of the park was pretty awesome too as they have used Lego bricks recreated loads of monuments (like Buckingham Palace) and bits of London, replete with moving models of trains, boats and the like so Ayaan was kept entertained too.

On the way back, I left the others to come back by the car and took the train into London, since I was going to see a musical by myself. This time, I saw Mamma Mia. Such fun it was! It’s a musical based on Abba’s music. The storyline was light-hearted and firmly in the chickflick genre of things (not that I was complaining) but what really lifted it was the way they kept breaking into one of the Abba songs at the relevant points in the story. It was all I could do to contain myself from belting out the songs along with the cast!

Phew! This post sure is getting long and there are still another five days to go. Plus it's past midnight and my energy levels are running low. So I am thinking I will finish what I started in the next post. Hopefully, the stress of an incomplete trilogy will not kill me in the meantime...


  1. See, I knew his diet wouldn't be an issue! The one things I'm seeing is how you and Jai are comfortably able to do things on your own based on your individual needs. I kinda like that!
    And your vacation does sound like a real one, yay for vacationing with family around, so you get help with Ayaan.

  2. Anonymous10:47 am

    really enjoyed the sequel. well worth the effort .. thanks!


  3. Ooh...the only thing I remember in the post is the vodka and Red Bull...will come back to comment on the rest of it later!

  4. I liked reading the London posts - what I loved best was your description of Ayaan sidling up to the 5 year old like a lecherous man in the park - ! Hilarious !

  5. Nice posts on London. Fun to read and nice pics and its like a good travelogue with links to all the interesting places to see and things to do.

    the holiday also sounds like there was something in it for everyone - you, jai and ayaan, and it therefore has all the makings of a perfect holiday. Hope you dont hit rock bottom when you get back to work!

  6. Sounds fun - particularly the night out! R's just like Jai too - such a homebody, bah!

  7. What fun- this was lovely reading, Ro!

  8. Totally enjoyed rading about your vacation. Two broadway shows in one vacation ?? :) Wow. I have only seen Le mis and that too twice. Sooo wanna see Lion King! I love the music from Mama Mia. Love Abba. Love Tapas. Waiting for Part tres!

  9. [Poppins] Well, considering that I hate war museums and he will have nothing to do with late night plans, there's not much choice. In the beginning, we would do EVERYTHING together but now we have our together stuff and our individual stuff and never the twain shall meet... ;-)

    [Anon/ Dipali/ Eve's Lungs] Thanks :-)

    [Parul] Did you head off to the bar then? ;-)

    [Lawyeramma] Rock bottom actually happened with the first week of school but we are climbing out of it now... ;-)

    [Maggie] Take R's enthu and divide that by half and then you get Jai's energy for night outs... :D

  10. [Dottie] Actually I saw 4! Hairspray in the previous week and Phantom of the Opera in the next one. Saw Les Mis when I was 16

  11. The weight of your expectations/ experience might kill me! I was probably having a good day when you were around.....

    Was in Borough market on Friday with a new to London old friend and I drew a complete blank with every question she asked me about it. So with you it was a fluke!

    Next time: the joys of non-sushi japanese food....

  12. Next time I hope to meet with you too.

  13. That sounds like quite a vacation.. I belive in taking family with me for a holiday with the baby or leaving the baby with family and going off alone :) It just doesn't work otherwise...

  14. that sounds like an ideal vacation! not the typical Indian vacation..if u know what I mean! running around to catch each and every corner of a theme park and such :)

  15. Sounds like a whole lot of fun! And wow! you watched 4 shows! What fun!

  16. [30in2005] Next time is the Oberoi coffee shop remember? And you seems to haunt Borough Market!

    [Mumbaigirl] Ya, I didn't know that you and 30in2005 knew each other. Would have been so cool if you could have joined us...

    [Raising T] The guilt of a vacation without the baby will probably ruin the vacation for me... so till he gets older, we are sticking to places where we have family to help...

    [IBH] A typical Indian vacation with a 3-year old (or for that matter ever) - thank you but no thank you... :-)

    [Mystic] I wanted to see Wicked too but decided that 4 were more than enough for a 2-week trip.

  17. Wow, sounds like a great time! Glad you were able to do a nice party for Ayaan! Waiting with baited breath for #3!

  18. Is that your brother in Kew? Ayaan seems to look EXACTLY like him. No?

    Trip sounds like such fun. But we needed more pics of you in skinny jeans. :)

  19. I think I might have been in Cambodia while you were here. But next time. Also the url of my blog has changed

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  21. fun fun trip... :) lovely pics

  22. [Talena] No. 3 is up and running ;-)

    [Sue] No silly, that's Jai... unless you mean the British guy on the left - he is just a friend and doesn't look anything like Ayaan ;-)

    [Mumbaigirl] And how does one find your new URL? Will check the link on 30in2005's blog...

    [Preethi] Thanks :-)

  23. [Mumbaigirl] Oh silly me - I just have to follow the link from your comment, don't I? *smacks herself on her forehead*

  24. I always find some thing new on your blog good work keep it up
    thanks for sharing it