Three Plays, and High Tea On A London Bus

While in London Jess, Luke and I stayed at a flat in Camden that was in an excellent location for two reasons: first, it was only a block away from Camden tube station and second, because it had a huge glass window that overlooked a narrow street where van played dodgem cars – literally ramming each other to make parking spaces. As we watched I couldn’t help thinking how much my dad would enjoy sitting 5ere and watching the mayhem play out below.

The apartment, like all AirBnb places under a certain price, had its oddities. Like 18 halogen downlights in the small lounge/kitchen space and a bathroom fan switch that was so high up it almost touched the ceiling. Weird.

While in London we did a bunch of things! Here they are in a roughly chronological list.

The Play That Goes Wrong

Andrew and Lila came down from Cambridge with us and we bought them tickets as a thank you present for letting us use their house as a backpackers hostel.

We had seen a bit of the play on YouTube and it didn’t disappoint live. Much hilarity, both slapstick and more clever humour. Well worth the ticket price.

High Tea On A London Routemaster Bus

My friend Lorraine and her daughter Rosie were in London at the same time as us so Jess and I joined them for a lovely afternoon tea on a bus!

We arrived a little early and had a chat to the bus driver who was a proper cockney.

I booked an upstairs table and we had a lovely time! They catered for vegetarian and gluten intolerances (Jess and Lorraine) and the food was good!

After we’d eaten the food pictured above the scones were brought out and these were the first warm scones we’d been served in all our UK afternoon tea experiences. We were very pleased!

I will admit that we didn’t pay all that much attention to the commentary and the only thing I really remember is passing the ship front from the movie Kingsman.

Not a cheap experience, at £45 each but worth it for the special treat.

Cereal Killer Cafe

Jess’ friend Erin joined us for the next few days and we all made an early trip to Cereal Killer cafe to see what the fuss was about.

Although not all he ones pictured above were for sale. I had Oreo and a peanut butter cereal mixed together. It was delicious but tasted more like dessert than breakfast. There was literally nothing healthy on the menu.

The decor was neat – very 90s bedroom chic.

A Comedy About A Bank Robbery

At the end of the first play we saw they announced that the same production company was putting on another play in the West End so we went to see that too.

This time it was just Luke and I – Erin and Jess went to see The Lion King – and we LOVED it. It was funny and clever and they set design was fantastic. Go see it if you get a chance! We bought tickets on the day and still managed really good seats. The theatre itself was beautiful- like a wedding cake turned inside out.

My photo doesn’t really do it justice.

The Importance of Being Ernest

We saw this production on our last day and it wasn’t bad. I’ve seen it before many years ago and I like all the Oscar Wilde I’ve read but I wasn’t thrilled by this interpretation. It felt rushed and the two male leads seemed to be shouting most of the way through.

Camden

We all did quite a lot of walking around Camden. We looked at street art.

And I went with Jess and Erin super early to take a photo at… well, you can guess where.

On our last day Luke and I took a walk around Hampstead Heath and looked at all the dogs. I’ve tried to go to HH a number of times previously but my hay fever has always flared up. Autumn was definitely in the air this time so I was safe.

Our last meal in London was a return to Five Guys, a burger chain Luke’s Aunt Sue had recommended. We enjoyed it a lot more this time as we’d been able to read the menu, unlike our attempt in France;-).

Also Oreo shakes are amazing!

So that ends the European part of this trip! We packed our bags and boarded our Thai Airways flight for Bangkok. I spent most of my awake hours on the flight thinking about how I could manage to come back next year to do more hiking in the north of England. We’ll see!

Ocean World, Madame Tussauds and Baiyoke Sky Tower.

Yesterday was a good day to be inside out of the 39 degree, muggy heat so Luke and I pre-bought our M. Tussauds and Ocean World tickets the night before online (saving nearly 50%, if you’re thinking of going 😉 ). The catch was we had to enter both places before midday so we got out early, ready to do a bit of camera equipment scouting at the mall before the attractions opened.

Turns out only government businesses open before 10am, or at least that was the information given to us by a random guy on the street. As we milled around outside MBK at 9am we were approached by an extremely friendly middle aged fellow who told us to go to another market down the road that was much cheaper. We didn’t really have time but had a chat to him anyway. He told us all about the water festival coming up, a parade that was on the next day and seemed very keen to share everything he knew about Bangkok. It was a nice chat but we headed off down the road to find a drink and were then stopped by another guy who asked what we were doing and directed us to a different place to shop. Shortly afterwards, as we were looking at some of the roadside food stalls, killing time, a lady came up for a chat about our holiday and to tell us about what she was doing.. it was starting to get weird. Like we’d inadvertently put on our ‘talk to us, we’re tourists!’ t shirts that morning.

Eventually we got into the mall that had the wax exhibition and spent almost an hour wandering around.

I give Tiger a few pointers.

It was fairly cheap to get into and quite interesting. Not a patch on Ocean World though, which I’d definitely rate above Melbourne Aquarium, which I think is quite good, but Bangkok has OTTERS. They did a short feeding show where the otters jumped around and climbed things then when we came back they’d curled up together for a sleep. D’aw! I didn’t get any photos though, you’ll have to wait for Luke’s next video.

Terrifying!

We also watched the shark feeding show, which seemed to consist mainly of two divers standing on the heads of the sharks and poking them with sticks… which sounds worse than it was, it looked very gentle, but it seemed that they were keeping the (larger than person-sized) sharks away from their heads and forcing them to the floor of the aquarium where a couple of the enormous beasts just wiggled around like puppies and tried to get into the fish basket.

My favourite thing in the aquarium was the octopus. It was quite huge – it’s head/body would’ve been as big as a basketball and its tentacles were beautiful plus it was moving around a lot.

So beautiful!

After the fun of wandering around in a cool, dark building we walked the couple of blocks back to the hotel in the searing heat and caught a cab over to Lebua. The driver wouldn’t put the meter on but we only noticed after we’d gone a few blocks. If I hadn’t had a splitting headache I might’ve made him let us out but, with all our bags, it seemed such a hassle. As it was the charge wasn’t extortionate but still, I was fuming. Refusing to put the meter on is a pretty typical scam.

Arriving at our hotel washed away all my irritation and frustration. Lebua at State Tower is *gorgeous*. Another one of those hotels that cause you to eventually forget that you need to open doors for yourself and close them behind you because there’s always someone there to do it for you.

We checked in and decided to upgrade to the Tower Club, which meant that instead of a 20-something floor room we had a three room suite on the 54th floor, free high tea every afternoon with unlimited drinks (of any kind), free mini bar and a view that Batman would envy. You only turn 37 once, right? I could not afford this level of luxury (at least, not without selling my house) in Australia, but here it costs about as much per night as the Best Western in Ballarat, so why the heck not?

We were escorted up to our room (ears popping several times) and just… wow. You’re looking down on just about everything, including other skyscrapers.

We had a couple of hours before heading out so we quickly ran out to buy me a pair of covered shoes (a ‘smart casual’ dress code applies in all the restaurants here) so we could make it to high tea. We were starving as we’d only had breakfast and fortunately the first pair of shoes I found fit perfectly and were under $20. We dashed back to the hotel, waited impatiently for the elevator and made it to high tea in time to scoff down a cocktail, a plate of minute sandwiches, some pastries and chocolates before heading out to meet up with Ean and his godfather, Niren, again.

These savoury pastries were so crisp they shattered everywhere and made a huge mess. We kept giggling like little kids.

After a tuk tuk that stopped working at every set of lights and a mad dash along a busy road, we made it to the hotel on time, only to sit and wait for 50 minutes as Niren was still out shopping. Turned out he’d had to go to several places for a couple of caps that I’d expressed an interest in the night before (gifts for family), but once he got back and we sorted everything out and headed to Baiyoke Sky Tower, the tallest building in Bangkok. We all marveled at the view and took a lot of photos as the sun went down.

A lovely day and so nice to spend the evening talking with Ean and Niren. We hope to see them again one day. If any of you are thinking of going to Siem Reap do get Ean’s details from us, he was just great.

Luke, Ean and Niren.