The first clerk began to put up our bags on the respected stands while the 'lead' clerk began to describe the features of the room. The third clerk, a young gentleman was a male British version of a 'Price is Right' model as he would display and demonstrate the different items in the room.
"This is your tele, "she said as clerk #3 opened the cabinet and displayed a remote. "You can see it comes with a remote control. The ON button is here and you will find a guide here."
We watched clerk #3 move seamlessly pointing out each thing she mentioned. They had to have done the routine at least 50 times a week. They had a freaky twin connection going. It was plain spooky.
Once they slowly left (unlike Americans who are fairly blunt about the tip, they just moved slower until you stopped them), I plopped on the bed wanting to catch some zzzzs since I had very little sleep on the flight.
"You can't do that, "Mike said pulling me out and grabbing my coat. "Remember we have to stay up to get out bodies used to the time change."
"A couple of hours wouldn't hurt anyone."
Mike shook his head and opened the curtains to reveal a lovely British Park.
"Look, it's London, Across that park is Buckingham Palace and the Queen of England. We can't sleep now. If we're paying this much for this room--we should at least enjoy it."
I sighed, "Well I am hungry."
He grabbed his coat and we made our way via the smallest elevator ever made to the lobby.
Our doorman, who still remembered us, suggested pub down the street for a proper British lunch.
We got there; Mike had fish and chips; I had a leek soup. We felt British until we ended our meal and made our very first discovery about Europeans.
Europeans it appeared went to restaurants to talk and be social; to enjoy people. We Americans on the other hand are more like pigs at a trough-- food, bill, pay, home. Mike and I wolfed down the meal and waited patiently for our bill. We waited and we waited. Finally we flagged down our waiter and asked for the bill. He looked dumbfounded for a minute and then quickly brought the check. Apparently he had not waited on many Americans in his day.
Then we decided to make the quick skip across the park and see Buckingham Palace. I was worried it would a somber occasion as Princess Diana had been killed three weeks before our visit but beside a few handfuls of bouquets propped up by the gates (and a few tears from me), all was well and cheery at the palace.
We glanced around looking for where to get to tickets when we spotted the ticket counter to our left. We were amazed no one was in line. We scurried right up to the counter and asked for two tickets to the palace.
"Americans?" the lady at the counter asked.
Mike smiled, "Yes, how could you tell?"
"Line jumping for one," someone shouted behind us.
We turned and so a line of at least fifty people a good twenty feet from the counter. We had done it again.
Mike and I looked at each, not sure what to do. It was too late to go in line, we had our tickets and we didn't want the world to think the 'colonists' were social morons. It was too late--they did, So we grabbed the tickets and looked down at our feet as we went inside.
Back at the hotel, the conversation came back to Captain Bucko and the bed and breakfast.
"We can't afford this Lisa, "Mike pleaded.
I sighed looking out at the park from our window. We were living across from one of the most known women in the world. It was true--we could not afford it.
Mike continued, "If we stay, we can forget about doing anything outside the tour later on and the tour only includes two meals a day. I don't want to be broke on our honeymoon."
"I'm just scared it's all a big set-up. I mean who is that nice."
"People are nice for the most part. I really trust him (Captain Bucko)."
I pulled out the number he gave us and handed it to Mike.
He spoke for a good 15 mintues and then hung up.
"He sounded great Lisa and they have a nice room we can have. He gave us directions. They are right off the tube."
The tube is the British subway system and believe it or not, very nice, as compared to ours in the States at least.
"Well let's at least enjoy this night here,"I mumbled, not too pleased with what we were about to do.
Mike smiled and then proceeded to make arrangements to leave in the morning.
After a quick goodbye to our ever helpful doorman who still called us by name, we journeyed to a whole different part of London through the Tube carrying a multitude of bags to Notting Hill. I do not recommend it. At one stop, a young lad tapped Mike on his shoulder and told him he should hide his designer watch in his pocket. I did not feel good about this.
We got to our stop and proceeded down a small street behind a Brazillian Meat Restaurant. Across from what looked like a Thai type 'dive' (trashy restaurant), was the bed and breakfast. Small and assuming, I was wishing we had one of .45s everyone seems to think Texans always carry.
Mike walked up the steps and told me, we could always leave if things did not feel right. I was ready to walk, no, sprint even before the door opened.
He knocked on the door and a middle age, well dressed but stylishly unkept man opened the door revealing a very tiny hall. Mike shock his hands and introduced himself and mentioned Captain Bucko. I bit my lip and stood beside him.
What is in the Miller's Bed and Breakfast? Will we join our tour later on or does danger lie ahead? Also, can we prove to Europe Americans aren't really that rude? Find out next week :)