London,  travel

London Day 1: brought to you by jet lag


We have arrived in London! We got in about 3:45 pm London time and we were so out of sorts with our schedules all out of whack. My first impression of London was the smell of Tang. In fact it was sort of a theme because the orange juice they served on the plane was definitely powdered and very Tang like.  Poor Joon had an unfortunate accident with the tangy orange juice and ended up wearing it and possibly ruining her stuffed Pusheen. Anyway, after we got through customs and were funneling up and down the many stairways towards our car service, we smelled this very strange orange-scented cleaner. Like Tang! Cheerio! That’s my first impression of London.


My second impression is that it is very bright! Maybe it’s because we are farther north latitudinally than Southern California and the sun is closer during the summer or maybe it’s because I’m used to living by the ocean with a marine layer constantly in the air. Or maybe it was just unusually sunny! Very sunny for three in the afternoon.


My third impression is: why are there ladies dressed this way? Is there some sort of comi-con-kawaii party going on in the park?  I didn’t have the guts to take a picture face on but if I see more of these ladies I definitely will because they are everywhere.


After a quick walk to the River Thames we figured out we were hungry and settled on the worst food chain ever: Garfunkles. I think this is where all tourists go first because we don’t know any better. We later figured out there are a ton of really nice restaurants on the other side of the square so I am not going to say that all food in London is terrible. But Garfunkles is definitely terrible. I think some of the terribleness is a bit sentimental though. Dense mashed potatoes that taste like they’ve been under a heat lamp all day, watery iceberg salad with bits of cabbage, mashed peas that look like guacamole but definitely are NOT. We were such blundering Americans.

By this time we were all getting very grumpy and tired because our internal clocks were clashing with the bright sunshine. We yelped a coffee shop thinking a shot or two of espresso would fix us up.


But that didn’t work at all. My plan was to stay up all day and go to bed when the Londoners  do so we could beat jet lag but the kids thought that was a horrible idea. Nothing could keep them up and in the end I had to give

Of course me being being the extreme morning person that I am, I could not sleep at all with the sun shining so bright. My brain completely works off the sun and does not care at all what time it is. So I sat in our apartment and sulked for two hours straight while everyone else slept like the dead. I think possibly jet lag gave me a sour attitude but no desire to sleep which is terribly inconvenient when everyone else is sleeping. How could we be in London, just steps away from so much to explore and all anyone wanted to do was sleep?!! But also, how can you make kids do things when they are tired and grumpy? Sometimes you just have to accept your limits.

Why didn’t I go out and explore London alone you ask? Honestly, I was too afraid and I knew that Payam would be sad to miss the things I would be doing without him. The girls could care less but I know Payam would want to be with me. So I waited and sulked and worked myself up into a really foul mood.


It was a mood that could only be cured by the most loving boyfriend who knows how to cheer me up like no other AND WONDERFUL SUNSET LIGHT! When everyone finally woke up and we got ourselves back down into town, the shadows were so long and everything was glinting with gold. Sweet-time light saves the day!


We walked around Trafalgar square, trying to stay out of crowds because of course we are all paranoid of terrorist now.


And through some kind of horse guard palace. I apologize I still do not really know where I am but we are taking a hop-on-hop-off bus tour today so I will be much more educated about things when I blog about day two.


Then we walked by Big Ben. Big Ben is under construction so it is not chiming regularly but I’m happy to report that it chimed twenty times this morning at exactly 8:24 (an odd time to chime) and it sounded lovely! I rushed  past all the sleeping bodies this morning to our balcony to listen to it and I was not disappointed.


After Big Ben we walked over the bridge to the London Eye. We couldn’t take  ride in The London Eye as they only take reservations and were all sold out but we promised ourselves we would go make reservations online and try it again another day. Of course we haven’t gotten around to that but we have many more days to go.


We headed back over the bridge, past a bumping dj party and ended up at Wagamama, a noodle restaurant chain that my friend Elyssa had told me about. It was delicious! london-day-one-goodnight-big-ben

Goodnight first day of London!



  • BeachMama

    First days after long travel are always hard. Not sure exactly where you are staying, but you can order up a picnic from Fortnum and Mason ( that you can pick up or have delivered. I know you love picnics so this could be a fun lunch or dinner for you all to enjoy in a park. Have lots of fun!!

  • Sarah

    Mmm, yasai yaki soba at Wagamama is the best. Did you find the acoustics weird? I’ve been to two different locations and in both it was difficult to hear each other across the table. On the plus side, the paper menus make great ear trumpets.

    Check out Borough Market too, for all kinds of food and snacks; it’s open in full Wed-Sat.

  • Nic Dempsey

    Welcome! I’m really looking forward to seeing how you see my city! It is bright, at the moment we are having unexpectedly good weather for a holiday but it’s all set to change on Wednesday, with grey and rainy weather. This week is the last week of the school holidays so it should be a good time to visit the touristy things.

  • Jenny

    Welcome to London! I have lived here my whole life (apart from a few years to study elsewhere), and I still find amazing places I haven’t been. My favourite website for finding slightly strange things to see and do is

    Oh, and don’t miss Stanfords in Covent Garden:

    Email me if you need any help, I’ve been reading your blog forever and would love to pay back some of the benefit of that.

    Have a wonderful holiday!

  • Cathy

    I love that you can be grumpy and fully own up to it! Because I can totally relate. Also, love Bug’s outfut. Which just reminded me that she had her short lived fashion blog – what was it called! Have so much fun and thanks for blogging for us armchair travelers!

  • Gingermog

    London smells like Cheerio’s I love it :) The horse guard place was the changing of the guards who make sure nothing bad happens to our Queen ( but I guess you know that) . There hats are pretty silly, but they never ever smile no matter how hard people try to make them giggle.

    I’m so sorry you stumble into Garfunkles for dinner, my Dad used to call the place carbuncles. Yes, your right they are a chain like Denny’s I guess which have outstayed their welcome and have been serving unwary tourists for decades. Mind you I think they are only in London now. Sorry, I forgot to warn you. Also the pizza slices sold at the booths in Leicester Square are pretty sad too.

    Better luck next time. Do thou want a list of where to avoid? Xx

    • SAJ

      Oh dear, I hope my posts don’t sound too much like I’m hating London because in fact it is pretty awesome and I love it! I can totally see hanging out here and exploring all the little shops and cafes. I was quite a bit grumpy day one and two because I thought I didn’t need sleep. It turns out I am mortal after all. And I’ve been peeved to have to stay in the apartment because Payam is on some pretty strong medicine that makes him nauseous (his pills are a bit mixed up due to the time change, he usually takes the ones that make him sick at night but its taking a while to get them switched to London time). But today was lovely! And really we were so lucky to have such sunny days when we got here! I took a day off blogging to sleep instead but I assure you the next post I write will be raving. I’m such an explorer at heart and there is so much to explore here! We can’t wait to see you guys!


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