Friday, June 23, 1989

Farewell, Great Britain ...

This was a mildly hectic day that began with the gathering of all of our bags and trying to flag down a taxi. Our original plan was to only take the taxi to the Tube station, but ended up taking it all the way to Heathrow instead, since it was only £20 for the trip. With all of our bags, it was worth it for the convenience.

We got checked through customs with no problem, and at 3 p.m. GMT, we were on the plane and taking off for JFK in New York City. Our flight was very nice, and we were treated to a showing of "A Fish Called Wanda" - my fourth viewing. I have now seen that film in America, Britain, Spain, and over the Atlantic Ocean. It was an edited version, but on the whole it was still good. I was worried because of the curse I believed that it had on me... however, once again, nothing bad happened to me after the viewing, so I think it's safe to say the "curse" is definitely broken.

We arrived at JFK at about 5:30 EST, and boy, what a change in the weather! It was foggy and miserable, and our commuter flight ended up being delayed until 10:15 p.m. So we waited around the airport, eating expensive food and reading books (I am now reading "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency" by Douglas Adams).

Tired, we finally arrived at Harrisburg International Airport at 11:30 p.m., and I was greeted to a big surprise... Chris Mulvihill and Shannon Hubbard were there at the airport waiting for me... which was more than a welcome sight! We talked for awhile as we packed Mr. Telencio's car (he came to pick us up and take us home), and then parted, since it was so late. Shannon is going to visit me tomorrow, and I'll be going to Millersville soon to see Chris and everyone else.

When I returned, we unpacked the car. I took a few things out of my suitcase, but I'm going to leave most of that for tomorrow. Grandma came up from her apartment to welcome me back. We talked for a little, and she was pleased to see me again.

Even though it was late, Greg called me shortly thereafter, so he and I talked for awhile. We're going to get together tomorrow and see the new movie "Batman," which premiered last night and is supposed to be quite good. It will already be the second time Greg has seen it.

While I was talking to Greg, Trista called me, so I got to talk to her for a few minutes as well. She's in New York right now and graduates from Hicksville High School on Sunday. She told me that her family has now moved back into our area, so as of July 1, she will be back in the neighborhood, which is great news!

Lots of things to see, and a lot of catching up to do.

It's good to be back home.



Thursday, June 22, 1989

Last Full Day in London/England/Britain/Europe ...

Well, I woke up early again in the flat, gathered my things, and met up with my parents. Dad and I then took three of my suitcases to the Tube station, while Mom and Angie did some shopping. Shelly helped us along the way.

While we were walking, traffic was halted for a Royal vehicle, though we couldn't quite make out who it was. Caught the train to Heathrow, where we dropped my luggage off at Left Luggage, so as to lighten the load for tomorrow when we leave.

We returned to London after some donuts and coffee, and met Mom and Angie outside of Harrod's at 2 p.m. (Picture #1) Walked about Harrod's for roughly an hour, then we made our way via Underground to Piccadilly Circus. (Picture #2) From there we walked up Regent Street so we could explore Hamley's. It's still an amazing toy store, and my parents were impressed.

Made our way to Oxford Street, where we went to the Virgin Megastore for a bit. I bought Mom a tape for her Wedding anniversary (on June 27th... I won't divulge what I bought her, in case this journal happens to fall upon her eyes before that date.) and did some browsing. From there we stopped for dinner at Garfunkel's, where I had chicken kiev and Dad stole one of their beer glasses (It was funny watching my parents attempt to be covert.)

After dinner we walked back down Charing Cross Road, stopping in a few book shops and taking some photos, mainly of theatres. Eventually we made our way through Leicester Square, where I bought the tackiest gifts I could find for a few of my friends. (Picture #3 shows the Odeon Theatre in Leicester Square, where the premiere of the new James Bond film, "Licence to Kill," was shown. This was the same theatre where I saw "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" back in December.)

At Leicester Square, we also watched the Swiss Clock go around, telling us it was now 8 o'clock. (Picture #4. This building was torn down a few years ago.)

Continued down Piccadilly until we arrived at the Hard Rock Cafe. It was too crowded, so we didn't stay long... just long enough to buy souvenirs. My family all bought shirts and I bought a baseball cap. Next we continued walking towards the flat, and when we got there we had coffee with Rosemary and her roommate Shelly.

I was going to go back outside and take some nighttime shots of London... one last night before heading back to America. But I was so tired at this point that after my parents left and returned to their hotel, I went to sleep.

(Picture #5 shows my parents and sister in the Underground station waiting for the next train. As you can see, they have done a bit of shopping on this day, our final day in London.)


Wednesday, June 21, 1989

Taking a Tour Inside Parliament ...

A hectic and fun day today. Dad and I awoke early this morning to walk to Victoria Station this morning, in order to buy my plane ticket. We arrived at around 7.30 a.m. and had no problems. So that detail has now been taken care of.

Dad said the family all enjoyed seeing "Starlight Express" immensely last night, which was good news. He and I had coffee and apple danish at the train station, which was empty because of a rail strike that is going to go on for one day. So as a result, we had to rely on our feet or on taxis for transportation today.

We walked back to the hotel (after buying a Daily Telegraph newspaper) and had a proper breakfast. I showered, packed, and we were out of the room at a little past 10. I dropped my bags off at Rosemary's flat, and then set off to find a room for Mom and Dad (Angela's flat did not work out for them.) In short time we found one for them, which was basic but nice, and they checked in.

Next, we took a walk to the House of Parliament, though we then decided to catch a taxi in order to save time. During the ride, I realized that I had forgotten to bring my copy of the Daily Telegraph. I was supposed to have a copy in hand and use it to flag down Sally Hallam, a friend of Dr. Morrison's who works as a secretary for the Daily Telegraph's political correspondent in the Parliament building. Fortunately, it wasn't a problem that I didn't have the newspaper and we met up with Sally without difficulty. (Picture #2 is the permit that gave us access to Parliament.)

At this point, Mom, Dad and Angela left to take a boat trip down the Thames River, and Dr. Morrison and I joined Sally to begin our exclusive tour of Parliament.

It was yet another memorable experience, as we walked around the floor of the House of Commons, which is much smaller than we expected, as well as other vital parts of the building. It was a great tour, and it was really nice of Sally to to take time out of her schedule to show us around.

Next we had an opportunity to see the House of Commons in action, which was quite remarkable. Although Mrs. Thatcher and Neil Kinnock were not there today, we still got to see some action. They were debating trade and industry, which was difficult to follow because of the style and mannerisms of their debate... frequent cat-calls and "here-heres" when one person spoke. We stayed there for 45 minutes, but left during the questions and answers. The reason? They were on question 10 after 45 minutes, with 91 to go. (Picture #3 is a magazine produced for Parliament; Picture #4 is the agenda for the business of the day for the House of Commons.)

So we then headed over to the House of Lords to see them in action, though here I am using the term "action" quite loosely. They were discussing what to do about Hong Kong, which is an interesting topic. The British are planning on turning it over to China in 1997. Unfortunately, it was presented in a far less exciting manner than the style of the House of Commons. In fact, we noticed that several of the Lords were actually asleep during the proceedings! If only we could've gotten to see this debate in the House of Commons.

Well, after only about 10 minutes of this, we left the very posh House of Lords chamber. I mailed two post cards, to Viv and to Sam, from inside Parliament to get the special cancellation from it's post office. And then we left.

Outside I took a few pictures (Pictured #1 is a compilation photo of several angles of Parliament that I shot, with Dr. Morrison standing in the foreground.), and then we walked along the Thames River until we reached the National Film Theater, where after a coffee we entered the Museum of Moving Images (MOMI). It was a fabulous place that I could've easily spent all day exploring. (Pictures #5 and #6 are brochures from the MOMI.)

It chronicled the history of film, and presented it very well... and since Dr. Morrison and I are film buffs, we had a wonderful time. The highlight of the experience was a section of the museum where we saw how a television production is done. There, they had a freeze-frame camera, a television interview area, a television news report display where you read from the cue TV and appear on camera, and something where it makes you appear like you are flying over the Thames.

They also had a Charlie Chaplin exhibit in honor of his 100th birthday, which was great, since he is one of my film heroes. I bought a badge and a book on Charlie Chaplin. (Picture #7 is the book cover.)

When we left the MOMI, it was a bit later than we had anticipated it would be, so we grabbed a taxi and dashed back to my parent's hotel, where they had been waiting for awhile. We then went to dinner at the Lime Tree Hotel, located across the street from my parent's hotel. It proved to be a very interesting meal.

First, our table was outside, and had a waitress that later told us she had a Yugoslav/Italian accent. She was very nice, but it was difficult to understand what she was saying at times. Then there was the gardener: A bizarre man who thought Angela was my daughter and that Mom was my wife. This was funny, but this guy was not playing with a full deck. (Picture #8 is Dr. Morrison, Mom and Angie at the Lime Tree Hotel.)

Well after that experience, we grabbed a taxi and went back to the Royal College building, grabbed some bags, and Mom & Dad returned to their hotel while Dr. Morrison, Angie and I took a taxi to Rosemary's flat. I think I have taken more taxi rides today than I have the entire previous nine months.

The rail strikes chaotic effect seems to have been ill judged. The traffic surprisingly ran smoother today. Great! I love seeing strikes get shattered.

At Rosemary's we all talked for a bit, but I was in bed by 12.30 - earliest in awhile!


Tuesday, June 20, 1989

A Rare View of the Changing of the Guard ...

The weather remained excessively hot today, but it could hardly dampen what we did today. After breakfast, we walked down to Buckingham Palace and St. James Park, with our intentions of watching the ceremonial changing of the guard.

At 11 a.m., we ENTERED the gates at Buckingham Palace, and were given a very rare opportunity - we watched the changing of the guard from the inside of the gate, actually leaning against the walls of Buckingham Palace while the ceremony took place. There was a certain self-satisfaction we felt from seeing all of the people on the outside of the fence clamoring for a glimpse of the guards, while we were on the opposite side, with a clear, unobstructed view. Thanks go to Dr. Morrison for having friends in all the right places!

When we left the palace, Mom, Dad and Angie returned to the room while Dr. Morrison and I took the Underground to Piccadilly to do some shopping. We went into a Specialty record shop of nothing but Film and Show soundtracks, where I found the record that my friend Scott has been searching for unsuccessfully for many years: "Meatballs," his favourite film. Hope he still wants it. If not, I'll gladly keep it.

In another shop, I bought a few postcards, and then browsed around Tower Records until 5.30, when I returned to get ready for tonight's West End show. Dr. Morrison and I left for "Les Miserables," while my parents and Angie went to see "Starlight Express" (which I had already gone to see during my high school class trip to England in 1987.)

We met Dr. Morrison's niece Rosemary and her sister Angela outside the theatre, having a drink before the show began. Then Dr. Morrison, Angela and I parted with Rosemary and took our seats up in the peanut gallery. I mean, they were way up there. It unfortunately took away from the show experience for us, not too mention the unbearable heat. Although the music and acting and the story were all excellent, because of our partially-obstructed position, and because of the projection of the voices, it was often too difficult to follow what was going on exactly. If I see it again, I want good seats or I'll pass. (Pictured at top is the Palace Theatre. See those windows at the top? That's about where we were in relation to the stage at ground level.)

So in the same day... awesome seats for the Changing of the Guard, horrible seats for "Les Miserables."

We met up with Rosemary at the show's end around 11 p.m., and then ate at a French restaurant nearby (very continental cuisine this week). The food was excellent, although the portions were small. But they were just the right size for me tonight.

We talked and concluded that after Dr. Morrison returned home, Angie and I could stay with Rosemary, while Mom and Dad might possibly stay at Angela's house. We'll see how that works out.

Wow! Yet another full day gone by!


Monday, June 19, 1989

A Stroll Down Abbey Road ...

I woke up bright and early at 6.30 a.m. to begin packing the car with Dr. Morrison. After breakfast, and after bidding farewell to Fiona, Dr. M and I drove off at about half 9, while my parents and sister prepared to leave shortly thereafter by train.

We had a good run on the road from Neston to London, stopping twice along the way: once to eat a very mediocre hamburger at a stop along the motorway, and another stop once we arrived in London to (finally) see the Abbey Road studio.

So between Liverpool and London, I've now seen just about everything I needed to see with regards to The Beatles. Snapped a shot of the street where the Abbey Road album cover was shot (pictured above). Had to move quickly between traffic, and I didn't get a chance to get a photo of myself walking across. Yeah, I'm sure I'd be the first person that thought to do that! (Second photo is the main entrance to Abbey Road Studios. I wonder how many times did John, Paul, George and Ringo pass through that portal?)

We had no traffic problems until we hit London, but we managed OK. Checked into the Royal Society of General Practitioners (thanks to Dr. M, of course), where we plan to stay for two nights. Just as we were all unpacked, Mom, Dad and Angie all showed up.

Once we were all squared away, Dr. Morrison and I took off for Leicester Square, where we came away with five tickets to see the West End musical "Blood Brothers"- at half price, no less! We returned to the room, picked up my parents and sister, then headed for the show. It was marvelous. We enjoyed it tremendously... good music, good story, good acting, and even pretty good seats. (Third picture: The family outside the theatre after the show, sporting a souvenir programme. Next picture is my ticket stub.)

Following the show, we went to Chi-Chis in Leicester Square for dinner, and enjoyed a delicious Mexican meal. We then walked around Piccadilly Circus before grabbing a taxi back to the room, which is located just off of Knightsbridge, across from Hyde Park. It is also right next to the former Iranian Embassy, which was gutted by fire after a bomb exploded following a terrorist overthrow in 1980. For more details, check out the entry in the "Chronicles of the 20th Century" book.

We zonked out shortly after returning to the room.


Sunday, June 18, 1989

Two Wongs Don't Make a Reitz ...

I had a very good, relaxing day following my recent marathon of activity. I woke up late in the morning, ate breakfast, and took the afternoon easy at Dr. Morrison's house.

We went for a walk down the road to Ness Gardens, which is a very nice botanical garden. Although it was very hot, I had a great time with my parents, catching up on the events of the past nine months.

Soon we walked back to Dr. Morrison's house, where after another rest, during which time I listened to a few of my records, we got ready to go out to dinner at the Jasmine Eating House - a Chinese restaurant. Before we made it to the restaurant, we stopped at Mike and Eunice Unger's house for some drinks (cool, refreshing Pimm's, a classic summer British spirit.)

We gathered at the restaurant at around 8 p.m., and around half 8, the feasting commenced... and boy, was it good! Every course was delicious, from the soup to the roast duck and to the main course - sweet and sour chicken, steak and several other delicious dishes. We all had an excellent time, eating and drinking until close to midnight.

It was great to see everyone one last time before jetting off, and what a way to celebrate! Dr. Morrison knows the owners of the restaurant, the Wongs, and I convinced Dr. Morrison to take a picture of me with them. I call it, "Two Wongs Don't Make a Reitz." (Pictured above is the classic photo, with me, Mrs. and Mr. Wong at their restaurant. Nice hair, world traveler!)

Upon returning to Dr. Morrison's house, I still had another task... to repack my gear as best I could for the next journey. I didn't get to bed until it started to get light outside, which is still pretty early in these parts.

  • Number One Song in Britain This Week: "Sealed with a Kiss" - Jason Donovan

  • Number One Song in America This Week: "Satisfied" - Richard Marx


Saturday, June 17, 1989

It's My 20th Birthday... and a Farewell to Hull ...

Well, today is my birthday. And also Viv's father's birthday. And my friend Molly Sherman's birthday. And my friend Ted's brother Chip Schaeffer's birthday. And the Queen's birthday (observed.)

So on this, obviously one of the most important days of the year, I turned 20, and had only 2 1/2 hours of sleep at the same time. All the same, it was going to be a "big day" today (as Greg always says.)

I ate breakfast with my parents at the Beck House Hotel (which is conveniently only about a block away from The Grange.), and we dined at a leisurely pace as we chatted and got caught up on a number of things.

Afterward we packed up all of my gear, gave Sam my Social-Political Structures paper to hand in for me so that I could leave a bit early, along with a few other things I gave to him, and also bid farewell to Shannon the Hamster (Lorna, another hamster owner, agreed to care for her). Walked around the residence and bid farewell to J.P., Neil, and other people that I saw walking about.

Next we took a walk up to the Cottingham Road site so that my parents could see the area a bit, and also to return my library books. (Pictured above is a photo I snapped of my parents and sister along that walk.)

At noon, we hopped on the train and I said farewell to Hull for the last time, as we departed for a stop in York. While on the train, we met up with Dave Hart and his parents, who were going to York as well, so we traveled with them for a bit. It was a slow train and we didn't get to York until nearly 4 p.m., but it was another beautiful day and we still were able to see a lot.

We watched some crew races on the river (pictured is Mom and Dad watching the race), walked the shops, went through the Jorvik Viking Centre (third visit for me... my parents enjoyed it). Dad and I climbed up to the top of, oh, what's the name of that castle on the hill there again? Anyway, we climbed up and took some great photos.

At 6 p.m. we went to Pizza Hut for my birthday dinner, which marked the first time I drank a beer with my parents in public (or anywhere, for that matter). In a few days, it won't be legal for me to do that in public for another year.

While there, Dad committed a humorous faux pas. When the waitress asked him if everything was alright, he replied, "No, that will be all" (not listening to exactly what she had said.) I laughed, anyway.

Walked past the minster, and along the wall for awhile (pictured is Mom, Dad and Angie walking the wall), looking at the city until 8.15, when we returned to the train station. Dad called Dr. Morrison, while Mom and I bought drinks.

Another funny moment: Mom asked for a hot tea with a little milk, and when her order arrived, she received a hot tea and a little milk carton. Again, I saw the funny side of this.

We had a hectic train ride, constantly worrying if we were on the right train or not (the Brit Rail men did their best to confuse us). But in the end, we arrived in Liverpool only slightly late, where Dr. Morrison picked us up and drove us back to his house.

I took my parents through my photo albums over some drinks, and got to bed around 2 a.m. Almost didn't seem like a birthday, but it was a great day. Mom and Dad gave me a Beatles shirt on the train, which was nice, and Dr. Morrison and Fiona gave me a Liverpool F.C. scarf and hat. Love 'em both! (Pictured is me and Mom in Dr. Morrison's dining room, modeling my new winter gear over drinks and looking at my photo albums.)