July 20, 2005

Val Kilmer in London

I walk pass The Playhouse Theatre every morning to work. A few months ago the signs went up for the new play starring Val Kilmer called "The Postman Always Rings Twice."

Ryan walked by the backstage entrance one night after dinner and noticed the area full of people. There was also a car parked 8 feet away with a driver in it. A few minutes later, Val Kilmer appears. Ryan takes a snap with his camera phone while Val signs autographs.


Last night, we happened to be passing the Playhouse Theatre when the show was letting out and the actors were leaving. We waited for about 10 minutes to see Val greeting the fans, taking pictures, and signing autographs before popping into his car.

Posted by oneray at 4:53 AM

July 7, 2005

Attack on London: We are OK

It wasn't until I came home and finally read more detailed news online articles that I realized the devastation of today's events. The BBC does not leave out the details. If there is blood or an injured person, we will see it.

This morning, I had not noticed anything different until my coworker's sister in Spain called her to see if she was all right and if she had heard about the explosions. Naturally, I checked the BBC website to see what was going on.

At noon, we went for a walk and realized that many businesses were closed. A few grocery stores and restaurants were open, but the majority were closed or closed earlier. It was quiet in the center of London, which is very unusual on a summer day. It felt almost like Christmas day; empty and a bit gloomy.

There were only 3 of us in the office today. Our office manager sent an email out early in the morning saying she was working from home in the morning and will be coming into the office around noon. She picked a good day to work from home. Ryan and I are lucky as we live a 15-minute walk away from our office. Elena, our Spanish coworker, road the Bakerloo line pass the Edgware Road Station (one of the 3 that was hit) and made it to the office without worry.

In summary, there were 3 underground train and 1 bus explosions. It is a sad day, but we must carry on with our lives.

Posted by oneray at 4:34 PM

July 6, 2005

London to host 2012 Olympics!

We're pretty lucky here. Our office faces Trafalgar Square where many celebrations and protests have taken place. Today, there was a gathering for the announcement of the winner to host the 2012 Olympics. At around 11:45 AM, 6 of us (there were only 6 of us in the office today) left the office to join the crowd in Trafalgar Square. There were some London Olympics reps there distributing "Thank you London!" Olympic Candidate flags. We all held them and waved them with excitement. Verity, the only British in our group, was ecstatic. The rest of us debated the benefits and drawbacks with having the Olympics in London. Some of us were even interviewed by the press. There seemed to be a lot of people with notepads and pencil in hand or a microphone and tape recorder. Since we were being loud about our opinions, we were an easy group to interview.

Although, it would be nice to be living in the same city as the games, we realized that most of us probably would not still be in London in 7 years. We will watch the games on TV nevertheless.

It was rather fun being on Trafalgar Square, in with the huge crowd, and making lots of noise. People were starting to cheer even before the announcement was made on the big screen in the Square. I wonder what changes or improvements will take place for the Olympics...

Articles on London winning the bid is all over the Internet. However, here is a nice Flash presentation on the proposed venues and events for the 2012 Olympics in London.


Posted by oneray at 11:40 AM

July 4, 2005

O Porto

We spent a weekend in Portugal from June 25 - 27 to visit our friends Afonso and Sonia who live in Porto.


We landed in Portugal on Saturday afternoon. Afonso picked us up at the airport and took us to see his new house. It is a ground floor apartment that he recently refurbished. Dark hardwood floors, not much furniture, but there was a huge dining table that converts into a full-size pool table and ping pong table.

Then Afonso took us to the Holiday Inn Porto. It's actually not in Porto but in a small town just on the other side (South) of the river from Porto. For dinner Saturday night, Afonso took us to a restaurant called Casa de Cha (Tea House), which sits right on the "End of the world". It's built on the rocks that sit right next to the ocean. We were there for sunset and had a fabulous view. The seafood was spectacular. I shared the salt baked fish with Afonso and Sonia while Ryan had lobster. After dinner, we went to the old part of Porto and had drinks by the river.

Sunday morning, we went to Afonso's favorite place called Fundacao Serralves. The foundation includes the Museum of Contemporary Art, Park, and House.



Near the Serralves House is the pond. It's green, full of algae, but the ducks, fish, and turtles seem to like it.


On this big estate is also a farm. There were some elk looking animals, but I couldn't get a good shot. Fortunately, this guy stayed still enough for me to take a good shot.

Nearby the Serralves farm is a huge aromatic herb garden.

... Just had to take a photo with these big blue flowers...

The bank South of the river is where many of the port wineries are. We ate lunch at a restaurant with a fabulous patio, with a view of the river and the old parts of Porto.




After lunch we wandered the area to find a winery/port cellar that was open. Not many were open on Sunday, but we did find Ferreira open.

Picture of some old vacant buildings... now a parking lot.

Inside of the Ferreira winery. We took the guided tour, learned a bit about port wine, and had a tasting.

Afterwards, we went to the beach


For dinner, we went to a casual everyday restaurant to eat the local cuisine. Monday morning, Afonso took us to the airport, and we got back to London around lunch time.

It was too short. We'll have to go back again soon.

Posted by oneray at 3:07 PM