I had no trouble falling asleep (after some minor contention regarding our pillows). However, I woke up at 4am, and was not able to fall back asleep. After an hour and a half of lying in bed with my eyes open, I decided to get up and read the Da Vinci Code in the bathroom (so as not to disturb my sleeping beauty). 6 hours later, at 11am, I finished the book, and Tenille finally woke up (after 14 hours of sleep). We got ready for church and started hoofing it to the church building about 1:30. We found the sacrament starting time of the ward on the Internet church site (2:50pm). We trekked across Hyde Park (about a mile), and got to the building about 2:15. We found a single’s ward holding sacrament meeting, so we snuck into a side room off of the gym to eat the sandwich, cheese, and crackers we bought the night before. At 2:40, we noticed all the singles were filing out of the sacrament hall, so we went in and sat down for the next session. After about 15 minutes of watching people slowly drift out, we finally asked a missionary that was lingering if there was another meeting in this building. Sadly, we were misinformed, and missed the sacrament meeting. Disappointed, we gave ourselves a quick tour of the building (which was the London stake center), and excused ourselves.
We had to get back to the Hotel because Tenille was starting to develop blisters. On the way back, we saw Prince Albert’s monument in Hyde Park. It was pretty big and ornate. I wondered if every royal person gets a monument like that… Because of her feet, Tenille had to take off her shoes in walk through the grass all the way through the park. We changed out of our church clothes at the Hotel and went back to Hyde Park. We saw the Kensington Garden and parts of the Kensington Palace. The Kensington Palace was smaller than we expected. Since it was Sunday, we just looked through the free parts, which mainly consisted of the gift shop and a foyer with a few paintings in it.
In the gift shop, a lady asked the shopkeeper how much a tea set cost. (About 59 pounds.). She then asked if the tea set was used in the palace. Tenille thought that this was a ridiculous question. She thought that if a tea set was actually used in the palace, it would cost much more. In my mind, I thought maybe it might cost less. It’s used. Then we started talking about perhaps opening a gift shop in our own home. After friends would visit, we ask them to kindly visit the gift shop on their way out. Perhaps we could sell replicas of things used in our home. We could also sell items that we have used in the Hyun home. Depending on if you subscribe to Tenille’s theory or mine, these items may cost more or less than the replicas.
We then visited the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain. It was a big O on the ground, with water bubbling up on one side of the O, then flowing down both sides, and meeting in a pool at the bottom of the O. It was peaceful, but certainly more subtle than Prince Albert’s enormous monument.
Next we walked to St. James Park again and took some pictures in front of Buckingham Palace. The queen was not in. Apparently, when the queen is in, there’s a special royal flag that is flown on top of the palace. Today, it was just the Union Jack. By this time, our feet were starting to protest. Tenille voted for the train, but I thought it’d be a good idea to get ourselves in shape for the upcoming 2 weeks by toughing it out and walking back. Note: training for a trip should take place BEFORE going on the trip. It was a painful 2-3 mile hike back to the hotel. I tried to keep my whining to a minimum since it was my brilliant idea. On the way back, we decided to call Caleb at a public phone because we suspected that even toll-free calls get charged at our hotel. The first phone booth contained pornographic flyers, so we kept on walking. We came upon a series of 5 phone booths. None of them had phones in them, except for the last one. We both squeezed into the tiny booth and I started dialing my folks with our phone card. We figured out quickly that this phone booth had probably doubled as a urinal in the very recent past. Nevertheless, we were determined to talk to our son in our tight phonebooth/urinal. Sadly, we got the answering machine. When we stepped out of the booth, we noticed that we were in the Northwest corner of Hyde park, otherwise known as Speaker’s corner. This was the same corner used by many missionaries in the past to proclaim the Gospel. Return missionaries from London often talked of this corner, where they got up on their briefcase, and preached to the passersby. Today all seemed quiet… except for a distant corner where there was a tightly gathered group of people. Tenille and I approached to investigate, and we heard people screaming at the top of their lungs. It was a man and woman at the center screaming about something, then a multitude of about 30 people gathered around them. We walked by cautiously, and noted that it was apparently a religious debate. We did not feel much of the Spirit near the bitter contention. After snapping a few pictures, we headed back to the Hotel. Once back at the Hotel, we went down to the train station to try calling Caleb again. A person came up to us, and asked for change to purchase some potato chips. Unfortunately, we only brought down the phone card. As we were explaining, another lady swooped in from nowhere and started yelling at the man. It sounded like she was yelling, “There’s no begging in the station. Get out of the station.” Then she went on her way. It looked like she was just another train passenger. I’ve never seen such aggressive anti-begging before. It ended up nobody was home again. Saddened, we returned to the Hotel for some journal writing and shut-eye. Tomorrow, we’re gonna get up early to go visit Westminster abbey and the British Museum.