Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Our Adventures on Public Transport and Where We've Been This Week

We've been extremely adventurous in our public transportation this week as opposed to last. We've even taken the tube. I wanted to see if I could do it or not. Turns out, I can, but it is difficult. The tube is not very accomodating to strollers, with lots of stairs and escalators at most stations. We've also taken several buses, including one route with a bus change. Now, this is a lot for a girl who usually puts the children in their carseats and takes off. We're definitely not used to public transportation!

The great thing about kids is that everything is an adventure to them. So, while public transportation my be a pain in the rear for me, my kids love riding on the double decker buses, swerving through London traffic in the taxis, and speeding through London on the tube. It seems we've also gotten more familiar with the routes and stops, at least in our little part of town here. I'm definitely getting to know this part of London better, which is a blessing, because in May we'll have several visitors who'll want to be shown around. Yay!

This week we've been to:

Regent's Park (fabulous park, with lots of flowers and many types of waterfowl)
Battersea Park Children's Zoo (wrote about it a few days back in the Distracted Mothers post)
and the Natural History Museum (Awesome! Loved the dino skeletons, and mammals exhibits.)

On a side note, I had heard from several folks who have lived in London, or visited for lengthy periods of time, about the lack of good service here. I've not experienced that too much yet. Although today, there was a very grumpy lady behind the information desk for children's backpacks at the NHM. The backpacks are for under 7's and are full of things to help them explore the museum from their perspective. I saw the backpacks all lined up, had heard of them through their website and knew they were free, and went to check one out. That's where grumpy lady came in. I inquired about checking out a backpack. Her response went something like this:

"Well, (eyeing my three young children), they are for young children. And they are hired out for 25 pounds."

I was confused, were my children, ages 5,4, and 2, not young enough? And 25 pounds? They were supposed to be free. After more inquiring of grumpy lady, I found out that the 25 pounds was merely a deposit. (Smart idea, deposits, especially since DD4 has already colored on our walls here, broken a glass, and gotten some kind of yucky stuff on one of the kitchen chairs, not to mention the DVD cordless earphones that she destroyed in our relocation rep's car a few weeks back. Yep! A deposit was definitely a good idea.) I got out out 25 pounds, cash. Grumpy lady's next response?

"Only credit cards, no cash!"

I had no credit card on me, so needless to say, we didn't get the backpack. Now, here's my question...why do they put grumpy ladies behind counters where they will be exposed to children and mommies who might be a tad bit stressed out to be at the museum with all of their little people in the first place? Why can't grumpy ladies be relegated to coat check or something? Ugh.

Now, this long, rambling, focus-less post is ending. That's been our week in a nutshell; transportation, parks, museums, grumpy ladies, and all.

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