A beautiful London evening: soft breeze, gentle sun coming through impossibly fluffy green trees. Every now and then a black cab trundles by on the wrong side of the street and I swear to god Mary Poppins will be twinkling up the sidewalk at any minute.
We’re staying in a friend’s apartment—I mean flat—marking time until we go to Abu Dhabi but I forget, almost daily, that we’re going further east when we leave here and not heading back home to New York.
We’re here because we had to be out of our NYC apartment in early July and were heading to a family reunion in France mid-month, and so it made sense (with the gift of a free place to stay) to perch in London for a bit before heading into 110 degrees and Ramadan, which is what’s waiting for us in Abu Dhabi.
Husband and I thought the boys would love London: castles, bloody history, soldiers in funny hats, weird old buildings, Harry Potter! What’s not to like? I got a great guide book– Frommer’s London With Kids–but as helpful as that book has been, there are two books that need to be written:
A guide book written FOR kids, not for parents traveling with kids. This guide book would take into consideration things like ice cream availability, gross-out factors, what friends back home will think about these activities, and relevance to some particularly bloody/gory/romantic historical event. (This book would also include a section for teens on “where the cute kids are.”)
The second guide book needs to be written for kids from New York who are visiting other cities. The Frommer’s guide talks about all the street performers in Covent Garden but to kids used to the variety show that is Union Square? Yawn.
Big huge parks with ponds? Been there, done that.
Throngs of people speaking many languages waiting for the train? Meh.
People with bleached blonde Mohawks and multiply pierced faces sitting next to us in the café? Yep, we see ‘em in the Astor Place K-Mart all the time.
The boys concede that the Tube is more comfortable than the NYC subway and that the chocolate bars are better, but other than that? They refuse to be moved by ancient buildings, tiny winding streets, thousands of years of history.
I can see it now, can’t you? An entire series marketed to NYC Kids. We could call it something like “New York Doesn’t Have THIS, Dumbass.”
Although I guess if the series is aimed at kids, maybe I should leave off the “dumbass?”