Friday, July 27, 2018

drew me back in

Yesterday, according to headlines in the Boston Globe, Facebook lost billions of dollars. I don't think this means that Mark Zuckerberg will be staying at a youth hostel the next time wanderlust kicks in, but his company took a hit.  I am not sure why.  And as I wrote in my last blog, on balance I like Facebook. It has put me in contact with people that had been lost to my horizon.  I find out about comings, goings, children, grandchildren--get to see happy pictures--wish people birthdays. 

I wrote recently that I had decided, despite my generally favorable view of the social network, to take a break. I was spending too much time on it and that, plus concerns about privacy, and a general desire for temporary reclusiveness, had me deactivate the account.

If you have never done this, give it a try. It is not easy to deactivate. Lots of navigating steps which might make someone not all that sophisticated with technology to say "the hell with it I'll keep the account" But that day I worked at it, and finally deactivated.

And I was doing fine.  I did notice that I periodically subconsciously typed in the url until realizing I was no longer a member.  But I was getting used to it. And I had not missed it much.

Then I received an e-mail that told me that my niece had posted some pictures on facebook.  She often posts sweet pictures of their children which I like to look at.  I did not think I could access the photos because I no longer had an account. But I tried. I clicked on the link and was able to access the pictures.

The problem is that because I did click on the link, on that device at least (a laptop) I was back to "active." Yesterday I found that I am active on my desktop at home as well. How that happened I don't know.

Fact is, that once I found I was able to prowl around, I stayed on it and looked at the various posts. But I am mildly annoyed that I returned to being a member when I had actively tried to deactivate.

There was probably a clause somewhere when I went to deactivate that read that should I click on any link I would be back in the fold, but fine print should not govern this.

Facebook will return no doubt. I see that it is up over a dollar a share today.  Zuckerberg will not have to rush to make the Early Bird special tonight. 

Sunday, July 15, 2018


Last week I deactivated my facebook account.

I was in a cranky mood when I did it.  I have at times become concerned with privacy issues.  And also, I spend a good deal of time reading the posts.  I've thought that I might be a bit more productive without the account.

Several days later what have I noticed?

The first thing is how often I must have gone to Facebook. On a number of occasions I have mindlessly typed in facebook and then realized I did not have an account. So, previously, without thinking I must have gone to the site regularly.

I have missed the connectivity.  I like how facebook could and did expand my network. I had become acquainted with people I'd not seen in years.   I got to see pictures of family members that I would not have seen otherwise. I was connected to friends from various lives--college, camp, high school, sports teams, graduate school--and I enjoyed the virtual reunions. Peripheral friends have opened up in ways that have made our relationship less superficial and more meaningful. I have found out about illnesses and people's need for emotional support and have been glad to offer support to whatever extent my words may have been comforting. I have read about acquaintances' children and grandchildren and the joys they have experienced.

So, that is the bad news. I have missed these things.

The good news is that I am not spending twenty minutes at a pop, reading these posts.  And nefarious sleuths will have more trouble finding out about my interests, buying habits, "likes" and "loves."

In a way it's like being on a diet or giving up booze.  I miss the sweets and buzz, but wonder if, when all is said and done, I will be healthier.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Back from the Dead

Today, three plus days after I returned from London, is the first full day when I feel like a human being.  On Sunday night I attempted to work out. Afterwards, I do not know who the fellow was who was looking back at me in the locker room mirror. Yesterday, I felt like more of a mensch. Worked out again, and I felt better. Still sweated through my tee shirt overnight--a sign throughout my life of something less than stellar in my system. When I am really sick, or even on a night like Saturday evening, I can look like I dove into a swimming pool at 3 in the morning.  But tonight, and tomorrow morning I think I will be dry and my normal self when I awaken.

I'm in a local library, not my town's, one nearby. This is a very good community library. There is a system in the Boston burbs, that links over a dozen of these places and it is quite good. The place where I am sitting may be the best of all the participating facilities --though it has competitors. The town that houses this particular branch is quite affluent. My home in blue collar Waltham would be worth nearly double just a short ride away.  Still whenever I come to this library, I am reminded of how many people, regardless of wealth, are sick, lugging around their illnesses, and do not know it.

Thirty minutes ago a guy I have seen before came smiling into this section where I now am parked. He had the gleam of a person who was for some reason recently amused, or a religious zealot who beams because she or he has found the spiritual answer, or the person with such a gleam is a nut.

As the man got closer to me I knew it was (c). I'd seen him here before. In fact, the last time I saw him he was sitting directly across the table from where I now sit. I was afraid he was going to join me again, and my fears were warranted. But nearly a minute after he sat down he popped back up. When he was here before he was filling out a crossword puzzle frenetically, and alternately doing math computations which looked legitimate but could have been residual graffiti from courses he took forty years ago.  He was so manic then that I had to move my seat as his scribbles were jostling the table.   There's a woman now at a nearby desk who is speaking loudly in a library in a way that she would have to know is inappropriate. On Sunday I was at my university library and another person was bellowing there.  My point is that there has to be something off-kilter about an individual over the age of 18 who speaks loudly in a place where it is supposed to be quiet.

My night sweats are probably over. I will get off the elliptical tonight and feel like I appropriately purged tensions and calories to allow for the inevitable accumulation of the former and the necessary consumption of the latter in the following 24 hours. (I did spot a blueberry pie in the refrigerator which might require some extra time on the machine).  The beaming guy with the cross word puzzles, and the human megaphones in the library, though--they never recover from their temporary bouts with whatever, because whatever brought on the illness is likely here to stay.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Shall We Dance

On Wednesday night my brother and I  bought tickets to see The King and I which was playing in the London theatre district. Our dad was a big fan of musicals in general but had an especial fondness for The King and I.  We heard him croon the lyrics to “Tis a Puzzlement” on many an occasion.

There are times I often think I am not sure of what I absolutely know.
Very often find confusion in conclusions I concluded long ago.
In my head are many facts that as a student I had studied to procure
In my head are many facts of which, I wish I were more certain I was sure.

That was dad in a nutshell. A wise man who, modestly left room to doubt what he “knew.” A favorite refrain of his, after he had opined on a subject was “Yeah: but what the hell do I know?”

I thought I knew the play, but I really did not. I knew the score from the album we would listen to in the house.  I had the gist, but there is more to it. 

A widow who had been a schoolteacher comes to Siam in 1861. She travels there at the request of the King of  Siam so that she can teach his many children whom he has fathered with several wives and lovers. The King, while a blustery and, well, imperious man is beginning to feel conflicted. He is not quite saying “What the hell do I know” but he finds “a puzzlement” in some of his conclusions. He wonders how to teach his eldest son.

What for instance shall I speak to him of women?
Shall I educate him on the ancient lines?
Shall I tell him that as long as he is able
To respect his wives, and love his concubines?
Shall I tell him every one is like the other
And the better one of two is really neither?
If I tell him this I think he won’t believe it
And I nearly think I don’t believe it either.

The king is also puzzled about how to deal with other countries.
Shall I join with other nations in alliance?
If allies are weak am I not best alone
If allies are strong with power to protect me.
Might they not protect me out of all I own
Is a danger to be trusting one another
One will seldom want to do what other wishes
But unless some day somebody trust somebody
There’ll be nothing left on earth excepting fishes.

How many times did we in the Zaremba household hear those last four lines? I think someone in Washington might be wise to consider this wisdom. Unless some day somebody trust somebody, there'll be nothing left on earth excepting fishes.

Ana the school teacher is a big hit with the kids.  And the kids are a big hit with Ana.  There is a melody that I always heard on the record, but had never seen performed called “March of the Siamese children.”  Just beautiful, with little ones stealing the show. After the show I went on Youtube and saw the original Broadway version from the 50s. It was good but not as powerful as what we saw on Wednesday.

Ana tries to tell the King that the groveling of his subordinates is inappropriate. The King is not quite convinced, but she is making a dent.  The audience begins to wonder if the two might have developed some feelings for each other. 

The King is to be visited by an emissary from London. He has been called a  barbarian by some in the west and he does not like it.  He wants Ana to help him create a good image for the ambassador. He is too kingly to ask for her help, he asks her to "guess" what his ideas are, and then of course adopts them. The ambassador actually knows Ana, and has a thing for her. Before Ana met her beloved, Tom, the ambassador had tried to initiate a love affair with Ana.  Ana was not interested.

And then she met Tom. The love of her life.

When I think of Tom. 
I think about a night
When the air was full of wonder and the night was full of light.  
And the sweet mist of England was nestled on the hill 
I remember him.
And I always will.

There are new lovers now on the same silent hill. 
Looking at the same blue sea
And I know Tom and I are a part of them all.
And they're all a part of Tom and me.

She breaks into a song called “Hello Young Lovers” which will touch anyone who has ever fallen.  A reviewer for this London performance called it the best rendition of “Hello Young Lovers” that he had ever heard.  (The London production is the same cast that performed the New York version this past year).

What makes the song particularly meaningful is that another woman has been “gifted” to the King which the king thinks is normal stuff. The problem is that this woman is in love with someone else. Ana in covert ways helps these two rendezvous.

The last song on the album is “Shall we Dance”  The King and Ana begin to dance and you get a sense for sure that there is something there more than platonic.

The two sing while dancing.  Nobody else is on the stage. Each verse ends with the refrain, Shall we Dance?

Shall we take a chance on loving family, friends, sweethearts. And dance toward that possibility.

As the two dance around the stage, you certainly get a sense that they are considering romance.  What actually occurs, I won't spoil. But the metaphor is there regardless. Things can happen if we dance with our family--whether individuals are still with us or not. Exciting, wonderful, perhaps wonderfully dangerous things can happen if we dance with our family, friends, and our sweethearts.

With the clear understanding that this kind of thing can happen, Shall we dance? Shall we dance? Shall we dance?


With the clear understanding that love and friendship can evolve, we should dance toward this end.
This is the message my dad told us our whole lives. 

With the clear understanding that this kind of thing can happen.  Shall we dance? Shall we dance? Shall we dance?

Invoking dad again, his answer to the question would be, "Only, if you know what's good for you."

Friday, July 6, 2018

Getting there

I almost never think of myself as the age I am.  In most ways, I feel like I did when I was a young man.  I can exercise or walk forever. Yesterday my brother and I must have walked 6 miles, if not more.  While I was not keen about waking up at 4 in the morning for Wimbledon, I had no real qualms about lying on a blanket in the middle of a field to watch the tennis, or taking the subway back, or cheering in a crowded pub listening to assorted encouragements from well oiled patrons.

Occasionally something happens that reminds me that I am not 25.  Usually it is in the form of someone saying something to me that reflects their accurate assessment of my laps around the track.  On Monday, while riding back on the subway from the tennis matches I could not get a seat. So, like a new yorker or bostonian, I just hung onto the straps thinking nothing of it.  A man who I will put at about 45, stood up and offered me a seat. He is fortunate to have all the tissue in the back of his head given the heat stare I gave him all but screaming, sit your ass down.  

I wrote the following in a blog a few years back, but since few follow my wisdom religiously, I'll repeat it here. I was sitting in a bar once and a young woman came up and sat in the barstool next to me. She started speaking to me in a way that seemed like she was hitting on me. I found this flattering. Her comments were so atypical for Harvard Square where this tavern was located, that I began to wonder if she was on the job.  She put that notion to rest with the ensuing chat. At that juncture she said that she did not like this bar much any more. Why is that? I inquired. "Well, no offense" she began, "there's just a lot of old people in here now."  For a moment I could not fathom why she had prefaced the comment with "no offense." When it dawned on me, the expression, "getting taken down a notch" seemed most apt.

Which brings me to what occurred about 50 minutes ago here in Gatwick airport.  When I got to England last Friday I took the train from Gatwick to London, and then took a cab.  After being in London for a week I learned the subway system pretty well. I saw that the distance from the hotel to Victoria Station was a mere three subway stops.  In fact, I had taken that ride on a number of occasions when I had gone beyond Victoria Station exploring the city.  I felt like it was not necessary to take a cab from the hotel to Victoria when I returned. I'd just hop on the subway, go three stops, get on the Gatwick express--I'd already bought a ticket before I departed Boston--and zip zip I will be at the airport.

And that is what I did. I got to the Gloucester road stop from my hotel in ten minutes, had to add some money to my "oyster" card, but then was ready to go. 

Problem number 1 was the response to my inquiry about a lift. "Sorry mate there is no escalator or lift down to the district line platform. "  I packed well for this trip, not too much, just right. Just right was a lot.  So, Okay, I lug the bags downstairs. Take the subway three stops. Get off at Victoria Station and follow the signs to the Gatwick express.

A word about signs. Boston has the worst signs. The worst, They all but scream, "fuck you if you don't know where you are going." Well, let me tell you we are not called New England for nothing. The English taught us well. I am pretty good with signs, and I was turning around like a pinwheel trying to find the Gatwick express. I did.

Then I get on the train and take it the thirty minutes to the airport.  I get off. Again a war with the signs. There's departures and departures.  And I am lugging these heavy bags.  I find where I am supposed to go and there is a long line. I had arrived in plenty of time but still I had just about had it.  I get through check in. What gate? I ask. She tells me they will announce it at 245.  That would be fine except there are no fewer than 93 gates and they are all in different directions. I need to find a central place to park my tired body. I go through security and wander here and there.  I find a spot, and then mumbled something to myself that I have heard others say, but rarely have said it meaningfully to myself before: "I am too old for this shit" I said.  I am not talking about traveling, I hope to travel until I go to the terminal terminal. But maybe I don't take the subway to the Gatwick express. Maybe I dont even take the Gatwick express and tell the cab driver, I am going to the airport. 

It is about an hour since I got through security. I am drinking an ice coffee and feeling more like a human being.  I still do not where the plane leaves from as it apparently is a top secret. I am in a  coffee shop at gates 31-38. Very few are in this vicinity so I figure I will be shlepping elsewhere and now, caffeinated, feel fine about it. Maybe even stop in a duty free store. The signs for these are, go figure, very clearly marked.

Day 2 at Wimbledon

When I suggested to Gary that we did not have to get up to meet a 4am uber for Tuesday, the second day,  he was incredulous. The second day was--we had been assured--lighter in terms of fans than the first.  So why did we need to beat the sun to the queue. Gary countered and said we had the drill down now.  He had a point. It is a drill I would be delighted to forget about it by Wednesday, but this is why we had travelled to England. So I agreed.  He yielded some so we gathered at 415 in the lobby of the London hotel.

Neville, our uber driver from Monday was the same fellow who picked us up at 415.  In much better spirits on Tuesday, he again got us to the queue in a short time.  We followed the stewards' directions, walked to the flag and got our card.  We had a number in the 1600s, 600 positions closer to the front than on Monday. On Tuesday on the queue we met two sisters from London directly behind us and two chums one of whom worked for a London newspaper.  Again, another group--less boisterous than Monday's revelers--were knocking them back before 5 am.  This group was, judging by the newspapers and books they were reading, more cerebral than Monday's. Still they had laid out a blanket like a tablecloth. On it, were glasses filled with red wine,  beer or champagne. The sun had not yet come up.

What neither Gary or I predicted, and what I will remember for months, was how cold it was on this second day.  I was wearing shorts and, fortunately, a long sleeve top with a windbreaker.  Gary was similarly attired. Nevertheless, we were freezing as were many on the line.  We had brought a blanket to lie on, but instead took turns wrapping it around ourselves to stay warm. We went to get coffee from the vendors and also bought some warm doughnuts which tasted delicious and, beyond the taste, addressed the cold. We discovered a cafeteria about 1/4 of a mile away and took turns going to it, less for any food, but more because it was warm.  By the time we arrived at the grounds, and later in the day, it was nearly as warm as it had been on Monday, but it was freezing cold on that queue until about 7 or 8 am.

The line moved much more rapidly on the second day.  We were in the arena a full 45 minutes if not an hour earlier than the day before. Also because I had agreed, however reluctantly, to the 415 departure we were able to pay a bit more and get seats into one of the three stadiums that we could not get into the day before.  Wimbledon retains a number of seats in these prestige arenas for queuers. We knew that, and knew we would get shut out of these on Monday.  We thought that we would get shut out on Tuesday as well, but we were able to buy these tickets.

And they were terrific.  We were four rows back, center court.  When we heard they had retained some seats for the peasants, we figured they would be on the moon.  Not so. These seats would cost 1000 dollars easy at the US OPEN. And, the people we met from California who had bought the tickets in advance, had paid over 800 dollars a seat in the same arena.  They could not have been as close as we were.  I got to see Djokovic easily beat an opponent with strokes that were just remarkable.  We saw two other matches from these incredible seats.  Earlier we were in the second row on an outer court watching a match and I marveled at how close we were to the competitors.

While there might have been fewer people on the queue when we arrived to line up before 5, the grounds at Wimbledon themselves were more crowded on the second day than the first.  Just jammed. More crowded than I can recall at the USOPEN. The grounds at Wimbledon are not as open as they are at the USOPEN. The lines to get into certain venues are a bit longer in New York than at Wimbledon, but there is more room to move about on the grounds in New York.  Food prices in Wimbledon are more reasonable, but the lines to get to them can be challenging.  We gave up considering the strawberries and cream because the lines were too long whenever we considered waiting on them.

Some observations from the tennis and the spectators.

The players' abilities to get to dropshots was something to see. A ball that seemed completely out of reach they could manage to get and in some instances do something clever with the ball.

You could hear, from where we sat, the comments from the players to themselves, the officals, and each other.

I could get a sense of whether a player was a cry baby from their gestures and attitudes toward their opponents.  On one of the outer courts a guy was clearly getting trounced, and he kept looking at the officials as if they were the cause. At one point he was caught at the net when his opponent flipped the ball over the whiner's head.  He raced back to try and get it, but when he knew that hitting the ball back was hopeless, he hit it away from the court as far as he could, the ball probably landed near the strawberries and cream stand.  The referee called him for a sportsmanship offense. The offender turned around with an incredulous "who me" look on his face and began to plead his case in such a transparently disingenuous way that I wrote this guy off for evermore.

I am recalling now a fellow we met on Monday. He was charting every single play. When I asked him why, he said he was a journalist from Luxembourg and one of the competitors was from Luxembourg himself. Still, he charted every single point.

The ballgirls and ball boys had a paramilitary style when play began, during points, and when they were relieved as they were periodically throughout the match.

One player routinely foot-faulted and it was not called once.

More than I recall it from the USOPEN, people cheered for their countrymen and women.  When an Aussie was playing, the Australians around me shouted for him. When Kyle Edmund, a Brit, played the place was very supportive of him.  Meanwhile he was real good.  I saw, from the fourth row, Edmund whip his first round opponent. I read yesterday that he won the second round.  He plays Djokovic in the next round, and I think his ride will be over. Still very impressive.

During the Djokovic match at almost exactly 7pm, people were cheering on his opponent so that the match might be a bit longer.  When those cheers were voiced, followers of Djokovic also shouted their support.  Then in the amidst of cheering for the competitors, a yell came from the crowd that  caused both players to laugh. Someone shouted, GO ENGLAND, at about the time when England's world cup match against Columbia was about to begin.

After we returned to the hotel I went to a pub to see the end of the soccer match.  England had led by a goal nearly the entire game, but the home town team was tied very late in the contest.  I got to the pub just in time to see the end.  Quite a scene in there when England prevailed 4-3 on penalty kicks.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

wimbledon day 1

I once said that if the business of america is business, the business of England is tradition.

On the first day of the tournament, we started out at 415 in the morning. Our uber driver, who had driven around the block looking for us, was not especially jolly when he picked us up. In short time, however, he got us to the Wimbledon queue line.

We followed the directions of the many stewards already there at that hour of the young day. They told us, as they told us yesterday they would, to line up and follow another steward's yellow flag with a large Q on it.  When we arrived at the end of the line we were given a card with a number on it.  Our number, at 440 in the morning or thereabouts was in the 2000s. That means, for those not certain, that 2000 people had already lined up waiting for tickets before 5 am.

The people in front of us, a couple from Australia, set up with their chairs. Gary and I got our blanket and chairs out as well. Immediately behind us, two women unfurled a blanket and pillows. Within minutes these strangers were sound asleep inches from us.  It was not easy for them to become sound asleep, because beyond them a group of about eight chums, were chatting noisily next in line. These buddies who looked like tennis players themselves, and I kid you not, opened up a bottle of champagne, and started knocking it back nearly as soon as they got settled. This, I found out-- the sound of popping champagne corks--and various types of imbibing before the sun came up was not especially unusual.

We chatted with the folks from Australia. Their son lived in London and they were visiting. We exchanged names and in short time became as friendly as one can be with strangers with whom you have had not much more than thirty minutes of kinship.  Several entrepreneurs had set up portable coffee stands beyond where the last queue line would be. They were doing terrific business.  I was on a line for about a half hour which only got bigger as the sun came up.

It was not until about 8 oclock when the queue started to move.  So, we waited over three hours before anything happened. When instructed by the officials, up we went and began to follow the 2000 people in front of us. We waited another half hour at one junction, and then proceeded on.  On the queue, we got to meet the previously sleeping women. They were both from the US, friends from high school in Idaho.  One was a sports enthusiast who traveled the US to watch baseball games.  She wanted to check off her to-do list going to Wimbledon on the first day of the tournament.  Her buddy now living in Seattle, was just tagging along. The two had left from San Francisco, flown to New York, and then to London. There were other stops on their UK itinerary but this they did not want to miss.

The queue trudged on. At one point, people who had pitched tents, or we, who had chairs, stored our luggage at a spot for such storage. Then eventually we went through security. Then another long line to where we bought our tickets. We got into the Wimbledon grounds at about 1045, having been nearly six hours on the queue.

And, as I had been told, it was not an ordeal but rather an interesting experience.  Gary's assertion that we had to leave at 4 was not quite so. We could have arrived at 530 and still been okay. But I did not mind the wait. Got to meet our new Australian friends, the women from Idaho. We got to observe people drinking champagne before the sun came up in the east. We were able to see people emerge from their tents, like you might see at a national park, roll up their sleeping bags, march to the temporary rest rooms, and return with steaming coffee.

We arrived at the arena and watched several matches in much the same way we watch when we have gone to the USOPEN as we have for the past two decades.  For the USOPEN you just buy your tickets in advance. You bring your tickets. You go in.  You do not have to get up at 4 am to get in for an 11 am match. Why they do the queue thing in England is, I imagine, because they have always done the queue thing in England.  And it was kind of fun.

I would have been pleased to arrive a little later for the second day, but Gary felt that we had gotten in the 4 am groove.  Next blog will describe day two, on the queue.

Sunday, July 1, 2018


We meet up this morning in the lobby and embark on a reconnoitering mission to Wimbledon. On the subway we meet a couple who appear to be carrying a tent. Gary speaks with them and they are, as their accoutrements would suggest, going to camp out at Wimbledon to make sure they get in for tomorrow's matches. Last night I met a woman who had travelled from Los Angeles. She and her husband were here with her mother. They would not be camping out. They had purchased tickets in advance for the games. The price was approximately 800 dollars a seat. She said, and I can understand it, they did not want to travel all the way to London and not get in. We saw them, both the daughter and mother again this morning. On Tuesday they will all be going to Scotland so getting in on Monday is imperative.

We decided to follow the couple with the tent.  We both got off at the Southfields subway stop.  He and she started race walking to the field where the queue begins.  We walked through a gate and there, 24 hours approximately before the matches are to begin, there are officials answering questions.  There are, I am estimating close to 1000 people in tents waiting for tomorrow. The couple we met on the train get in the back of the line.  An attendant tells me that the field will be complete with campers over night.  A veteran attendant says he has never seen it so populated.

A fellow I know in Boston told me that as long as we arrive by 7 in the morning we ought to be fine. Gary is nervous and wants to get to the queue by 6.  I am not so nervous. I want to slay the attendant who says we should arrive by 530 tomorrow morning.  I want to murder the next attendant who suggests we arrive by 5.  Gary is all for it. I suggest we cancel our hotel rooms and pitch a tent if we want to get here any earlier than 5.

Tomorrow we have scheduled an uber for between 4 and 415. We will get to Wimbledon by 5. I have acquiesced to his request to leave at 4 by making a deal. The deal is he does not squawk if we cannot get in to see a certain group of matches he is interested in seeing.

Pablo, a clerk at the hotel, tells us to go to a city area called Portabello to watch Spain play in the world cup. We do. Interesting scene. We leave after regulation with the score tied 1-1. Boring game even for the aficionados who are populating this outdoor bar.  Spain eventually succumbs in penalty kicks.  I wonder if Pablo will show up for clerking tomorrow.

We go out to dinner to a very good restaurant on Gloucester street recommended by the concierge.  The place is jammed and is adjacent to another italian place that is nearly empty.  We get seated and have an enjoyable conversation with a couple from southwest England, a three hour train ride from London.  He is a tennis player and with his wife are going tomorrow to see the games as well. They have secured a reasonably priced ticket through a club to which he belongs.  After dinner Gary spots the mother, daughter and husband here from LA.  They say they have met others at our hotel who are leaving at 730 in the morning to queue up.  Such sweet music that.  But I have agreed to the 4 am uber ride in exchange for the no squawking promise.

Across from the italian restaurant is a pub, so we stop there and see the shootout between Denmark and Croatia. Bad day for western europe. The Russians beat the Spaniards, the Croatians beat Denmark. Bad day for soccer as well. Two less than exciting contests in the world cup.  Last stop of the night is an ice cream place like no other I have ever seen. They actually make the ice cream, right in front of the customer. Not just put the scoops in the bowl. They pour the cream, mix the ingredients, have a freezing contraption like none I have ever seen, and serve up a scoop of ice cream.

Another interesting note. Waitresses are taking orders on mini cell phones. No pads here, none that I have seen.  I should get some sleep. My wake up call at 340 London time will precede the last pitch of the Yankee Red Sox game starting at 8 pm Eastern Time.