I never think about SoCal's geographical latitude... until I've gone somewhere quite a bit north of Los Angeles. That's when you notice how short the days are in winter...
...and how long they are in summer.
Here in LA, the variation is noticeable, but not dramatic.
But while in the UK the last two weeks, we could not get over the fact that the sun didn't set until after 10:00 PM. I think that's how Megan and I managed to stay awake as long as we did that first Saturday. Without the visual cue of darkness, it was easier to forget our jet lag and keep on going.
This is a good thing, because Gareth's day at Wimbledon lasted past sunset, and I found myself meeting him for dinner at a place called Garfunkel's, where we managed to seat ourselves just before it closed at midnight. But the long day meant that I also had to decide what to do with Megan after we'd finished our shopping excursion in Camden Town... and she was feeling jet lagged and cranky.
The muggy London weather wasn't helping. It was like walking around in a steam bath.
"It's hot. And my feet hurt," she complained. "Can't we go somewhere cool?"
This seemed like the perfect opportunity to catch a movie. My friend Catherine had other places to go, so she helped us navigate the Tube system to Leicester Square, which is home to several bars, clubs, restaurants and about a half-dozen cineplexes. And - unlike most of the shops and restaurants we'd been visiting so far - they're air conditioned.
This is the site of many a movie premiere in the United Kingdom, and someone involved in city planning has taken a page out of Hollywood's PR book, by embedding bronzed handprints of some of the celebrities who have opened films there. The result is a kind of cross between the Chinese Theater and the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Megan didn't recognize many of the stars commemorated on the pavement... until I found one for Ralph Fiennes.
"Hey, Megan - Those hands there belong to Voldemort," I told her.
I took several shots of her posing with his hand prints.
We had been hoping that the next Harry Potter movie would be opening in the UK during our visit (because it would be kind of cool to see it where it was filmed), but were disappointed to learn that this one is reverting back to a November release. So in true teenage fashion, my little girl announced that the only film she wanted to see was "Get Him to the Greek."
Yes, I know it is rated R, and I know that indicates a comedy that would make me wince with her beside me. But I was just as hot and tired and jet lagged as she was and didn't feel like fighting that particular fight at that particular moment. So we walked into the theater where it was playing and attempted to buy two tickets.
"How old is she?" the cashier asked.
I answered truthfully: Megan is 14.
"I'm sorry, I can't sell you the tickets. It's rated 15; no one under that age can enter the theater."
Not even with a parent.
Way to go, Britain!
"If I had known, I would have told them you were 15," I told my daughter. But secretly, I was relieved.
We ended up at a showing of the more age-appropriate "Letters from Juliet." This one had been on my daughter's list too, and it was actually a perfect choice for a mother-daughter movie date. Total chick flick; romantic and sweet.
We walked a long way back toward the Hyde Park area where our hotel was located before finally grabbing another subway at Tottenham Court Road.
It was a good first day.
Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post.
See the rest of my London photos on Flickr, here.