Thursday, May 29, 2008

"You Can't Always Get What You Want"*

One thing about visiting London that always excites me is knowing that tea is the norm. (I know it doesn't take much to excite me...really people, it's about the little things in life.) I've never been much of a coffee drinker; I love the smell of it, not so much the taste. When you order tea at most restaurants in America, the teacups are more appropriate for my three-year-old niece than for a grown adult and the water is less than hot. They know how to serve it in London: boiling hot water, a variety of tea bags for the picking, full-sized mugs, and natural sugar--none of that fake sweetener for me, thank you very much.

I never thought it would be difficult to get tea in London. My husband didn't have any trouble. Every morning that he went to breakfast alone (he was alone because I hadn't arrived in London yet...not because I don't like eating with him!), the waitress offered him tea as soon as he was seated. Every morning I ate with him, we made our selections from the buffet, prepared toast, returned to the table, and ate half our food. And still, no tea!

On a bit of a diversion, continental breakfast is definitely worth it if you ever stay in London. Even if the hotel charges a little extra for the privilege, pay it. There's hot food (admittedly the runny eggs, the weird boiled-tomato thing, and the sausage that doesn't really taste like sausage are a little scary), Danishes, toast, cereal, cut fruit, whole fruit, juice, get the point. And there's always the opportunity to take an extra roll and banana for later. Just be a little more discreet about it than one lady I saw. She had her big plastic bag right on top of the table and was shoveling in the food.

Back to the issue at hand. It wasn't as if the waiters weren't diligent about serving tea; they went to every other table about every five minutes. I must look too young and too American to be much of a tea drinker. Appearances can be deceiving. Give me some tea already! Eventually, I would have to ask and they would fill my cup with delicious, piping hot tea. I wonder if it would have tasted so good if I didn't have to wait.

*Rolling Stones