My wife and I are in London -- have been here for 4 days, heading to Paris this afternoon for 4 more days, then back to New York. Turned out to be a neat coincidence that we were here over the Royal Wedding -- I thought it would just make everything closed, crowded, or difficult, but it turned out to be pretty cool to see the huge crowds of people gathered in Trafalgar Square and Hyde Park watching it on huge TV screens, and to see the (very orderly and well-controlled) celebration.
We've noticed that every time we say we don't see [whatever] here in London, we almost immediately then see a bunch of examples contradicting our claim. "We haven't seen many ice cream shops." And then we turn the corner and there are three. "We haven't seen Mexican food." And then we do. "We haven't seen any piles of garbage on the street." And there they are. "No pizza places." And then we see one. "They don't seem to have homeless people." And there they are. Yesterday we were talking about how there aren't the kinds of situations in the U.S., like the Royal Wedding here, where people just gather in the streets, celebrating as a country-- not really July 4th, maybe sports team ticker-tape parades but that's in one city, and a much smaller percentage of people, not really the Presidential election or inaugurations, the Obama celebration in Chicago limited to one city (and one political party)... so, nope, we concluded, Americans just don't have reasons to gather in crowds like that.
And then, of course, we have the images this morning of Ground Zero and the White House in the middle of the night, after the bin Laden news.