Monday, July 28, 2008

A Glimpse of the Future

We were at the British International Motor Show yesterday. It was a great day out. We saw hundreds of cars. You could get really close looks at them, and even test drive some of them if you wanted to. We also saw the Honda Dreamscape Show which was quite good, with lots of cars and motorbikes. It was a tribute to Soichiro Honda, the founder of the company, and it was very inspiring, encouraging people to follow their dreams. It is quite amazing to think that a little boy in Japan with a dream could create all that Honda has become, and inspire his company to carry on innovating even after his death. For me, the highlight was seeing Asimo, Honda’s robot. He walked on stage, delivered water to the actors on a tray, talked and sang. It was incredible. Unfortunately I didn’t take any photos of him, but to see Asimo in action a few months ago conducting the Detroit Symphony Orchestra on YouTube, click here. After watching the show, it was back to looking at cars. I think Ford had the best stand, as they were giving out juice at the “Ford JuiceBar” and Ice Lollies (popsicles) on another part of their stand. As it was about a million degrees in the shade, both of these were incredibly welcome! Finally, at 7.30pm, after being at the show for nearly eight hours, we had a glass of champagne at the bar and headed off for dinner.

We decided to drive into Docklands, as Guy knew their was a Pizza Express in Cabot Square. So many people focus on Sunday Lunch in England that many restaurants close very early on a Sunday evening, but Pizza Express serves till 9pm. We headed off from Silvertown, where we were parked, towards the Docks. When we reached the entrance to Cabot Square we were shocked to find that it is now guarded by an armed security guard. You have to stop and have your car swabbed for explosives before he will put the barrier (and it is a barrier – a spiked bit in the ground, plus a metal bollard at tire level and a gate in front of the car) down. Of course, everyone understands this sort of thing is necessary in this day and age, but I had never seen it in London before. I remember the years of IRA terrorism when the City of London was closed to traffic and full of the big “lego block” barriers, but somehow this is so much more shocking. As the spikes lowered and the barriers moved out of our way, Docklands opened up before us. It’s beautiful in a very modern way, totally redone from how it was in the early part of the last century. We finally found the car park and were stopped once again with barriers and had to have the car swabbed again! It made us feel very safe on one level, and terribly disturbed on another. Dinner was very nice though!

We didn’t get home until very late, but it was a super day. Alex is full of dreams of his first car and we’ve got some ideas for what Guy might have when he changes his car (which now has over 80,000 miles on the clock!). As for me, I’m still blown away by Asimo, and wondering when I can have one to help out around the house!!

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