May 15, 2009 at 5:00 pm
I was crammed up against an Indian man in a business suit and trying not to bump my nose on the hardback novel a woman next to me was reading when I came up with a piece of advice none of the guidebooks mentioned: Do NOT ride the tube at 9:15 in the morning if you can help it.
After my fellow sardines and I arrived at Hyde Park Station, I took a look at the Wellington Arch and Aspley House and then walked towards Harrods. The perfumes, clothes and jewelry were of no interest to me. Instead, I headed straight for the food hall aka the Dionysian feast of abundance
They have practically anything and everything you could ever want to eat and never knew you wanted to, like ostrich eggs.
I got some mint chocolate gelato, and then had to vacate the premises to eat it. I’m not sure if this is because Harrods didn’t want me getting their floors sticky, or if it’s because in Britain they charge you a smidge more if you dine [...]
May 14, 2009 at 4:16 pm
The chiming church bells heard from my room, which I originally thought would be annoying, are quite handy for telling the time. Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding. It’s five o’clock! So this is how people managed before watches. I climbed down from my bunk without stepping on my bunkmates, who are two lively girls from Amsterdam that I met yesterday when putting away my things. They invited me out with them yesterday evening, but I turned them down because I am not a clubber and never will be. It was nice having the offer though, and in some parallel dimension PastaQueen is blogging about her crazy night out on the town with two Dutch girls.
Instead, I grabbed some grub in the hostel kitchen where the oatmeal was surprisingly delicious. I was expecting it to be crap, but it was a figgy, raisin-y bowl of goodness. Last night I heard two men in the hostel common room talking about how prices go up the closer you get to the river. This point was proven when it [...]
May 13, 2009 at 1:08 pm
I started out Tuesday by not killing my roommates which is always a good way to start the day. Their near death was not due to the fact that they turned on the lights at 4:30 in the morning, but because the bunk beds at the hostel look like this.
I was assigned the top bed, assuring I get a workout not only by walking all around town, but also by simply going to bed. I took off my socks to get better traction on the bed’s siderails and climbed down without waking anyone up. I am an acrobat! I suspect this maneuver is included in a typical Cirque Soleil audition.
I’d carefully laid out all my clothes and a baggy of my pills the night before, so I was able to quickly change clothes and walk across the Millennium Bridge at eight o’clock in the morning with hundreds of other Londoners on their way to work. I was amazed we were not all blown off the bridge and into the Thames. If I’d known it would [...]
May 12, 2009 at 4:41 pm
I thought only bums fell asleep on public buses, but evidently jetlagged Americans do too. At 11:00am London time, 6:00am PastaQueen time, and after 22 hours of consciousness, my body finally screamed, “SLEEP!” as loudly as the bus driver was honking at the gridlock on Trafalgar Square. I had moved to the bottom of the hop-on-hop-off bus tour because the top was too cold and windy, but the combination of warmth and stillness made me lean against the window over my bag and enter a state of not quite sleeping, but not quite awake.
Realizing it would be very bad to fall asleep on a bus in a foreign country, I jumped off at the next stop, Buckingham Palace, and discovered the proper treatment for jetlag is lots and lots and lots of walking. I’d started the day by buying my bus ticket and hopping on outside St. Paul’s Cathedral. We drove across London Bridge and Tower Bridge and past lots of landmarks, but after hitting the snag at Trafalgar Square I got off and never [...]
May 11, 2009 at 2:01 pm
I squinted behind my sunglasses to look at the dark-haired girl who was squinting at me behind her sunglass as if to say, “I’m from the Internet. Are you from the Internet too?” And indeed she was. As with all Internet people she looked kind of like her photo, but in 3D and with sound. I enjoyed reading SassyDemon’s now private blog (so no linky) and after we wondered around a three-block radius of Union Station in Chicago we finally gave up trying to find Marshall’s diner on our own and let a cabbie find it for us. There was an apple and cheddar omelet and good conversation and an offer of complimentary soft-serve ice cream, though I turned the last part down.
After lunch, SassyDemon walked me to the Blue line stop and after my luggage handle got stuck in the turnstile and then pried out, I got on my train with two and half hours until my plane’s departure.
Then there was the shuttle.
You see, construction work was being done on the blue line on [...]