Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Odds and Ends before Leaving

Heading home today. It feels like we've been gone longer than we have. My feet are sore from so much walking. Peter, who has visited more museums and historic places in the last 11 days than I'm sure any other tourist to ever visit Great Britain, has become obsessed (in a "car wreck" kind of way) with Big Brother. This is a person who doesn't have a TV in Seattle, has season tickets to the Seattle Opera, went to the theater three times while we were here, and spent three hours at the British Museum yesterday looking at artifacts from the dawn of all civilizations. Big Brother.

our flat was in the building on the right
The building we've been staying in is on the Albert Embankment which runs along the south side of the Thames (the Victoria Embankment runs along the north side; the Brits really seem to love their Victoria & Albert - well, except Charles Dickens. Apparently, he refused a knighthood from Queen Vicotria [Peter learned this when he visited the Charles Dickens' House/Museum]).

There's a scene at the beginning of Get Him to the Greek which is supposed to take place in the main character's London flat - it's the penthouse of this building!! I recognized the view from the balcony in the movie, it's the same view as from our balcony but from higher, and from the street, I can look up and see the entire balcony where the scene was shot. Okay, I thought that was cool.

The U.K. has banned smoking in public places (thank god), however, Londoners have refused to give up their fags (hee hee!) and now they (all of them) smoke to and from wherever they're going and then they smoke some more outside when they get there. I am really tired of walking down the sidewalks through clouds of cigarette smoke.

One day when I was taking the tube somewhere, a guy got on with what looked like a little amplifier. I didn't think anything of it until I saw the microphone in his hand and then I got a little worried. Within a few minutes of him boarding the train, the unmistakable opening of Careless Whisper started playing and then he started singing. I've heard people sing in the subways of New York and then ask for tips; here's the deal with those people: they sing really well. This bozo introduced himself to his captive audience as "Klaus" and then sang a few more lines. Here's the deal with Klaus: I don't think English is his first language, he didn't actually know the words to Careless Whisper and appeared to be making them up as he went along, he couldn't sing for shit. I mean, I can sing better than he could - and if you know me at all, you know that's not saying much. A bunch of us exited the train just as Klaus was screeching out "So I'm never gonna prance again, the way I danced with mules..." or something like that. We all winced collectively as we desperately ran for the stairs.

I do like London a lot, but I'm ready to go home.

[Full disclosure: I typed most of that Tuesday morning from the London apartment but didn't have time to post it before rushing off to the airport. I also tried to post it from the Calgary Airport during our connection but the Canadians have an interesting concept for what "free wifi" means. I'm posting it now, Wednesday morning, from my desk in Bellevue but plan on adding a few more photos when I get home tonight. It's been fun, thanks for reading and emailing me while I was away; the blog now goes back into hibernation until the next trip. -M]

Here are a few pictures of our lovely little rented flat:

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