Thursday: First Day
I have arrived. Mangosteen and Jen were right about the Nigerian flight. Despite arriving to London early, the plane took too long to dock. As a result, it took a while to get to customs. There were three officers, and we were in the middle. Not to bad. Only 10 minutes to process. My passport got deflowered :)
Took the double decker bus to King's Cross. Saw the hotel. Visions of Montreal. Only this time, the shower and toilet are separate rooms. Had breakfast. Crashed in a twin bed for hours. Needed the sleep. My bedroom was bigger than the hotel room. Sure is a puny little thing. Got up at 6pm.
Seemed only fitting to have our first real meal in London at a French restaurant. Good omlettes. Women in black. Redhead in leather (hammercock) An orgy of sites and sounds almost too much for my eyes to bare [sic?] A lost kid in a candy shop of information.
Going to Cockfosters via Crouch End. The only way to get back to King's Cross from Trafalgar Square. Got there almost by accident.
Note to self: get an alarm clock. Got up at 11am. Had to spend 25 pounds in cornish pasties, photographs, and fares to get a week pass. Nothing is cheap in London. Now I wonder if $500 in pounds would be enough. We'll see. It was a mistake to change currency two weeks before the trip. The exchange rate shot up to its highest value. Some currency exchange markets had over 2 dollars to the pound.
Still at the British Museum. Saw the Rosetta Stone. Thought it would be bigger.
And I thought the U.S. reality shows were weird. Don't know if this was a rip-off of "The Mole" or "The Mole" was a rip-off of this. Surreal to say the least.
Tacky souvenirs galore. Need to get mini-Big Ben.
Rocky Horror sing-a-long. Had the urge to say "Arsehole" and "Slut". Great show. Nothing like Columbia with an accent. Lots of cross-dressers.
Hence the following:
Wandering around. Still no alarm clock. Was able to get a mini Big Ben bottle opener. Cshiley will be pleased.
Walked back to the hotel. London is quiet late night. You can stop for internet but not for an alarm clock
Day 3/Saturday/Valentine's Day
Finally woke up. So much for a 9am wake-up call.
Been exposed to the wonderful world of rugby. Tele is still with late 70s TV.
Finally at Hammersmith. Have reservations for the Gate. hammercock was lucky to get this at the last minute.
An lovely sensation of vegetarian cuisine. There is a peach, vodka, tequilla, champagne, and chili sorbet that clears your sinuses. Took pictures of our desserts.
Went to the Westminster station. All of a sudden, Big Ben was there and the Millennium Eye was across the river.
11.50 for an Eye Ride? Ridiculous. No way. Still no pub. Blew nearly 100 pounds already. Need more cash. London is expensive.
Westminster!!!! I'm in the middle of it all. Local war protesters!!!!!
note to self: Don't write entry on the Picadilly line in motion. Lot of high heels. I can take my sweetie to a McDonald's thanks to a Vegetarian Deluxe meal (minus mayo).
Thank goodness for a late night Fish & Chips place. I had the cod. She had the chips. Greasy. Typical.
British TV programming is fucked up. I should apologize on behalf of the U.S. for the "Norm Show", "The Love Boat", and "The Rockford Files."
Why bother getting a travel alarm clock? Set for 8am, it wasn't until 8:30am that I got up. Sweetie is still sleeping. What does it say about a relationship in which I now instinctively call her "Sweetie" instead of "Hammercock". Still don't know what to do for today.
Big Ben in the daylight (sort to speak). Dark, gloomy, and rainy. Big Ben, nonetheless, is beautiful with its gold outline.
Heading to Southwark to see the Tate Modern. First time south of the Thames.
Warhol, Dali, Pollock, etc. Arted out. Fortunately, there's a Millennium Bridge nearby.
St Paul in all of its glory. The choir during mass nearly brought me to tears. But now is not the time for religion.
Covent Garden. Time to fulfill mission of getting the list.
I like admiralthrawn, but there is difficulty finding and spending $200 in Harry Potter books. Finally went to the Tea House before it closes. Earl Grey (loose). Chocolate mint (also loose). Tempted to get brewing equipment. Then again, I'm used to going to hammercock's place for tea. It's more for the company than anything else.
While trying to find YMing (Lillibet's restaurant, we stumbled on two pubs. Finally bought my sweetie and I a pint. Damn that gave both of us a kick. Got tipsy on one pint? Good shit. Better than American piss. Also came across Neal's Yard. Good strawberry shakes. Also came across a place called CHI. Visions of SFB will have to wait. The fact is that CHI is a Chinese vegan buffet. I'm a carnivore, and I liked it. Didn't even know that I was eating abergine until it was too late. Paid for it in indigestion though.
Along the way to CHI, I booked a Premium tour to Bath, Windsor, and Stonehenge. Have to be at a place called the Thistle Ibington? at 7:20am tomorrow morning!
Caught up online. Finally told my parents where I am. Didn't know how to break it to them. Got only 5 useful pieces of email out of 200 sent to me. Bloody spammers. Apparently, I got my fling results. For something that is not to be taken seriously, I got some colorful results:
I'll keep the results confidential with the exception of one. For now, all I can say is...
brynndragon: nice tits :)
Hammercock lost the number to her great aunt. Never seen her so pissed off. Not pretty. Had to be calm and logical, especially since we both have to be up at 6am.
Too fucking early.
Not even sunrise until 7-7:30am. Apparently, it's the Thistle Islington.
Made it to the bus to Windsor.
Showed my ignorance of Latin, grammar, and art to a hour guide *blush*. Ignorant American tourist. The castle is a thing of beauty. Apparently, the queen was there. Hammercock and I strolled like royalty along the Green Room, Crimson Room, and Ballroom.
A thing of comraderie? I saw the changing of the guards in Windsor. Next to the gentleman's room, there was a lone guard on the other side of the gate next to the men's room. He did a drill with his rifle. I saw it in awe and gave a courtesy bow. As I went to the men's room, I saw him nod his head in return. It was a simple gesture, but it moved me--one warrior to another.
Off to Stonehenge for some real ale and Yorkshire pudding.
Saw Stonehenge. Pretty cold. Off to a 600 year-old pub. (It's all on video)
Yum. Real ale. Hammercock doesn't like it. Still waiting for my Yorkshire pudding. Remind me to give her more Strongbow. Feeling the effects of dark ale.
Must go back to the George Inn. Off to Bath. Damn good ale.
I came. I saw. I conquered Bath. Beautiful tape. May need to restock on (1) videotape, (2) film, (3) cash to pay for (1) and (2)
Back in London. Wonderful tour. A little sleepy. Need to deal with hammercock's great aunt.
ASK restaurant was good.
Got though to the States finally. Took a good phone call or two.
Finally saw nudity on British TV. About time too (Cosmo's Top 50 things to do to please your woman). They were right: it was like eating and watching the Food Network.
Too many snooze button hits. Was planning on getting up at 8:15am. Yeah, right. Wish housekeeping would leave us alone. It's not like they are going to do anything except make the bed. We have to ask for more scratchy toilet paper. I buy my own.
Hammercock got through to her great aunt. Mission complete. Got tickets to "Anything Goes" while she was talking. Looks like Wagamama again before Trafalgar Square.
was able to get a seat at a busy Haagen-Daz restaurant (yes, restaurant). We just got out of the National Gallery. Titian, Delacroix, Reubens, Boticelli, and Cezanne. Very disappointed at the shortage of Rubinesque redheads displayed. Fortunately, I have a Rubinesque redhead beside me as we write postcards and log entries while waiting for pricy ice cream meals. We landed front row seats for the 7:30 showing of "Anything Goes" tonight. The box office was almost apologetic. I wonder why.
Note: I take great comfor in being able to cross out mistakes without instinctively giving my initials and date (long story).
We buy an alarm clock, but seldom use either the "alarm" or "clock". Time is irrelevant--at least until the show begins. On our way to the Haagen-Daz, we saw the most unusual thing: a play based on "When Harry Met Sally". To make matters more intersting are the cast members playing the title protagonist: Luke Perry as Harry and Allyson Hannigan (yes, Willow) as Sally. Strange.
Got my sweetie some cocaine lesbian shame (long story). Was tempted to get some Peppermint Peckers (another long story). The box office wasn't kidding: these are front row seats. Still waiting for the show to start. Hammercock never saw "Anything Goes". I still had MTG in my head. Don't know if they can compete with Tanis, bluedaisy, or even questioner as performers, but we'll see. The stage lights are above us. Hope the 20 pound ticket covers expense in case they fall and decapitate me. Good thing hammercock has travel insurance. Picked up a flyer for the London production of "The Producers" with Richard Dreyfuss as Bialystock and Lee Evans as Bloom. Surreal.
First act over. All I can say is "Behold, the power of redheads." Also good to know that they serve Ben & Jerry's and black currant juice during intermission right next to you on the fron row (though for 2.50 pounds).
Note: If I were to type any of this on LJ, I will miss the convenience of typing the "British pound" key. Gotten too used to it. Probably write the dollar value equivalent (In which case, the Ben&Jerry's cup, in single serving, would be $5.25, assuming 1.9 conversion). It's close to 2 in some exchanges. Montreal was cheaper, but there were no buildings older than 200 years. Time for Act II.
Smashing. Once again, I get the thrill of front-row seats for "Anything Goes". I'm seeing the clean-up. They're still looking for a torch. No torch. No watch either. What time is it? Why do I care? I leave in less than 48 hours.
Having a pint of Waggledance. Hammercock is having a Strongbow.
Two pints of Waggledance. Oh yeah! Damn. How dare they serve hammercock beanburgers with ketchup. The nerve. No shit. I am drunk. Only two pints! Can barely hold a pen. Now, I'm afraid of the Butler's Head klingonlandlady's pub. Saucy minx. Note to self: reference on unrequited crushes. Damn. Right now, hammercock is going to get a beanburger WITHOUT KETCHUP. I feel tipsy. Oh so tipsy. And happy. And horny. AND DRUNK.
Last night in London. The day was spent hitting the snooze button every 5 minutes for nearly two hours. British TV is corrupting hotel minds with "ER" reruns and "Land Before Time" sequels. These days, I think of the Queen's monogram what I think of "ER".
Westminster was cold, as evident when walking the cloisters in Westminster Abbey. I have touched 1,000 years of royal history in less than 2 hours. So much nobility present in the tombs of Elizabeth I, Chaucer, and Mary, Queen of Scots. Coronation chair was a little dusty.
Hammercock and I went to the docks for a quick boat ride to the Tower. It was frigid, but it was probably better than Boston right now.
Saw London Bridge. Saw the outside of the Tower of London. There was a shop in which we had actual afternoon tea with real, warm scones topped with strawberry jam and clotted cream (whatever that was). Tasty though.
Note: Apologies to klingonlandlady, but I wasn't risking a trip to the Financial District for the Butler's Head. The Marquess of Anglessey pub was enough last night. Two pints, and I was flying.
Took a few lines to Leichter Square (again). Apparently, we arrived there right in the middle of the London premiere of "Along Came Polly". Whatever. Ben Stiller and Jennifer Aniston can wait. The movie probably sucks. Should have yelled "It sucks", but I wanted to live. After realizing that neither of us want to pay 37.50 pounds to see "When Harry Met Sally", we began our pilgrimage to Yming recommended by Lillibet.
Took a bloody while.
Despite thoughts of endless meat for a farewell dinner, I resorted to mock duck. Tasty, though I'm amazed to know how wheat gluten can pass itself for any type of meat. A delicious vegetarian meal with bean curd, mushrooms, and mock everything.
Hammercock and I are being our usual cute selves. It's romantic.
Got some junk food to take back to the States. Jaffa Cakes, Flake Bars, and Edam. Now, both of us are hungry again. Vegetarian Chinese good is tasty, but not filling.
Didn't walk a block before stopping at a chic Italian place to get hammercock a slice of mushroom pizza. Then it was across the street for vegetarian curry and fish & chips--at the same place.
Reality is starting to sink in. Tomorrow, we leave. Stocking up on liquids and packing like the pack rats we are. I need to inquire about the 24-hour Quiz Show. Tracy is cute.
Note to self: Find a way to see the movie "Sex Lives of the Potato Men"
Saw a British black female equivalent of Jerry Springer:
"For God's sake man, take care of your sperm!"
Got up. Fortunately, we packed most of the stuff last night. All of the candy is packed. Hope it survives. We are about to entrust our luggage to the hotel between checkout and departure. Ready for one more adventure--provided my stomach holds. Maybe I shouldn't have had the curry last night.
Tickets to the Eye!! To see all of London from 450 ft is a real treat. I think I saw (finally) Buckingham Palace and the changing of the guards from a bird's eye view. The wide view of this great city is breathtaking, especially given how soundproof the gondola is (didn't even hear Big Ben strike 11). I think I see my dad. He's out there.
It's also an engineering feat of wonder. To think what's supporting the wheel. Two struts, each with a swivel joint locked in place by 12 bolts. Albeit, the bolts are several inches by diameter. I could get into an ongoing discussion with P (klingonlandlady's husband) about the equations. The truss structure alone could take hours.
Having our last lunch at a noodle shop. There is someone playing the Chinese/Japanese version of "My Sharona". As my brain continues to break...
On the bus back to Heathrow. Once again, Hammercock and I have upper front row seats. I am beside her as we look back at a magical week. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and we're still happy together. Almost like a married couple. This is a big deal give a trip to Montreal that revealed the opposite from a former travel partner.
Random sign: "Winner of Best Musical" This is, of course, referring to "Jerry Springer: The Opera."
This is according to the clock in front of me on the airplane. Got into Heathrow at 2:45pm. Too close. Flight leaves at 4pm Easier to leave London than it is to return to London. There was a Harrod's inside the terminal. Finally went to Harrod's. Wish they had dark chocolate Cadbury's. Oh well. There was even a caviar shop. I saw a batch that was 96 pounds for 50g. FIFTY GRAMS!!! No way. I am currently in my seat sandwiched between hammercock and a passenger who probably wishes he was somewhere else given how cramped we all are. There are children nearby. Damn children. Still immuned to their cuteness.
About to leave London soon. I have endless memories to share. Where to start? I can barely explain it to myself, let alone my Sweetie and others. It is all in my head for as long as I can remember. I leave as I arrived at London--beside a fabulous redhead who I love dearly and who made this the adventure of a lifetime.
All of my photos have been developed. I'm nearly done creating the video.