Wednesday, June 21, 2006

An idiot's travels in London

LONDON (CSB) -- Yes, yes, yes. My undisclosed location is no longer a secret. I'm in London, as probably was obvious by my earlier dispatch. Contrary to my co-blogger's rodent-centric experiences, I've found the city to be more than just a theater of the absurd and giggleworthy.

Not that there isn't all sorts of ridiculous shit to see, but rather than spin yarns about my observations on all the slight differences that make going to other countries worthwhile from almost the minute you step outside the airport, I thought I'd provide some vignettes from my travels. I'm not yet at the midway point of my transatlantic sojourn -- I've got more countries and more travels ahead. And tomorrow, blog "pinup" Brian joins me in London for soccer-related antics and alcotourism opportunities.

For now, here are some highlights:
  • On approach to Heathrow, my plane banked right over the center of London. I was struggling to make sense of the grid laid out before me when I saw the serpentine in Green Park. I said "holy shit" in a voice just audible enough to make my seatmate laugh softly. Then I stared at the houses of Parliament, the London Eye, the British Museum, St. Paul's and all the other landmarks as they shone on a perfect Sunday morning at dawn and thought to myself: "It's about 1 a.m. back in New York. Crimenotes is probably three sheets to the wind and stealing accessories from drag queens so he can work out in the bar."
  • I wandered around London in a sleep-deprived haze all day that day. Some memories include: Finding a truly awful novel on a table that someone was selling underneath the Waterloo Bridge. I didn't want to carry it around, and now I've been back twice and can't find it. Would have made a perfect gift for my friends with literary taste. ... Walking for hours and seeing next to no one, as if London were there just for my own exploration. Then stumbling into the market at Covent Garden and smiling at the sight of all the people there as if I'd just spent six years on a deserted island. ... Sitting on the bed in my hotel room (once I could finally get in) and enjoying the slow pace of a test match between England and Sri Lanka in cricket. Giggling when the commentator's partner in the booth kept silent after being asked "penny for your thoughts" while England was getting crushed by Sri Lanka's batsmen. ... Waking up in the middle of the night to a broadcast of "Sunday Night Baseball" on Five, and seeing the British guy and American guy talk ball between innings instead of commercial breaks. ... Bangers and mash for dinner, along with a pint of Guinness.
  • Danced with a Japanese girl who barely spoke English at a Brazilian bar after Brazil beat Croatia.
  • Absorbed Meghan Daum's collection of essays (fucking brilliant) with a pint or two (ditto) at a pub across the street from the British Museum. Going into the traditional, red phonebox in front of said plunder repository to tipsily call a friend who dog-eared one of the essays for me and tell her how fucking good they were. Seriously.
  • Giggled at the Guardian's World Cup guide. ... Giggled at the Guardian's daily bets placed by a fish. ... Giggled at the Guardian's "Soccerball: Today at the World Series" item, supposedly written by a 12-year-old Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan. (If you don't get why the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are so odious to English soccer fans, pay more attention to the world around you, or at least google that shit.). ... Wondered why the United States doesn't have a newspaper as good as the Guardian.
  • Found a local pub, somewhere in between the pub at which I had the pub dinner my first night in town, and the one at which I read those essays. I've wanted to have a local for years -- now I do.
  • Did shots of Jagermeister with a leggy blonde German girl because, well, she was a leggy blonde German girl and she wanted to do shots of Jager.
  • Went to the London Aquarium, partly because I was feeling introspective and partly because I'd just seen Closer. ... Ate fish and chips.
  • Went to an Aussie pub shortly after the Socceroos lost to Brazil. Marveled at celebratory mood and willingness amongst drunken Antipodeans to sing "Land Down Under" at full volume. Chatted up a Brazilian girl who spoke English with an Aussie accent, because all her friends are Australian.
  • Speaking of on-the-nose soundtracks: I watched the RAF flyover on the Queen's birthday. I'd taken my headphones off, but not hit pause on my iPod because the planes showed up sooner than I expected. As the last few groups of jets flew over, I realized that "Danger Zone" was playing.
  • Discovered all sorts of random alleys, parks and markets. ... Made instant friends in pubs while discussing the World Cup. ... Watched a shitload of soccer. ... Walked until I got blisters on my blisters. ... Purchased a used copy of "James and the Giant Peach." ... Finally asked out the unbelievably cute bartender at my local.
London as shown in CrimeNotes's photo stream.


CrimeNotes said...

Yes, yes -- great post, keep 'em coming, we're all very jealous now, and football is just two months away so life will soon get even better.

But I'd like to issue a few corrections and clarifications. First, my behavior is stupid on its own. No need to besmirch drag queens and try to bring them into my effed up ankle. The feather boa belonged to a pretty lady from Michigan, and she wasn't a drag queen.

Second, how in the sam hell have you avoided the squirrelophelia? Spend a morning in St. James Park and you won't be so uppity.

Third, I never called London "giggleworthy" (I liked it, even though it reminded me of Boston), yet paradoxically, you "giggled" no fewer than three times in this post. Projecting much?

Crunk Raconteur said...

Also, I noticed that Flop (deliberately?) soft-pedaled all the picking up of dudes he's been doing.

evilgirl said...

also, anyone else notice that flop went to the aquarium, walked around and apparently thought to himself, "mmm. yummmy"?

CrimeNotes said...

With Flop away, it appears that we all have a lot of pent-up mockery.

beast of burden said...

And it's always amusing when a guy says he "asked out" and "unbelievably cute" woman and neglects to mention her reply ...

evilgirl said...

yeah, but it's flop, so we can be pretty sure he got some tongue action in the bar and then went home alone, hugging his pillow and dreaming of crimesnotes.

CrimeNotes said...

How is it that my response was the nicest one? This is a tough room.

If we weren't anonymous, Evil, this is the place where I'd list the ten people Flop would be dreaming about instead of me. I'm sure you'd agree with my list.

evilgirl said...

given that anonymity is relative, crimenotes, i'll argue that even challenged by the ark's captain, everyone's favorite sorority girl, that guy all girls find attractive, a curly haired cutie, evil, the girl that goes comando, a couple ladies i don't recall, one big ol' butt, and of course, a curious monkey, you are still the stuff flop's dreams are made of, just not in a sexual way like the rest of the list.

CrimeNotes said...

Evil -- best fucking comment ever.

Flop said...

Man, leave this blog for a week and ...

For the record, BoB, she did say yes.

You may resume your mockery, starting ... now.

Jason said...

Notice you didn't get laid. Maybe cuz you're a dork! Hahaha, take that Harvard boy! Score one for the state-school grad!