Sunday through Tuesday
So I have been told that my blogs are not as interesting as they used to be. And I agree. I’ve had little time to think about word choices, sentence structure, spelling correctly, or what may be of interest to readers. Instead, I was just documenting – almost in diary format my travels. So to appeal to those readers who have lost interest (well namely only one person), I will spice up my travel details. I am home now – so I have more time to relax and write.
So I headed back home from Paris on the Orient Express – I mean the Eurostar (too many Agatha Christie books). Before I got home, I realized how much I missed the rude Parisians and Welsh Rarebit aka cheesy bread, and sites of the Eiffel Tower in the distance. But no worries, within two hours I crossed the Channel into the land of tea into the Queens backyard or Victoria Station. My last few nights were spent in a crappy hotel within walking distance to Buckingham Palace. I never got to see the palace.
I thought Victoria station would be elegant and being so close to the palace I thought it would be a classy neighborhood. The neighborhood was actually very strange. It was mixed with locals, transients, and tourists but they all seemed segregated and easily differentiated. There were tons of boutique hotels/motels that really just resembled homeless shelters (including my hotel). Hungry on Sunday night, I ventured into the neighborhood looking for something to eat. There were a ton of restaurants, but the thought of sitting down and eating a lone became very daunting. So, I began looking for fast food. I immediately found a Kentucky Fried Chicken. I was craving biscuits, but instead of biscuits on the menu there were fries. Enough of the fries already. Fries seemed to be served with every meal in Europe like garnish on the plate. I left disappointed and bumped into a familiar place, Nando. I happily ate at Nando and returned to my room where I ended my Sunday night.
Monday afternoon I made an appointment to meet with some young ladies studying abroad from Boston. The young ladies were delightful to talk with and gave me some great pointers on getting around London, great insight into academic life in an English school, British culture, etc. After lunch we decided to take in a museum. The sun appeared, disappeared, and reappeared. It rained, it stopped raining – the wind blew….a lot. While we were enduring the tempest, we got to the Tate Modern Museum in a roundabout way. This was the oddest art museum I have been to. It was a huge warehouse. However, the few floors I did see were fairly good and there was a good mix of modern art. Better than the City Museum of Modern Art in Paris. I would definitely go back. I was able to see some Dali’s, Picasso’s, and 1 Rothko – and of course some art that was Modern Art gone awry.
After lunch I decided to say goodbye to my lovely hostesses for the day and head to Oxford Circus. Oxford Circus, I believe, is like Times Square. There are a ton of shops and more H&M’s in a square mile radius than is probably necessary. For any spender it’s a treasure trove and it was a circus in the metaphorical sense since it was a bank holiday. I did, however, get a chance to see a diverse range of people – more so than I had seen my entire trip to Europe, but it was way too busy. My only purchase from Oxford Circus was a hat to keep my hair from blowing in my face and making me look like a wild woman.
Feet hurting, I rushed back to my hotel room to get ready for the Beres Hammond concert later that night in Brixton. It was way too cold to wear my planned outfit and I had no time to do my hair. So I quickly freshened up and ran back out the door to meet a friend. I didn’t get a chance to explore Brixton, but I read and was told that it is a very ethnically diverse area with a high concentration of West Indian residents. It also is home to the first street in London to have electricity. After having a quick drink, we head to the o2 academy and waited in a long line. As concert goers show up, I feel considerably underdressed and very plane. This was a very typical reggae concert with everyone looking like they could be the next dancehall queen. We stood in line just after 7… Beres Hammond came on after 10. We were tortured by endless opening acts. The Heptones were ok (the Reggae version of the Funk Brothers), but I just really wanted to see Beres since Gregory Issacs cancelled. By the time Beres came out, my feet hurt and I felt like I could barely stand. Beres was smooth, silky, wonderous…hmmmn – any other adjective I can give. I was really close and quickly reminded why I love Reggae music.
Just after 12, the concert ended and I headed back to my side of town by way of Chelsea (a very nice area) where I was led home in a Mercedes Taxi or shall I say car service. The taxi driver was so nice (imagine that), he opened the door for me when I got in and got out and made sure I got into my hotel before he pulled out. We talked about Nat King Cole on the drive to my hotel. As we drove the 10 minutes or so to my hotel, I realized that my 2nd European vacation was coming to an end.
I woke up the next day feeling queasy and I quickly headed to the airport. I thought my queasiness was related to my normal nervousness about flying. However, as soon as the plane took off and the food was served, my stomach did back flips and what little I had in my stomach came to the surface. ‘oh no’ – I thought. I’m one of those people who gets sick on planes!!! I had hoped that relieving myself would make me feel better, but to no avail. The bathroom, plastic bags, and buckets were my best friends for the next two days. Thankfully this illness came at the end and not at the beginning of my trip.
But finally friends – I’m home and honestly glad to be back. BUT – I will be returning in September (wink wink)…