room b01

warning: long & possibly boring journal-style post to follow


the flight to london was relatively painless, involving much sleep and reading ('lost in austen'). a dinner of sausage and mash kept me sustained, though no alcohol was consumed (sobering up on an international flight is horrific).


initial thoughts of london? COLD! also, a little rude. perhaps this comes with being in a big city, but people have no problem pushing you around in order to get to where they are going. or completely ignoring you no matter how pitifully lost and/or confused you may look in the tube when attempting to get to heathrow carrying luggage and asking politely. ... not that i'm bitter (because i am).


palmer's lodge hostel was quite nice, but this did not make up for the fact that their bathrooms are insanely tiny and smell strongly of stale urine. though our room was in the basement and thankfully quite warm! i feel the end of my hostel days are over. or at least, the days of shared bathrooms and dorm-style rooms. private room? yes, please!


jen and i got in, chucked our stuff in the shed, had some coffee and explored a little of the area around the hostel while waiting to check in.

visited a grocery store, marks & spencer simply food. by the name ("marks & spencer"), the plethora of organic, healthy and fair-trade food items and the gorgeous package design, i really thought this was some kind of gourmet market. WRONG. according to erika & amanda (who are studying in southampton ), this is considered a normal grocery store. america, can we please get with the program?

after checking in and taking a quick nap, we cleaned up all nice & shiny-faced and headed out to the lyceum theatre for some julie taymor lion king action. note: do not take the stairs at the piccadilly station, especially if, as they warn, you have medical problems. take the time to wait for the lift, or get off at a different stop nearby. 193 steps = 15 flights = cramping legs = much huffing for oxygen. more steps (83, to be exact) were taken at the lyceum to get to our seats.

the lion king was wonderful! jen treated me to wine and we loved every minute. except for the non-disney-movie songs, which... kind of sucked and our heads started to nod. the costuming was so incredible, though - like a dream. and we rented the cute little binoculars for 2 pounds (i.e. 5 american dollars).

afterwards we took a long meandering walk around some of london's sights. everything is so much prettier at night, don't you think? so sparkly. perhaps even more so when it's cold. why is this? it can be refreshing (for 20 minutes, after that, it's all downhill until the next frantic race to the nearest cafe).

saturday we met up with erika and amanda and made our way to a christmas craft show, which well... sux'd ballz. super tiny, BUT we got free mini mincemeat pies. which i nibbled and then tossed after i couldn't get the image of sugared ground meat out of my head.

and then off to the
british library. really amazing library, immense, with multiple exhibitions. the magna carta, jane austen letters, gutenberg bible, sutras and scrolls... in a word, delicious. i was contemplating taking the tour (by myself, the illiterate scrooges i was with didn't want to go), but after coffee and a snack, time sped up and suddenly i was 30 minutes too late. just as well. stupid $12 tour.

seriously, the american dollar is just so pathetic right now. we'd check out a restaurant's menu and think, oh, 8 pounds for a meal, that's not so bad. until we'd realize it was actually $16 for a veggie dinner. :(

however, a little splurge on a thai meal and free orchids at
the blue elephant finished off the evening.

sunday saw us browsing the
upmarket, a crafts fair that occurs every sunday. this place was amazing! not to mention filled with a cargo ship's worth of food, much of it on the cheap. jen and i didn't buy much since we were still shell-shocked by the piddly american dollar exchange rate.

jen & i left to head to the
erotic arts exhibit i had heard about on npr whilst erika & amanda browsed more expensive handmade goods. rather explicit images and it was surprising to see such work span human existence. makes porn seems kind of... blase. although some of mapplethorpe's photographs were a little... queasiness-inducing (jen: "is that blood??").

we were late in meeting erika & amanda at 4:30 and missed saying our goodbyes. just as well because it turned bitterly cold and blustery this evening. we took the time to remove our cold shaking hands from our pockets long enough for some night-time photos and stopped to eat at wagamama as we walked to the tate.

jen was exceedingly pleased to see maman, which was immense and gorgeous. i love the idea of maman representing the artist's industrious mother; makes spiders seem far more cosy. and spider eggs just aren't as cute in real life. granted, it wasn't a moving sculpture. had it been a large steeled chitinous moving spider, i may have felt differently.

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