Sunday, August 29, 2010

London Day 2

This morning Gregory and I along with the rest of northern Europe turned out for the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. There were two marching bands and while they were too far away for me to note any real details, I was able to discern the following: 1) any band no matter how good sounds shite playing slow pop ballads, but I was willing to give them a pass when they played "Candle in the Wind." (during our travels today there were several monuments to Lady Di covered with flowers. Since the anniversary of her death is only days away it was evident her impact on this country was far reaching). The other thing I noticed is with big time professional bands such as this there's always some poor bastard they make carry out an instrument that has no business being outdoors. Today, I saw a man having to lug a bassoon marching-style out into the damp English weather just to change the guard.

Instead of swords the familiar fuzzy hatted guard carry AK-47s with giant brutish knives on the end and a compass in the stock and this thing which tells time. A small patrol did march past us close enough for me to note that each member was likely almost thirteen. So that made me feel safer.

We wandered through St. James' park and made the decision to see how the British like to shop. We wandered to Kensington to find the answer is: in giant crazy maze like structures. Harrods of London is a beautiful huge and enormously gigantic overwhelming and expensive trap. There are few directories and no maps. I only mention this since my only frame of reference for such an experience is in the Mitsukoshi in Tokyo where there are maps in every language and it's all laid out perfectly. Luckily we weren't looking for anything specific, though I doubt some of the people working there could have told us since I hear the stairs move around on their own and the paintings talk to you. Or at least if you've had enough to drink, they will.

We ate lunch at Harvey Nichols, another department store only a fraction the size of Harrods, and it was divoon. I had some special seasonal martini with magical citrus and elderflower and believe it or not it was Tanqueray! Gregory had pasta and I had chicken. While both were delicious the truly noteworthy item was the dessert: sticky toffee pudding. It was toe-curlingly sumptuous.

While we have walked several miles per day it has yet to negate the thousands of calories I consume. For dinner we opted to eat at the hotel restaurant for dinner. The steak was good as was the wine. Gregory's "lemonade" was interesting, but the take away item here was the ketchup. Tomatoes are the first ingredient listed! We will definitely try to find it in the states, or pressure a whole foods or import store to carry it.

Tomorrow, Stonehenge!

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