Monday, February 09, 2009

London Calling: Day 1

Well, hell-ooo London.

I'm keeping this short because the $40 "My Giant American Prong's Too Powerful for Your Wee British Socket" adapter kit I bought before leaving the States doesn't work for my computer and I'm trying to maximize the amount of battery I have left, at least until I go sob to the staff of the closest electronics store and explain that my trip will absolutely be ruined unless I can blog about it.

Anyway, my flight was uneventful and actually dropped into the UK half an hour early yesterday morning. It was maybe a quarter full, which meant that I flipped up all of the armrests in the middle row, combining seats 26 C through F to make MEGASEAT. I popped two Benedryl before getting on the plane and that--combined with a meal that one side of the plane was told was beef, the other informed it was chicken, but everyone agreeing that it tasted like heavily salted mop water--meant that I stretched out and slept until the Cap'n announced our approach into Gatwick.

The customs line took forever, a situation that I probably didn't help by writing "Blogger" as my occupation on the immigration form. Anyway, after train to tube to inevitably wheeling my suitcase half a mile in the wrong direction, I was ready to start my holiday.

This is where the magic happens. And by "magic" I mean convincing myself that the furtive rustling I heard within the walls during the night was actually the tooth fairy, not a tiny foraging mammal.

The view from my hotel room. Moving on.

Yesterday took me toward the West Ham-Manchester United football* match, and although tickets were more than my hotel room, it was still beyond entertaining to see the crowds. If you think you love Your Favorite Sports Team, please take a moment to reconsider. After spending the afternoon in a swarm of Hammers fans, I assure you that you do not.

The official West Ham team toaster. Because breakfast just tastes better with your team's logo burned into it. This was on a rack that also featured West Ham baby bottles, West Ham shoelaces, and a West Ham intra-uterine device.

I stopped in the doorway of this house to wring some of the rain out of my eyelashes and then noticed the marker. As delighted as I was to locate Benny Hill's place by accident, I was also thrilled that there's something called the "Dead Comic's Society". They're keeping an eye on you, John Cleese.

The rest of the day involved alternately getting drenched and/or shivering, wandering around the Oxford Street area, grabbing a bite at pub called The Goat on Kensington High Street, and collapsing in a wet socked heap by 9...which of course meant that by 3:30 a.m. I was wide awake and watching Take That videos on television.

I noticed this during a pre-dawn soap opera... instead of closed captioning, there's a chick in the corner who actually signs the dialogue, which I found to be more entertaining than the actual program.

It's just after 7 now and I'm ready to grab a bite and take on the day. More from me later, assuming I don't suffocate myself in the folds of a flaky breakfast pasty.

* They call it football here. In America, we call it boring.**
** I KID! I KID!

ALSO: What's the best Indian restaurant here? I'd knife a bitch for some chicken korma.

33 comments:

Pops G said...

My grandfather lived in London for several months after WW2 - he visited several cities in Europe and said what he remembered the most was the 'smell' of each city.

He said London smelled 'funny' - not bad, just funny.

Did you notice this?

Thanks

Xenia said...

That soap opera is Hollyoaks. Isn't the sign language person hilarious?

As for Indian food--almost any Indian place you go to should be good. It's not considered the national cuisine here for nothing.

Happy vacationing!

PS--You're going to notice how polluted the city is pretty soon. Have you blown your nose yet? :)

Robbie said...

Lucky seating for you on the plane.

I didn't see the West Ham/ManU game but I read it was rubbish.

And you want to becareful what you say about the pre-dawn drama. Hollyoaks fans can get a bit protective.

So what are you doing in the UK?

nuttycow said...

Welcome to the UK. As Xenia said, pretty much any curry house should be ok. Depends where you're living...

Hot Librarian said...

Okay first of all, Anonymous is right on. Be sure to take all of his/her advice.

Secondly, I would like to recommend... well, nothing. I haven't been to London in 6 years. However, I am very jealous of your trip and feel we should repeat it together at some point in the future, like when all these "children" stop being totally "dependent" on my presence.

BC said...

"My Giant American Prong's Too Powerful for Your Wee British Socket".

I watched that movie alone in a hotel room last night.

Cloven Hoof said...

Are you kidding? Hollyoaks is the sort of trash that is only viewed by those who wear burberry, £15 Argos 'gold' rings and chains, and loiter outside off-licences in the evenings.

My bet is that the sign-language woman isn't actually translating the program's 'content,' but is really hurling random insults at the chavs.

Try watching ITV - they got nuthin' too.

@J-Money: I can't imagine what the draw to London is, but hope you're having a good time, lady.

As other posters have said you can't really go wrong with choosing an Indian restaurant. Just choose one that looks well-presented and avoid takeaways and you'll be fine.

Fenz said...

ha ha aw i miss Hollyoaks and gasp, I'm a well educated Australian. No gold chains and off licence loitering for me!!

The Imaginary Reviewer said...

If you want an Indian restaurant recommendation, just choose any that doesn't have someone standing outside trying to lure customers in with promises of great deals and great food. That's something I learned at the famed Curry Mile in Manchester (literally a mile of curry houses).

And I'm sure you've probably answered this question before, but I have to ask: Why West Ham?

Robbie said...

For Indians it might be best to head to Brick Lane. Theres hundreds. And they all try to out do each other with offers.

www.bricklanerestaurants.com/

Cloven Hoof said...

@Fenz: You're the exception, not the rule. ;)

The Dutchess of Kickball said...

Ignoring the rodent rustling, that bed looks pretty comfy for a European sleep. I've heard their beds are not up to par with our amazing American beds.

Michael said...

Anonymous said it well.

I hope you were kidding about the IUD.

Underfunded Heiress said...

Your in London - how cool!

hoppster said...

i lived in london with my sister for a summer. i want to move back, bad.

i e-mailed my sister (who still lives there, lucckyyy) and her fave indian restaurant is Rasa (http://www.rasarestaurants.com/UserPages/index.aspx). there are a few different locations...apparently.

enjoy the exchange rate...it was $1.9 = 1 pound when i was there.

Carolyn said...

I studied abroad in london and lived right down the high street near the Goat. Needless to say there were many nights spent at that place! It was such a random place, but I loved it.

The Reality of Happily Ever After said...

Looks like fun :) And for European sleeping... that bed doesn't look half bad (minus rodents, of course ;0)

Happy Travels!

*Akilah Sakai* said...

I'm just about 99.9% positive the noise within the wall is a Hobbit ... and not a Frodo-like friendly one either.

Annie said...

It's not Indian, but there's an all night Shawarma on Ken High Street, near Ken Palace. It's best at 2 am or after 5 or 6 pints. It will make your life.

s'hen said...

Try to find a PC world. They sell laptop chargers with multiple thingys that fit almost all laptops. They aint cheap, though, at around £60.
Otherwise, you could nip up to Nottingham and charge it at my house; I kept all the adaptors from when I bought my charger last month. You could wifi yourself silly here, too.

Scottsdale Girl said...

Both times I was in London, sight seeing was done only on the way to ANOTHER PUB for ANOTHER STELLA.

British Museum? Did it in 45 minutes.

Scottsdale Girl said...

Oh and I bought one of those Transformer thingies and melted the shit out of my curling iron. I picked it up and it broke, nay molten lava'd in half and the hot part hit the carpet. Apparently you have to have APPLIANCES that are also rated for GB.
Who knew?

Anonymous said...

Is the sign language chick just straight-faced and staid the entire time, or does she get into it as their voices rise or there is much shouting? Inquiring one brain cells want to know!!! BOLLOCKS!

- Mon

Martin said...

I just want to say that while I have never been across the pond, I did make a MEGASEAT in the back row of a 747 from Chicago to San Francisco. It was possibly the best thing I have ever done.

Alexandria Gilbert said...

When i lived in ireland one of our favorite past times was watching the signing hour for music videos - possibly the same woman signing Crazy in Love is good tv!

Mike said...

** I KID! I KID!

No you don't! No you don't!

angelsroy33 said...

I went to London 2 years ago on my way to Rome,...(w/ my mom,oldest brother and his daughter,) and I absolutely LOVED London, and the shopping.(But thats just me,...and my niece.) We shopped for almost 10 hours straight. Harrods was amazing! Oh, and we saw the regular stuff too!(Buckingham Palace,Big Ben, etc.)I would LOVE to go back, and the people were SO GREAT to us. Love everything there,~~~have fun! I'm jealous.

Sharon, The Queen Blogger said...

Okay, here's my best advice:

1. Go anywhere that someone had their head chopped-off. You'll need that kind of experience to look back on someday.

2. Forget about drinking the milk. It sucks. Just melt down some of their chocolate, put it in a cup, and call it hot chocolate.

3. Do not seek emergency dental work. I did. It was like a scene out of Saw IV.

4. Tell everyone you're from Canada, otherwise they'll ask you a bunch of questions about American politics aimed at making you look like you don't know anything. Which you don't, because you only watch The Daily Show (or maybe that's just me).

5. Enjoy yourself and send me chocolate.

Anonymous said...

If you are still in London you should check out the Brick Lane area in East London (nearest tube, Liverpool Street) for Indian Curry...

Cloven Hoof said...

> If you are still in London you should
> check out the Brick Lane area in East
> London (nearest tube, Liverpool Street)
> for Indian Curry...

I'd wager that she's snowed into - or out of - the hotel right now. ;) I'm too far north for such delights :(

If she can get out - or can't get back in - though a curry is a sure fire way to beat the cold.

Anonymous said...

Cloven Hoof: It’s sunny with beautiful clear blue sky in London at the moment ;) There is no snow anymore thus travelling across London should not be a problem...

Laura said...

Brick Lane is the best place for a cheap and authentic curry in London. Nearest tube is Liverpool Street, or if you fancy a flavour of the East End (Jack the Ripper and the Kray Twins), walk from Bethnal Green (about 20 mins' walk).

If you're still here on Sunday, check out Spitalfields Market in the same area.

L x

Mermanda said...

Sign language gnome in the corner of the screen? Really?