Wednesday, May 03, 2006

'Mind The Gap'... and, Home within reach..

As we landed in London, the captain reported over the loud speaker, that the skies had been rainy all morning and that the remaining days forecast called for more of the same. The people, all of which I think were Brits, let out this collective laugh and sigh. This is something that I have encountered many times on flights to Seattle from the warmer reaches. That feeling of, “oh yes, what a surprise to be coming home to my beloved city from someplace warm… only to be greeted by the drizzle and rain..”

Maybe this is why I felt so at home in London..the weather is quite similar to Seattle. And the city felt familiar. Maybe it was the similar feel of this city to a US city, or maybe it is just a cool city.. maybe a little bit of both.
And the coffeehouses everywhere seem to mimic those of the NW..a way to wake up, warm up, cheer up and get out of the rain.

After weeks and months of pointing to the menus, pantomiming and just plain guessing, it was refreshing to be able to communicate with people, know at once what you were ordering in a restaurant, and to be able to take away a coffee, without it coming with strange looks and hot muddy liquid in a tiny plastic cup. London has this good energy about it that I didn’t notice so much in Madrid. I don’t know, maybe it was the space, the cool crisp air, and the wide sidewalks. It just felt good, breathing in that cool rainy air.

We only had one day here, really, so I made the most of it by trying to walk a lot and see some areas that I hadn’t seen the last time around. I am not sure if I succeeded in doing this or not. I was lured to Oxford Street, where Min and I had discovered the Urban Outfitters and H&M last time.. This time, I also came across the Borders…which was great after being in bookstores offering only a limited selection of English books, many of which were of the Michael Crighton variety. Here, I found another addition to a great book I bought the last time I was in London. I highly recommend this author (Tessa Kiros) and her books, for they are beautifully laid out, with great pages, nice photos and great recipes. My last purchase of hers was called “Falling Cloudberries”- with recipes of her ancestry- which is Greek, Cypriot, Italian and Icelandic(?)..the other cookbook, called “Twelve,” is a Tuscan book that goes through the 12 months of far, it looks as amazing as the first.

I also stumbled into the huge department store here, called Selfridges. It is quite large and has this amazing food hall. I saw so many interesting baked goods, teas, much great packaging, all of which I wanted to capture with my camera. Of course, just after I snapped my opening shot, of some self serve infused liquors, I was politely told ‘tsk-tsk’ by a large and intimidating security guard..

I wandered into the center of the May Day march as well, where I was able to see that London is made up of a variety of minds.. a few of these being Socialist/Communist.. Of course, everything was under protest here..from the obvious issues of Bush and Blair keeping their hands off Iran and out of Iraq, to the Hairy Women marching against bikini waxing. of course, there were fewer of the latter..

Cheerio, London. until next time.

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