All this happened, more or less...

My name is G and these are the true stories of my adventures.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

London, Day 3 -- Harrod's, Hyde Park, and Our Rob


Before I start on Day 3, I have to briefly wrap up Day 2 for you. We did the tourist game during the afternoon, but that night (Monday night), we met up with a real Englishman and did some real English things. The Englishman was Rob, or "Our Rob" as we would soon come to call him.

I met Rob online. Now kids, I do not recommend meeting strangers in foreign countries on the internet and then flying around the world to meet them in person. It's foolhardy, imprudent, and downright peligroso. But hey, what can I say? I walk on the wild side.

So I met Rob online, and when we were planning the trip and our living arrangements in London fell through, he was kind enough to offer his place. I didn't take him up on it -- even I am not that injudicious -- but I did get his number and arrange to meet up so he could show us around. This ranks in the top three best decisions I made on the entire trip (with staying at the Astor Victoria and buying an Oyster card). Monday night, he took us to The Sussex, a cozy pub near Leicester Square, taught us how to say "Leicester," got us fish 'n chips from Rock & Sole, and gave us the nickel 5p tour of Covent Garden and the surrounding area.

The tourist attractions were fun, but we didn't really start enjoying London until we met Rob, not only because he spoke British to us and loaned us his A to Z (/zed/), but because he is an awesome person who went way out of his way to make us feel welcome. Rob, thank you so much! Couldn't have done without you. Your friendship is my favorite favourite souvenir from the whole trip. Even better than the bendy Buckingham Palace guard (and I am pretty damn fond of him).


So Day 3, Tuesday, was a major shopping day. By "shopping", I mostly mean browsing and not actually spending money, but S and I did pass the entire morning in Harrod's. A disproportionate amount of that time was spent in the chocolate department, shown above. I didn't actually buy any chocolates, but I drooled over a lot of them. S bought Turkish Delight for her Narnia-enamored sister, and I purchased a substantial quantity of tea. I may pass some of this along to my sister. If she asks nicely.

After Harrod's, we walked down to the ginormous Whole Foods on High Street Kensington and met Rob on his lunch break. He gets an hour for lunch every day. I get 24 minutes. *seething with jealousy*

Of course, I also get three months off in the summer...

Anyway, we picked up sandwiches and went to Hyde Park to eat. Half the west side of London had the same idea. Everywhere you looked, people were sprinkled in pairs and trios all over the grass, with the occasional loner napping under a tree. The sun was shining, the pigeons were... well, not really singing, but they were there hanging out, too. Glorious day! Londoners may get more than their fair share of rain, but they have a fervent appreciation for the sunshine. When they get it, they drink up every drop!


After lunch, Rob went back beneath the corporate lash, and S and I went to Madame Tussaud's. If you're on your way to London, I suggest you carve a little niche in your itinerary for this famous (yet bizarre) landmark. For those who don't know, Madame Tussaud's claim to fame was making wax likenesses of important people. She started by making death masks during the French Revolution, including those of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI, or so the story goes. In the museum in London, they actually have a diorama of her searching through a pile of decapitated bodies, looking for the queen's head. Charming, eh?

Most of Madame Tussaud's isn't that gruesome. They have wax sculptures of a wide variety of celebrities -- actors, athletes, musicians, politicians, royalty -- and the whole purpose of the place is to let tourists pose with them. Seems a little cheesy, but with the proper sense of humor, hours of entertainment ensue. Among my favorites were Tom Cruise -- who looked incredibly lifelike, minus the insanity and hysterical outbursts of laughter -- and Bob Marley. I typically avoid posting pictures of myself on this blog, but Bob and I look so into it here, I can't resist.

Red, red wii-iii-iiine...  Stay close to me-eee-eee...

Red, red wiii-iiii-iiiine... Stay close to me--ee-eee...


That night we went out with a couple of the roommates -- Canadian Anna and Australian Dave. Relaxed in a little Soho pub for a while, then found a club and danced the night away. Our table happened to be in front of a mirror that rose the whole height of the wall, so when we weren't on the dance floor, we got to watch people watching themselves in the mirror. Great fun! The self-proclaimed star of the night was the guy in the green t shown below. He ruled the dance floor with his fair-to-middling looks, his corny dance moves, and his massive ego. Anna couldn't resist the hypnotic spell of his white-clad butt, as documented below.


Green T guy didn't really do it for me, but I had a marvelous time chatting up David. Not to encourage cultural stereotypes, but I really do adore Australians.

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