London and Bath (2004-05-25 - 8:27 p.m.)
First of all, Michael from NZ's reaction to my sister's contention that I should marry an Aussie:
As for the marrying an aussie advice from your sister, it might be 5 times easier to find an aussie bloke than a kiwi but really I think there are a number of reason to stick with our side of the tasman:
We are closer to Canada (well except for the very top, arid, deserted part of Oz)
We get more snow than aussie
Not as hot
We actually have Prairies in the south island, in fact it's probably the same climate as Edmonton except not as extreme!
Marrying an Aussie would be like marrying an American. (And lets face it, do we really trust their "Which country shall we bomb today" attitude?)
You've already met a perfectly eligible kiwi...
and finally, We aren't the dirty filthy cheats that bowled "under arm" to win a game of cricket that we were most unlikely to lose anyway!!! (again - talk to an aussie about 'the under arm incident' for an explanation)
So there you have it, folks, the definitive list.
In other world news, my buddy Babe Lloyd has passed on the following link: World Naked Bike Ride Day. The ultimate protest. Note: do not click if you don't want to see naked hippies on bikes!
As for London, well, things here are okay. Except for the fact that I seem to have suddenly developed an allergy to the city. My eyes started being itchy and bright red last week, sparking a minor panic amid Nicolas' dire stories of people losing their eyesight due to untreated eye infections. I actually went as far as finding out how to get to a walk-in clinic before calming down and figuring out it's most likely allergies. It sort of hit when I finally connected the persistant throat tickle with the itchy eyes. I went to Boots and got some allergy eye drops and things have been considerably better today. Still, another good reason not to stick around London too long.
I did get out of London this weekend though! Steph came down for her long-awaited visit and we had a great time. She came over Thursday, but had been on the train starting at 4 am London time and was pretty wiped out.
Friday, however, we saw a pretty good chunk of London (or at least the famous bits.) First, though, we stopped at a gallery that I pass every day on the way to work but had never had time to stop at. I was super-curious to see the inside, as there was a really great sculpture outside the building that was part of the exhibition. It turned out to be an installation by Antony Gormley, and it was pretty incredible. He uses the shape of his own body for a lot of his work, and I find it extremely well-done (and I don't usually care much for installations!) Was quite pleased I got around to stopping.
Then we did the grand tour: Westminster Abbey (STILL didn't go in, as the lineup was huge), Big Ben, the Thames, the London Eye, the parks, Buckingham Palace, the whole bit. Got accosted by a guy trying to convince us to go to a gallery. He gave us his spiel while we stared blankly at him. Finally, he said (in his heavy Spanish accent), "You DO speak English, don't you?" We had to laugh. Then as we left this old lady in blue eyeshadow winked at us and said, "He's kinda cute!"
Steph's mom was in town at the end of a tour, so we met up with her for supper. She kindly bought us a pub dinner and then we went to see Stomp, which was pretty cool.
Saturday we got up early, as we had to meet the coach at Great Portland Street for the Bath/Stonehenge tour. Unfortunately, the Tube of course chose that instant to break down (signal failure at Farringdon) and despite leaving 25 minutes early we were nearly late. We were stuck in a carriage with about 10 obnoxious American girls, and - of course - they ended up being part of the group that was going on the tour. sigh. "Oh my GAWD!!! I remember being a sophmore, you like SO didn't know anyone and weren't invited to the best parties." (This was seriously the topic of conversation.)
However, the coach ride was good as we took over the back of the bus with my Aussie buddy Scott and a gaggle of assorted Canucks. First stop was Stonehenge, which was incredible. I didn't actually expect to be much impressed, but very much was (for the engineering feats of getting the stones in the right places, as much as for anything else!) There was quite a good audio tour as well, which mostly had the effect of keeping the more annoying tourists quiet. (Although one lady brandishing a rolled-up umbrella was unstoppable).
We only had three hours in Bath, which was a pity. We opted to see the Roman baths, as that's what the town is famous for. I was also interested because I remember seeing the slides my parents took of them 25 years ago. And yep, they look pretty much the same! There's a very good museum there now, and loads of excavated Roman and Celtic sculptures and bits of stonework. Also (my favorite part) lots of rolled-up curses that people tossed into the spring. They were written on thin sheets of metal and some of them were pretty funny - and they mentioned names! whew. There were some pretty angry Romans at the baths.
I wish I had seen more of Bath. I liked the city. Wanted to see the Jane Austen museum as well but didn't have time. I may head over there at some point and see what the work possibilities are. There's not much keeping me in London...
Speaking of London, a quote from Rob (imagine this in a Southern drawl). "Maaaaan, London is all about avoiding eye contact." Very true, and I think that's what I don't like about it so much. Ah well, only a month left and then I'm free to head off to somewhere with less smog.
Anyway. Steph had a few issues getting back home, as she had booked an early Sunday morning flight - and surprise! the transit doesn't run at that hour. Ended up sending her off on Saturday night to sleep in the airport. Really too bad, but not much to be done.
On Sunday went to see flatmate Tom's band play. We (perhaps stupidly) took Creepy Dirk's advice on busses, and it took us an hour and 15 minutes to get there. On the way back we just caught the first bus to London Bridge, and were home in 45 minutes. For some reason he managed to pick the least direct bus in Southern London to recommend! I went to the show with Rob and Diana, the German girl who has moved into Nicolas' room for a few weeks. She's pretty cool. The show was okay, but when I saw Tom the next morning, he'd quit the band! He's the most impulsive person I've ever met.
Okay, my fingers hurt. Steph, if you read this email me and let me know if you made it back to Nederland okay!
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