Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Long'n From London

Being a nanny has its ups and downs. That’s for sure.
But most of the time, I find, the ups outweigh the downs.

This week for instance:

This week I’ve had a free trip to London. A mandatory trip in fact. I’m being paid to hang out in one of my very favorite cities.

We arrived late Saturday night. I unpacked a bit, and then took a quick bus to Oxford Street, where I strolled under pre-necessary Christmas decorations, and landed in a side street for a quiet, delicious dinner at a place called “Paradiso”. The waiters all had indiscernible Italian accents.
It was warm, so I sat on the terrace, breathed crisp night air, read a bit of “Sputnik Sweetheart”, and wrote a few pages in my journal.
The vegetable soup was punchy and amazing. The nicoise salad was too salty. The mineral water was just fine.
I asked the only other diner on the terrace about tipping customs in the UK.
He turned out to be a nice middle-aged Canadian man. He asked me where I was from, and a few more questions about my presence in London. Alone in a big city, I was tempted to ask him to join me at my table. Conversation with a stranger could be interesting. But I thought it through, and was disappointed to realize that that would be a bad idea. I wanted to be friendly, but had to keep my guard up. For all I know, it could’ve been an interesting, friendly conversation. But on the other hand, for all I don’t know, it could have ended up awkward and creepy.
So I passed it up, and coolly answered his questions without asking so many that I would inadvertently sound too interested.
In the end he was a good guy. As he paid his bill, he made a slight bow, and told me to enjoy myself in England and “be well”.
It’s a shame not to be able to trust a stranger. There are lots of good ones.

Sunday I went to Tottenham Court Road, Oxford Circus, and ended the day in Camden Town. The shopping is too good in this city. Makes me feel like a woman. I don’t think I’ve bought this much shit since “back to school” season when my parents were buying my clothes.

Camden was crazy on a Sunday, but I finally spotted a good place to fill my tired belly. “Diner”, which was exactly that. I settled in a booth and ordered a root beer. The waitress warned me that root beer tastes like sarsaparilla, and I told her to bring it on. I ordered something Spanish, and I swear it was hotter than the devil’s sweat . Literally painful to eat, but the kind of thing that just sits there in its bowl looking so tasty that you just have to light your tongue on fire and dig back in.

Monday Adrien and I had a great time meandering through Hyde Park. I cursed my broken camera, and tried to blink hard, forcing images onto my memory.
Light through the yellow, green and orange leaves, was just too much.
Adrien tried to feed squirrels. A squirrel ran half way up a tree, and Adrien followed it to the base. The squirrel, rather than climbing up, played a vicious game of…hide behind the tree?, constantly circling to the other side of the tree, as he heard Adrien approaching.
Guess you had to be there.
Then we crossed over a hill, and descended into what I swear was that famous painting: "Sunday in the Park". But all the party goers had long gone with their flowery hats and parasols. They were so far gone, that styles had changed, and instead of lounging on grass, Londoners were walking their dogs, and jogging their ipods.But still I recognized that hill. And it was something special.

Then we drank cocoa and fed ducks.
Marvelous. Perfect blue skies, a perfect white swan. Gold gold leaves.

After cocoa Adrien got crazy.
I sat on a lounge chair, set a timer, and told him to run, and come back in 5 minutes.

Later we met Frances at Covent Garden, and spent a few hours at the Transport Museum.

I spent the evening in, showered, reading, watching 30 rock and painting my nails.
A good soft wind-down.

I had weird dreams about people I’ve never met.

Today we waited in 4 lines to ride the London eye. It was nice, but not (in my book) worth the money. But then it wasn’t my money, so I relaxed and enjoyed the view.
Next was the London Aquarium, which I found depressing. Pretty animals in their murky water.

I wanted to check out a bar I read about called “The Dove”, but when I didn’t hear back from my British friend Sarah, I figured I’d better not.
Unless I want to get laid, going into a bar alone, just seems a bit pointless.
It’s not like it’s a good place to read, so I envisioned myself, awkwardly drinking pints in a corner, to loud music, and the view of aging hipsters playing board games with their own friends.

So instead I searched a café with wi-fi, but couldn’t find on open this late.
On the way home though, I passed a bar, just next to our apartment . It’s quiet and has warm yellow walls, clean air, and lots of personal space.
It’s a clean well lighted place.
So I’m typing away and drinking away my first Guiness, which is pretty good.

Tomorrow will be “tip top”. We’re doing Tate Modern (cross your fingers that Adrien stays away from all instillations), and then seeing “The Fantastic Mr. Fox”.
Yes. My job has my going to Tate Modern, and watching Wes Anderson’s latest.
Thank you, Lucky Stars.

Friday I train to Brussels, where I’ll donner les bisous to my lovely Belgian, and ride to Antwerp for the epic “Blast Your Ghetto Party”.

I’ll do all the things I love, just like last time. And I’ll be happy all weekend long.
Of this, I’m sure. (knock on wood)

Tuesday I’ll re-begin life in Paris. A life I’m growing fond of.


Stephen Miller 12:00 PM  

I really like the line "walking their dogs, jogging their iPods." I didn't realize the Fantastic Mr. Fox was out yet, though! I'll have to see that.

Kelsi 12:08 PM  

I just checked IMDB, and apparently it opened in the UK for the London Film Festival.
It says that it came to the US in limited release on Friday.