Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Last Week's Greenwich Adventure

Post Beginning: Sunday, 08 January 2006

Thursday I had work again, but now that Anne was back you’d think I have more to do… you’d be moderately right. Not for most of the day, but the last few hours were filled with Anne related tasks! After work I went home to try and clean up and get my journal typed up, as that it is now Sunday I obviously failed at getting that done, so instead I went out to the Clifton after watching some of Anchorman and making pasta for dinner. The Clifton is a great place to chill. I even plugged in the Christmas lights outside of the glassed in sitting area in the back. It was classy. Amanda and Ross showed up way later, and Kate and John left, Steph went with them. Andy, Ross, Amanda, and I hung out for a while but they had just stopped serving so we chatted and then everyone went home.

Friday was another work day, but I chatted with my co-workers for a while and they informed me of a potential tube strike on Monday (update it’s going down tomorrow) therefore I will have to take a bus to work if my station is closed and I will get to be a patient in the nursing tests for the future of the British medical establishment. If it is anything like the bank system I’ll probably go in for routine tests and be dead before they get to me.

Emily and I declared Friday, ‘Falafel Day,’ and therefore for lunch we (accompanied by Andy, Sarah (Emily’s sister) and another girl who works with Sarah to Borough Market. I love Borough Market, it is wonderful. I have never seen such a plethora of good foods in one place. I even found (and purchased) a bottle of Sleemans!! Yea, it was awesome. Andy was very excited and went around taking pictures of everything. After work Sarah came over to Erlang House and Emily did her eye makeup and I talked to my Dad on the mobile for a while. I bought him some software that he can’t buy in the states and he got all excited when it worked, and then admitted that he didn’t know what he would use it for exactly, but thought it sounded cool… my dad is so silly.

After the makeup was done, Emily went home to get gussied up and left me with her sister, with whom I have never spent time without Emily present. I was determined to continue a conversation, and we did really well! We walked to the White Horse pub on Carnaby Street to meet some of her friends. We were the first there, but soon after we met Jenny and then Jeff and then Mike and … I forget her name showed up as well. We all drank, they bought the rounds and now I owe them all beer, which I am fine with because they were cool and it is an excellent excuse to see them again. They were all Canadian (mostly from Ottawa) and were absolutely fun. It was a good night. I left at 9 to go to the Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese to meet Steph, GP, Kate, John and this new girl named Kathryn. She was nice, talkative which was good. John, Kate and I talked about books and had a really good conversation. I really had a great night. Friday was fun.

The next morning we met at Portobello Road market, Ross Jenn and I left WG by bus because the tube was down do to ‘weather related issues’ it was almost snowing. The market was great, I went to the Travel Book Shop, yes the one from the Notting Hill movie (since Portobello is in Notting Hill). I’ve been there before, but it is such a great bookshop I can’t resist. Afterward we ate at this really cheap place called Mike’s Café, and then wandered the market. Ross and Amanda left, but Anna, Jenn, Morgan, and I stayed. I bought a bugle. I wouldn’t have except that it says 23 on it and it is really pretty. It was only £13, I probably could have bargained for it, but I don’t really know how, and I am not really confident in it… maybe next time. I was ultimately looking for shoes, a task which I largely failed. After wandering the market for hours we decided we were going to go to a movie and had to head back to Bayswater first.

Amanda and Ross were going to meet up at the movie after they’d checked out a flat for Ross; so the other four of us headed to Whiteley’s down the street for a movie time check. The next movie was not until 5:40p so we decided to shop! I saw a number of things that I could have bought, and I might still, I would like a new pair of jeans to add to the two that I have. I could get some from FCUK for like £20 but I didn’t feel like spending money. I went into the bookstore Books Etc. (a renamed Borders) and Steph called while I was debating buying paperback British versions of the HP series… it was a raging debate… She asked if I wanted to come with GP and her to see Brokeback Mountain! I informed her of our plans to see it in Bayswater at 5:40 and she said she’d head that way and join us. Around 4:30 we could NOT shop anymore, and Morgan and I wanted sushi so we went to Yo! Sushi.

You may have heard of, or seen Yo! Sushi on TV or in film. It consists of a breakfast-bar-like countertop surrounding the sushi-makers. You can order things, but the gimmick is: they make sushi and put it on different coloured plates. They place these plates on a moving conveyor that goes in a loop around the whole place. As the plates you want come by you take them off of the conveyor and the colour-coded plates are associated with the prices. I had a few plates and Morgan and I bonded over the sushi. It was really good and I goto eat wasabi… omg…

Finally, Steph arrived and we all headed into the cinema. The movie was excellent I give it 3 out of 4 stars. Amanda and Ross came in just after we sat down, and GP arrived 45 seconds after the movie started but we didn’t see him until after. Some of the people didn’t like the movie exactly. They liked it OK but they didn’t want to see gay cowboys. At least one of them thought it was far-fetched. We had a couple of casual discussions about whether they were actually “gay.” I thought that Jake’s character was, but not Heath’s. Heath’s was just not able of providing affection, and had never known how…except with Jack Twist… it was a complicated movie, and I was interested in the reactions of those present. Many of them gave predictable reactions… if it had been a gay cowgirl movie it would have been a completely different reaction. I like that it was two guys that are considered attractive to women too… Morgan said she was upset that they were both cute and gay. We all asked her if she’d met any gay men…

We then headed to The Sport’s Café and enjoyed a night of Basketball (Go Pistons!) American football (redskins and buccaneers) and a the end of the Ottawa/Montreal hockey game. I explained to Jenn the lack of hockey in the states (more people watch tennis, golf, and even cricket, individually, then hockey in the USA) and we got some really good nachos. Around midnight we headed for the tube and made it home for bed.
Sunday was a great trip to Greenwich! We got to ride the Dockland Light Rail and (on the way back) the East London Line. This means I have now ridden every Transport for London line, I think… I might have to double check with the Waterloo & City line… so I’ll ride that in the next day or so and have them all! Greenwich was excellent! For those of you that don’t know Greenwich is the centre of the Earth, longitude 0°00’00”. We arrived and it was rainy and crappy, but it was nice to be abele to take the tube. The high road was amazingly clean and the buildings had really pretty façades, we walked to the Royal Observatory Museum (the real observatory is in Cambridge now because of light pollution). It was really a beautiful area. The observatory was behind the National Maritime Museum and in the middle of Greenwich Park, which was VERY green and filled with people for a rainy Sunday…
We hiked up to the Observatory (which was located on a steep hill in the middle of the park and at the top we got our free tickets and went through the fence into the main yard. On the ground there was a line… that line was the Prime Meridian, an imaginary line that has been considered the standard for all maps in the world since 1884 or something… Steph, Morgan and I straddled it and got pictures, and Morgan took shots as Steph and I jumped back and forth saying, “Now I’m east!” “Now I’m west!” It was good dork fun.

Afterward we explored the observatory and looked at a bunch of very cool old telescopes and saw the actual telescope used to pick the divider of the Eastern and Western Hemispheres… it was in a part of the building that actually was a primitive observatory with doors on the roof that could be hand-cranked open. It was really interesting. At noon we synchronised our watches to the Atomic clock and headed back down the hill. We went into the Greenwich market (full of little nick-knacks and cool do-dads) before discovering the most amazing Mexican place we’ve seen yet. We walked over and were reading the menu when a young woman opened the door and said (with some heavy accent that was not Mexican or Spanish) “This is my family’s business, you should come in! It’s good food! Come on in!” I guess we looked apprehensive because she quickly said, “First round of Sangria on the house!” With a quick look among the three we followed her in the door. It was excellent Sangria, we ordered chimichangas and enchiladas and enjoyed them thoroughly. We didn’t speak much during the meal; the silence was only broken by the strange ‘Mexican-ish’ music and the occasional moans of delight from the food we were eating.

After the Mexican orgasm Steph and I headed to a tall ship dry-docked nearby and explored while Morgan headed back home. The ship was cool, but not very restored. After the exploring we headed back to the DLR for home and commented that we would really like to return to Greenwich.

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