...the Journal

After the boat trip, we are staying in London at the Commodore Hotel, near Hyde Park (and next door to the Brasilian Consulate--we've stayed here before).

If you want to see some information about the hotel, this link is a good place to start.


Someone suggested I add a discussion board, so I have.

If you have anything to discuss, go to this link. Feel free to start a new discussion on anything.

Keep the discussion going while I'm away, will ya!


Who knows? I took lots of books with me!


The sights of London

Eat your heart out!

That's it for today!

Walking and Gawking

19 May 2001

I was sitting on a bench on Oxford Street yesterday morning while Walt was at a nearby ATM machine getting money. There was a shoe store and inside an Italian woman was carrying on an argument with someone I couldn't see on the other side of the store. She was yelling and gesticulating and at one point started to remove her pull-over sweater, but put it back on again. She took a display shoe off the shelf where she was standing and put it on her foot, continuing the argument. Then, continuing the argument with what was now an obvious invisible person, she walked out of the store, wearing only one shoe.

London is a wonderful place to just watch. From the bus yesterday we saw three young men wearing aloha shirts and grass skirts.

The day before I was sitting across the bus from a very "proper" young man in his business suit, glasses, slicked back hair. He was nonchalantly picking his nose and eating what he found.

There is a man on Oxford Street whose job it is to walk the length of the street carrying a "Golf sale" sign. It sticks up out of his backpack as he walks along. His face bears such a defeated look. I noticed him the first day because it was pouring rain and he was wearing the sign on top of a helmet looking contraption so that he could sort of protect himself with an umbrella.

Interesting town.

Yesterday we started the day at a tube station at Charring Cross Rd. Walt parked me at Foyle's Bookstore (purported to be the largest in the world) while he went off to find half-priced tickets for the theatre that night. He returned with tickets for a play called "God Only Knows," starring Derek Jacobi. I was very pleased.

Then off to meander through the little book sellers of Charring Cross. There are books shops of all sorts, selling old books or new books, specialized books on theatre, music, motoring, or any subject you'd care to imagine. I love Charring Cross.

We wandered through the market attached to the church of St. Martin in the Fields and found stalls selling jackets at half price, cheap souvenirs and even porn videos. Obviously the church doesn't inventory its stall merchants!

A choir from Louisiana was giving a noon concert in the church, so we attended that, and it was lovely. Nice way to pass half an hour for only a 4 donation.

We had planned to eat lunch at the Sherlock Holmes pub. I suspect this place is more visited by Americans than anyone else. We were here on our first trip in about 1987, with all the kids and it was where David ordered his first (almost) legal beer in a pub. Since yesterday was the 5th anniversary of David's death, it seemed the appropriate thing to do, somehow. We ordered beer (my first alcohol on this trip) and drank a toast to Dave. There were tears.

After lunch we decided to take a tour of the newly restored Globe theatre. What a comedy of errors. I had overheard someone at the pub telling someone else that the best way to get there, for the fun of it, would be to go to the pier at the Tower of London and take the boat across. Naturally we didn't check to make sure that was accurate.

Instead we took the bus up to the Tower of London and found the pier, but it turns out this is only a tour boat and while yes, it goes past the Globe, it doesn't stop. So we had to look for a way to get there by bus.

I'll spare you the dramatics, but there were tears and short tempers and it all got rather ugly for awhile. Walt was watching me as if I were a bomb abou ready to explode.

When the bus finally arrived (much too late to think of touring anything), we decided he should park me at easyEverything, a fast-food internet outlet, while he went exploring on his own. This restored my sanity, and his as well, and we were ready to proceed with the evening, which was a decided improvement.

We had dinner at a cafe with outdoor seating and, since inside was full of people and a bazillion degrees, we ate at a sidewalk table. My chicken tikka masala was delicious, as was Walt's chicken cordon bleu.

Then up to The Vaudeville theatre for the show. We had 4th row stalls (that's the orchestra section, in the US). The chairs were comfy, roomy, and I had plenty of leg room, so it was a heavenly evening. And in an incredible small world moment, the people sitting directly behind us turned out to be friends from San Francisco. We were both shocked to find each other there.

As for the play, Jacobi gives a bravura performance as a man who has uncovered a secret which threatens the whole of Christianity. He is being pursued by Vatican mafia and takes refuge with four vacationing English people. It was an incredible play and I'm so glad we chose it.

After 2 hours in great seats and a fantastic play, as well as an hour on the Internet, I felt reborn and almost didn't mind the walk to the bus which was supposed to be "a couple of blocks" and ended up being about 8 blocks. I almost didn't mind that we had "The Rambler of buses," which raced its motor and lurched through every stop it made, whether to pick up passengers or just to stop for traffic in the road. I almost didn't mind the guy sitting across from me who decided not to answer the calls on his cell phone, which came every few seconds.

It was very nice to get back to the hotel and I was again so tired from the day's activities that I slept six hours. I feel reborn this morning, especially as I sit here at this computer, look at the sky outside and see blue. It's going to be a good day.

Signing off from London for another day...

Some pictures from this journal
can be found at
Club Photo

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Created 5/5/01 by Bev Sykes