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Adventures in Writing, Reading & Book Culture

LONDON, where people smile, say ‘thank you,’ and use deodorant…

The yet-newlyweds photographed on the Thames

It was the sixth time for me in London (and prolly as many for the missus), and with four days, we hardly went to one tourist site. But London being what it is — a big City — all one needs do is walk down the street to cross paths with a touristy place. Nevertheless, we spent a lot of time trolling shops, art galleries, narrow streets, and wide parks.

For all your cosmetic needs, including Clinque products, shop at this British institution

Day 1 was set: Asia had booked this weeks before-hand. She went shopping, I went shopping/exploring/pubbing. We met for lunch, went back to drop off shopping bags in Hammersmith, then lighted out back to Piccadily Circus, at which point Asia trundled off for more shopping, and I went to the British Museum, which, surprisingly, is open till 8pm. And with summer being long at these latitudes, the sun was still hitting the tops of the buildings when I met up with my wife of 348 days, 21 hours, and 3 minutes, at Oxford Circus.

My first pint of the first day, taken at The Red Lion, down the street from Parliament, where I watched two under-under-under-secretaries hashing through a “legislative deal” over coffee and orange juice. What, no whiskey to seal the deal? Pussies!

We compared notes. I had drunk 3 pints, took 52 pics, saw the Rosetta Stone, and walked miles. Asia had walked miles, dodged Arab women ululating at Primark bargains, and saved money by shopping outside the Czech Republic. Such a great day!

Asia in our Hammersmith hide-away, showing some of her early purchases … before we pushed the beds together 😉

Day 2 was spent together, hand in hand, walking & talking, cruising the National Gallery and Nat’l Portrait Gallery; lurking in used-book shops, the 5-story Waterstone’s bookstore, locating Harrod’s and storming its food hall, and ending the day by taking a long walk down Hammersmith’s high-street, where we found other (closed) shops that were a must to drop in the next day, or day after.

In civilized countries, a horseman waits patiently atop his steed among the other “vehicles” at a stoplight

I was caught in a pub bathroom looking at myself Narcissus-like in the vertical “pool” when, to my surprise, a sign showed itself …

… ah! But of course. Your wish is my command….

Day 3 we met up with the French boys at an American breakfast club, for which Megan showed up and joined me in a classic Bloody Mary. Asia had the pancake special, heaped with berries and the thickest whipped cream I’ve ever seen; I had a scrumptious pastrami sandwich. Afterward, we all went to an American Diner for a beer, and to meet more Frenchmen. Then it was off to Brick Lane, where a weekly food fest and lots of open shops beckoned like a drowning tourist whom we were not so enthused at being inconvenienced to toss the life-vest. But the day was saved by a long walk along the Strand and then getting back to Victoria Station to buy the Sunday paper.

The now-famous American-style pancakes with berries and cream

Meg & Mark go underground for American tet-a-tet conference on the state of America from our ex-pat telescope. Conclusion: Obama doesn’t deserve another 4-yrs, but how can anybody stomach that whiny-fuck Romney?

Day 4 we reserved for a long walk through Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, then down the long street leading through Notting Hill, were we found a terribly becoming pub at which a beer was gladly quaffed, before an equally enduring (and longer) walk to Shepherd’s Bush, at which point we thought about walking back to Hammersmith, only we sort’a didn’t know the way and, seeing that Shepherd’s Bush looked, suddenly, like Chicago’s Maxwell Street or NYC’s 126th Street-Harlem, it was time to step on a bus back to a convenient Tube Station and onward back to the ranch.

Asia in her “Diana” pose on, fittingly enough, the Princess of Wales Walk in Hyde Park

At the Yoko Ono “Wish Tree” in Hyde Park, London

A truly candid shot of yours truly, somewhere in Notting Hill at a pub called The Castle

My girl, with her new bookmark

Then, suddenly, our holiday was over. Suck, right? Sure, but then it wouldn’t be a holiday if you didn’t have to go home, which was beckoning us — our palace-apartment, of course — like a distant fire on a rain-spattered safari.

And once home, we spread out our booty and marveled at all the stuff: magazines and books and cosmetics and cheap (but quality) clothes and stickers and containers and a magnifying glass (for atlas reading — I’m not that myopic, yet) and notebooks and pencils and a little metal case with a bunny printed on it.

Oodles of cheap stuff purchased in a country that has what I need

Shit … I forgot to photograph the T-shirts. Okay, next post then, at which time you shall see Asia’s three new purses. Okay, time to go ….

Yes, keep walking. Nothing more to see here….

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