Monday, March 17, 2008

In cognito travels, Part One

Sometimes, things don't always work out as planned. After a full year of not climbing, I was quickly reminded at the competition how quickly muscle memory can be lost as 10 year old kids surpassed my abilities. Not to my surprise, despite my intermediate regisrty. This was a rare time that I was happy to be called into work on a weekend. A great excuse to escape a rough patch.

And the escape didn't stop.

I'm now one happy week into my vacation, reflecting on my life from London, looking in. My week has been a carefree journey packed with eating, walking and too many extra sweaters.

I don't want to bore you with details, because I saw pretty much everything, but highlights included:

-Climbing on the lion statue outside of the London Museum, a climbing feat that required a running start and a risk of a 15 foot fall to the concrete floor

-Afternoon tea at the Wooseley, where we saw Ralph Fiennes. I heard my favorite British quote so far. So the waitress took away the three tier tray and left what we haven't yet eaten, and said 'Let me shake you first, before I rob you'

-Picking up Jaffa cakes at Tesco's after hearing that Amy Winehouse and her drag queen DJ friend had offered some to the paparazzi, who were camping outside her door

-And finally finding a store worth buying things, which I did. Fortnum and Mason, the ultimate gift shop with teas that scent the isles, and unique chutneys and champagne-infused jams that left trashy key rings outside the door.

After filling my basket several times with cherries soaked in balsamic vinegar, and pom-molasses, and ginger-lemon biscuits, I stopped and put mostly everything back, because I still haven't been to Bouchera and Fauchon in Paris, which I heard holds high quality as well. So, I only picked up tea and jam and carried on to Camden Town, where my friend had to assure me that my jam was not going to be robbed.

Today will be a bit lighter. It's the last of the beautiful sunny days, and I did two long walking tours yesterday, Tower of London right after the Westminster Abbey, so I'm ready to just go to Covent Gardens to look for Matt Damon. Supposedly, he's filming a movie there.

A very exciting and surprisingly sunny vacation.

--switch up--

But I forgot to document some two very interesting events that happened before vacation.

Two weekends ago, my friends and I impromptly went to this vast pillow fight that took place on the entire free area of Union square. We arrived and saw mobs of people with feathers, fuzz and stuffing flying everywhere in the middle. We watched in horror as people walked away with retired pillows and an orb of feathers surrounding them like pig-pen from the peanuts gang. We were brave. We wanted a picture of each of us swaying our pillows back and forth. I was first. I went up to one kid and threw a playful gentle blow to his arm. As soon as I knew it, I was surrounded by his ten friends and was being gang-banged to the ground. As I crouched down, throwing my pillow, or punches, it didn't matter, suddenly, I heard 'I got your back, keep moving.' I turned around and a gang of pillow punchers looking for a fight, were by my side. I wasn't frightened anymore, because I was on a makeshift team of feather-gagging gangsters (Yes, I am 25.) We left shortly after, walking down the street randomly bumping each other with our now ratty pillows and a flee of feathers following us. It wasn't again until afternoon tea that I felt like I was 7.

The next thing I've been waiting to tell all about is this One-woman one act play that I saw last week, but I've been etching to get out of this flat, so I can see the last of the lucky sunny days I've experienced here. A blurb about the play will be featured in Part Deux, promise. This play was amazing though. Definitely worth seeing. Cheers!