Saturday, 20 April 2013

Norman Nine Fingers

It's always a challenge to remember where I left off in this blog.  I just had to read the end of my last post to figure out what I had yet to write about.  Not a whole lot happens during the weeks (work, boring life stuff like laundry and grocery shopping, endlessly trying to get this room organized when there isn't enough room for everything; you get the picture), so I'll skip ahead to the next weekend.

At this point we're up to 11-14 April.  That's how they write dates here, with the day first and the month second.  I still have a hard time figuring it out in numerical format.  Sure 20-03-13 is easy enough to figure out, but 04-05-13 means I'll have to think for a minute whether it's April 5 or May 4.  Anyway, back to 11-14 April....

Thursday and Friday nights I went out to celebrate my roomie's birthday.  It was a good mix of hanging out with other people from the program and hanging out with locals who had some great tips and suggestions to share.  One of the places we went was a mexican place called Las Iguanas.  I was disappointed I didn't get a quesadilla like I planned, but I did have a few yummy margaritas.  This was also the weekend that many people here met "Gay Stanley," my placeholder gay bff while I'm away from my real one back home.  Don't ask.

On Saturday I took a tour of the Globe Theater.  It's not Shakespeare's actual theater, but it is a very cool re-creation of what his theater most probably looked like.  Being there brought back such fond memories of my friends from high school and some very dear teachers.

For me the cooler part is what happened after we left the Globe.  A bit off the beaten path is the Rose, a theater that came before the Globe and which the plans for the Globe were based on.  Back in the late 80's (or maybe early 90's), excavation crews found the original remains of the Rose when they tore down a building in order to make way for a new high-rise.  The remains started to decay once they were unearthed so the site had to be filled in again, but they're working on re-excavating it now and properly preserving it.  I got to stand on the site on the original Rose theater and be a (very very small) part of preserving it!  That's not something you'll see in any London guidebooks, but I think that someday when it's all preserved and on display it will be on lists of top things to do in the city.  The hipster in me loves the fact that I got to be a part of it before it was cool.

Sunday started out at Camden and Camden Lock Markets.  A lot of the vendors at the markets have the same merchandise.  Even so, you can't beat the atmosphere.  Camden is a sort of crazy end of town and I think it's a great place to go for a few hours to get some energy.  Everything's a bit eccentric.

It was a beautiful day and the type of weather where you want to be outside, so after the market we went to the London Zoo.  I think I might like the Cleveland Zoo better, but there were a bunch of undeniably cool features at the London Zoo.  Without a doubt the best part was the monkeys.  You know how a lot of zoos have Butterfly Experiences where you can walk around in a hall where the butterflies are all around you?  The London Zoo does that WITH SPIDER MONKEYS!!!  You're walking through this habitat and all of a sudden there's a monkey right next to you.  You're not allowed to touch the monkeys because they'll bite you, but you are close enough that you could touch them if you for some reason felt like you had too many fingers and wanted to get rid of some.

I also got to see some animals I had never seen before and watch some zebras play-fight.  The birds were surprisingly beautiful--many with brightly colored feathers that were mesmerizing.  Normally I'm not a big fan of birds, but I could have watched these things for hours.

After the zoo we got yummy "knickerbocker glories" from an ice cream truck and walked forever to find an open tube station.  The ice cream tasted like cake batter and was the perfect treat to wrap up a day in the London sun.  I did manage to get a bit of a sunburn on my neck from being outside so long.  And yes, as far as I know, I am the first person to ever get a sunburn in London.  Let's face it, this place isn't exactly known for it's warm sunny weather.

Best regards,

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