Friday, September 11, 2009

London: Midnight Orchestra

I haven't been sleeping well due to the midnight orchestra of the following: the disgusting tooting of flatulance from the elderly lady across the room, snoring from my lower bunk mate, demonic mumblings from the comfortably nude Russian, and the night-owls stumbling drunkenly at the most unforsaken hours of the night. Five hours of broken sleep does not do a tourist's body good. That, and fighting the urges to pee at night because damnit I really don't feel like walking through the maze of bunk beds in the dark, possibly forgetting my room key because they just had to make relieving yourself so difficult by placing the "toilets" conveniently outside of the room and down the hallway - and Lord help you if you do forget your key card. Hmm...But now that I think about it, maybe I would get more sleep in the bathroom anyway.

Instead, I've spent countless hours dreaming up ways of ending my torment. Thoughts like: if I shoved a sock in my bunk mate's mouth, would she stop snoring? Or, what if I shoved the sock up the farting machine and save us all from dying in an already stuffy room now made toxic? Or, do I have a cross in my bag somewhere - I'm fearful that the lovely Russian truly might be possessed? Or, if I switched the room numbers on the front of the doors, would the drunkards spend all night banging somewhere else?

Yes. Wonderful and wicked are my dreams in the late hours of the night.

Moving on. My next complaint is the pain I've developed on my feet. I think I'm carrying around too much weight (which I hope is from my backback and not from my thighs or midsection or - heaven help me - all of the above) not spending enough time resting between the long walks and maybe, just maybe but probably, its the damned stairwell that I have to climb maybe 4 - 5 times during the day to get to and from my room (this is why I carry the backpack because I may just forget something in my room and have to climb back up, so I find myself cramming it with anything I may possibly need during my outings).

So I've resolved to modifying my walk to accomodate my need to get out of my depressing room and to see more of the endless beauty within London. It's called the waddle or if you prefer, more like a penguin march. Most of the pain is on the balls of my feet so if I swing my hips, I can relieve some of the pressure - ergo, I waddle. NOT so becoming of a poised lady but I am more stubborn than I am a lady and I refuse to laze the day away in my room with the drunkards. No thank you.

Because of the lack of sleep and pain on my feet, sadly I had to cut my outing short on my third day here. But I was happy to have been able to visit Grosvenor Square, walking towards Buckingham Palace to watch the changing of the guards. Which I unfortunately couldn't watch "live" because everyone here seems to be of the height of giants - but maybe it's also because I'm petite. So I did the next best thing - I stood on my toes (painfully), raised my arm high and videotaped it; watching it after the guards had moved on.

I also got to visit the National Gallery with its labyrinth of artwork and portraits. Seeing in person the works of Picasso, Monet, and Van Gogh. It was fantastic! Afterwards, I explored Trafalgar square a bit more, walked across St. James's beautiful park heading towards the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye, and Westminster Abbey. I stared high up at Big Ben and crossed the bridge for a riverside view of the Houses of Parliament - what an amazing structure! Unfortunately, by the time I reached Waterloo Station, my face was blue from fatigue. So, I called it an early day (only 4 hours of touring) and waddled back to my room - crying as I hobbled up the damned stairs.

Today I spent much more time out and about, almost 6 hours. I spent the morning walking across Westminster bridge for a closer look at the London Eye and the Houses of Parliament - taking more pictures than I had the day before (I was too tired last time). I very much enjoyed the chilly yet pleasant walk along the Jubilee walkway and toured the Tate Modern Museum Which I didn't enjoy nearly as much as I had the National Gallery, mainly because modern art downright confuses me. Afterwards I headed to Shakespeare's Globe and watched the play "As You Like It". It was a lot of fun and I was right in front of the stage!

That pretty much concludes my trip here in London. How the days have flown and what an adventure is sure has been. I'll spend the night enjoying a genuine meal of England's finest fish and chips while taking in the one of a kind pub scene that is a must-experience in London. Then it's time to pack up and fly off to Barcelona bright and early in the morning.

I'm sad to say goodbye to such a wonderful, energetic, diverse and lively city but I think I've been in London long enough because my internal voice now speaks to me with an English accent. So - onwards I go! There's still 8 more cities to see!

Happy reading! I miss you all!

The Jubilee Walkway

Tate Modern Museum

Miniature of the Globe Theater

Inside Shakespeare's Globe Theater

The Hinde

London's Underground - The Tube

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