Monday, September 22, 2008

Anglos And Their Animals

Finally, a country that gets me! This is a monument dedicated to all the animals that have died along British soldiers in the past because "they had no choice". Now I don't feel quite as alone for being the only one who is more sorry for the hero's horse than the actual hero when the cannon finally falls the two. Not only do the Brits love their beasts of burden, but they are quite fond of their canine friends as well. I love running through Hyde Park in the morning, not only because it helps me justify all the delicious waffles and gelato and hob nobs and various cadbury products, but because of all the prancing beautiful dogs (even the dogs in London dress better than I do). It's like a potpourri of world-class dog breeds. I never thought anything could satisfy me more than a Saturday afternoon broadcast of a dog show, (dog shows: one of my many guilty pleasures) but this meets all those expectations and more. Not only do the English love their dogs, but they love the people that love their dogs. Americans, I think, can be a bit snooty when it comes to their furry, four-legged friends. The more we love them, the more we treat them like humans (yes, myself included) which is not good for the dog or the human (believe me, I've been ridiculed on more than one occasion for attempting a web-camming session with my puppy I left overseas). The British, on the other hand, while still loving their dogs as much as their children (or more, these dogs really are beautiful) are able to remember that they still must be treated like dogs to be happiest. Instead of dressing them up like puppy-prostitutes, they let them run wildly through the parks (leash laws are more of a guideline) chasing after the frolicking European squirrels, which are never out of sight (or sniff).

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The English Riviera

When I think of glistening turquoise water with emerald hills that blend into perfect sandy beaches I generally don't think of England. Somehow our professors managed to find this gem of a contradiction though. Granted the water temperature was just a notch above "organ failure" and it was filled with half-naked Brits before noon (think lots and lots of sun-shy skin and very little amounts of spandex), but it was an absolutely fabulous experience. After spending all day at various breath-taking sights we found shelter at a YMCA in a neighborhood called Alexandra. Naturally it was everything I could have imagined and more. I finally got a taste of what real British food is. We were served noodles (covered in salt and pepper of course) with a sort of sauce that consisted of hamburger meat, stewed tomatoes, corn, peas, green beans and all other canned vegetables available to the cook. Topped with a cheese and an option of ketchup (which I graciously declined). Because I couldn't decide whether it was pasta or stew we called it pewt. And it will forever hold a soft spot in my heart.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Thames Fest! Woot Woot

Every event I go to here is just better than the last I don't know what to do with myself! But I've realized that my last few posts have looked rather dull without pictures, but since I'm rather awful with taking photographs, I found this one on the internet. So it's not authentic at all. It's not even a good picture. But Emma, since you're the only one who reads my blog I'll put up some pizzaz for you.
Although I couldn't capture the essence of Thames fest in picture form, that's not to say I didn't have a good time. Quite opposite in fact, we were packed from shoulder to shoulder with half drunk Europeans from various origins, most of which weren't wearing as much deodorant as they should, and I couldn't have been happier. As we walked down the row of booths that were selling mind-blowing jewelry, cutest wool pea coats (which were sadly highly out of my price range), and everything antique from first edition books to Kama Sutra talismans. Don't forget all the best food from all around the world like Morocco, Caribbean, Greece, Thailand and even somewhere as foreign as Louisiana. Top it off with some street performers like a dancing Mona Lisa (don't worry the frame was securely fastened around her painted head) or a magician with just one eye and you cannot fail!
Of course my favorite part of it was the food, after much deliberation I decided on Moroccan food. It was a very good choice. Not only did I get some fabulous food, but the ethnic wonder behind the counter (he was probably 30 years my senior) asked if I would be his wife. So that was cool.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Ah, The Power of Cheese

I am officially a resident of London now. I am unpacked (which generally consisted of dumping m extremely large suitcase into a disappointingly small drawer. I actually defied the laws of motion and space). I've already proved everyone wrong that said London didn't have any good food. I got this sandwich called the Mature Cheddar Pret Pickle. So good. There was just bread, lettuce, cheese and this mince meat/relish pickle spread but the bread was whole wheat and scrumptious, and the pickle spread added enough foreignness to give it an identity. But the cheese. Oh my gosh the cheese! It made me want to break all the American cheese-makers' knee caps for not bringing this cheese to America. You and I both know I love my country as much as anyone, and better than most, but cheese is one area where I have to shake my head in shame. I am very disappointed that we haven't mastered dairy products yet. We can spot weapons of mass destruction from outer space, but we can't make a good cheese to save our lives. It's the only thing holding us back. Just to let you know my goal is to master the art of fermented dairy products. Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Plane

As fun as everyone knows international travel to be, I think I had it pretty easy. Despite the fact that I only ended up sleeping about 2 hours before catching the plane at the departure time of the "butt-crack of dawn". I was in such a tired stupor when we set off from Utah I could have been strip searched and I wouldn't have known the difference. Our first layover was in Minneapolis. Yay. Had we been there one day earlier we could have witnessed a little of the Republican National Convention on our layover. And you thought layovers couldn't get any worse. Our layover actually ended up being just long enough for us to work up a hearty sweat running down through the entire airport (and most of Minnesota for that matter) trying to make up for a delay brought to you by the savvy team of motivated personnel at Northwest Airlines.
After our close shave in Minneapolis, we touched down for a decent two hour layover in Detroit, where we indulged in Quizno's (where one sandwich cost a whole month's salary) and dancing on the express tram. Luckily on the long trip I sat by the nicest southern man I think I could, or ever will, meet. He is here on business with two equally hospitable southern belles. I wish I were the kind of person that looks like I would like to chat it up with my neighbor in 34 G, but I had to settle with eavesdropping. I think the fact that the first think I did after sitting down was was slather my hands with hand sanitizer and pop two Tylenol PM's. Generally not the tells of a real people person.