Monday, January 28, 2008

The London Report

So we arrived safe and sound yesterday and after the most expensive cab ride of my life we got to our beautiful hotel, and our room wasn't ready for us. So we searched for a half hour to find an ATM (called a hole-in-the-wall here) and then got some crummy food. It wasn't a great start, and we just wanted to take a nap.

Once we woke up, London began to come alive. This place is electric at night! We went to four different bars and even decided to go back
to one rather than go home early. We got back to our room at 2am and weren't ready for bed so we found an after hours club that was 3 floors of debaucherous fun!! Then as we were coming home, starving, we passed a SubWay that had just been robbed - and they wouldn't even serve us!! So we had to get room service and fell asleep to the comforting thought of Hillary Clinton winning the Nevada primary!

We slept in today, but are about to head off for our next adventure!!

So some stereotypes of London have proved to be untrue:

A) The weather is awful - FALSE, its actually been warmer here than in LA, and the little bit of rain we've seen has come in 5 minute drizzle bouts

B) they hate Americans - FALSE, or at least they don't hate this American. I've repeatedly be
en approached as a famous person, and these two women last night went so far as to ask to have their picture taken with me. I of course obliged them, wouldn't want to disappoint the fans, you know?

So after our first late night, we slept in til 3 in the afternoon. I'm not crazy about wasting a day like that but I think we needed to recoup from the jet lag and so on. When we finally did get up we went to run some errands, and then set off to the east to explore more of london and find some food. Here's where I need to pass on some advice that I wish we had received before we left - half of London rolls up its carpets on Sundays by dusk. We walked for over an hour before finding a restaurant (albeit a very nice one with great food and wine and an amazing toasted banana cheesecake) that was open. It was very disconcerting to have this thriving city be, for the most part, closed.

We went back to the hotel room and did some research and finally found a bar that was open till midnight - yay!! I dragged David back out on the streets and into yet another gay bar - he's been so patient indulging my need to be drunk and surrounded by men!! And I even met a great guy. his name is Mike also. And he's from Amsterdam, 21 years ol
d, and has darks shaggy curls all over his head - so cute. it was so hard to say goodbye to him this morning!!

Other highlights of
our day included stopping into an American bar at 1am and watching part of what I think was the Super Bowl live!! And we also found the coolest little ice skating rink tuchked in between these regal old castle-like buildings. So cute, and so much more magical than say Rockefeller or Pershing Sq.

Yesterday we ended up sleeping in way too late again - blame it on jet lag (or the booze). When we finally made it out of the hotel we went to the National Gallery and took in some art and stuff. When we came out, we were faced with the first real rain of our trip. I, of course was in my flip flops, and so had to roll up my jeans capri style and strolled down the street California style!! We popped into the Cafe In the Crypt under St. Martin's in the Field to get a cuppa (tea) to warm up and wait out the rain. We had a wonderful dinner (and I tried rabbit and duck for the first time - sorry to all my vegetarian friends). And then hit a straight pub where it was all about 90s rock (including Lenny Kravitz - that was for you Jamie) and then it was off to a little gay dive where we experienced some local color from the bartender who was so funny and some of the clientele - one in particular who thought David and I were holograms - too beautiful to look at - he wasn't even sure if we were real!)

We woke up at 6am this morning for a sightseeing tour of Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, and the Roman Baths at Bath. That kicked our ass - gettting up so early and walking all over and everything had us exhausted. I'm almost too tired to go out tonight - ALMOST, I said almost!!

And for those of you have travelled with me before - consider yourselves lucky - I've been without a hairbrush or styling supplies for the last four days!! Imagine that scenario!!

So I actually have to finish with Day Four still - after our whirlwind tour and being oh so tired, we were both ready to knock out, but then I hada revelation : "I'm in London for only two more days, I can sleep when i get home" I tried to rally David, but he was thinking he might head out on his own to get some chick action, so I was flying solo for my first night. Went to the bar I liked best and hung out for awhile but met no cute boys. There were some cool lesbians who were really nice to me, but lesbians never seem concerned about getting ass for their bretheren :( After an hour I went back to the dive bar I had been to the night before, and the bartender remembered me and was real sweet, and I think he felt bad that I was heading home alone. So he closed the bar and let me stay inside and poured free beer, and let me smoke, and I waited while he and teh bar back cleaned and closed the bar and then the three of us went to an underground bar in Soho called Ghetto. They paid my cover and got me some more drinks and shots. I was so trashed but had so much fun. I made out with a Brit named David for a little while, and eventually wakled home around 4am.

The next day we slept in again. But finally got out of bed - had dinner at Subway which we had been craving all week long. I knwo it sounds silly but they have some magic smell in the Birtish Subways that wafts out of the buliding and makes you so hungry for the bread that ends up being nowhere as good as it smells. Then we went to the London Bridge to take pictures (and no, it didn't fall down, it didn't fall down) Then popped into a pub for some brew and headed back to freshen up for our last night on the town in London. We went to Bar Soho, a "polysexual club" but decided the order of teh day was to talk to people rather than chase tail. So I went into wingman mode and started talking to some girls who ended up being really cool. in fact they invited us back to their friends house for afterparty and so we took a cab to northern London and hung out with these strangers. most of them were Australian, with two Brits thrown in for good measure. We had great conversations and I really enjoyed the whole crew and wished I had more time to spend with them, especially Celina, a chick who totally got me and my particular perception of the world. It was a great night.

The next morning was a lot of work just to get to Scotland, but after the cabs and the walking, and the flight (which was delayed, etc we finally arrived, exhausted into our Glasgow hotel. We ordered some food and passed out. It wasn't until almost midnight that we ventured out in the freezing rain to find a bar. (PS - its so cold here, London was actually warmer than LA when we left it, but this is the real deal in Scotland) We didnt make it the bar we were hoping to find because we stumbled onto a place called Viper that looked cool and was open til 3AM. Turns out they had great music and the cheapest drinks I've found on this whole trip. We talked to some people, got nice and buzzed and ultimately found our way back home. Only two days left until we have to fly home.


So our last two nights in Glasgow will probably disappoint the travel junkies out there. As it turns out, we didn't do a single scenic thing, never made it to Edinburgh, etc. But I still think we managed to have an amazing time.

The thing is, as in previous days in London, when you party (hard) til 3AM then get food and wander back to the hotel and watch a little TV and crash at 6, its really hard to wake up at a reasonable (a.k.a daylight) time. And those last two days were no exception. So on Day Seven we woke up late had a decent dinner (with horrible service) at our hotel, and then tried to get in touch with Ioanna, a friend David had met on MySpace who he wanted to meet up with in Scotland. They finally connected over the phone, and she said she was going to a metal/ rock /emo club that night and we should join her. The anxiety that swept me was huge. I figured there was no way in hell I could fit in at a metal club and I'd be beaten up within minutes. But I owed it to David to go with the flow as he'd indulged me in gay clubs all week long, so I had to just put my big girl panties on and brave this...

It turned out to be SO much fun!!! I'll never be a fan of the music, but the free flowing attitude and the most beautiful boys I've ever seen in the same room made it instantly welcoming. We danced and talked to strangers and drank a whole lot of beer, and it ended up being one of the best experiences of the trip. Even the Polo Lounge, the gay club we ended up at the following night paled in comparison, although I did get to make out with some hot boys that totally earned it some cool points. And both nights we walked the streets of Glasgow at 3AM and got some food (everything is deep-fried there, and Ioanna's friend Aidan was on a mission to get us a fried Mars bar, but they were out of them both nights)

We got three hours sleep that last night and I woke up and the food and the hundred beers and the crazy weather and everythings seemed to have caught up with me. I puked my guts out when I woke up, then showered, packed, and got in the cab to begin our journey back home.

We arrived home around 7PM last night - 20 hours after we left Glasgow. I'm so exhausted and so not ready to be back in LA, especially because it was sunny in London when we changed planes there and it was pouring rain in LA when we arrirved. (And I do love the rain in general but not when travelling in it) But I had a wonderful time and some great experiences, and can't wait to do it again!!


Saturday, January 12, 2008

This week's "Reflections on Britney"

So, have we all seen the pictures of Britney in the ambulance by now? So tragic. And what really concerns me more is the way the public wants to see her fall. The night of her most recent drama, as with the nights of many of her other dramas, my roommates couldn't wait to show me documentation of her devastation. And then I see how many other people have searched the internet for the same thing, and it makes me a little sick. It seems that the vast majority of the population won't be satisfied until they see the exact moment where "Britney Spears is dead" caught on film. I'm sure the news stations have already compiled their footage to run the BREAKING NEWS story the second it happens, and the record company has surely called in their b-list stars to record Britney tracks for a posthumous tribute album.
And what if she makes it through this and climbs through the rubble and builds herself up to be a star again? I don't know if anyone's interested in that Britney anymore.
I think that mentality is what keeps me from pursuing some chances at happiness in my own life. There is something so much more comfortable about failure than success, perhaps because we see it shown so readily in all of our media that it is easier to relate to others when you're down in the mud with the masses than it is when you're standing on a mountain all alone. That is what I am trying to explore right now. What decisions do I need to make to experience true happiness? Which people in my life will truly support me and actually want to see me reach that goal, even if it means me not being at the bar with them all the time? Where do I need to live to have a cross section of natural beauty and cultural stimulation (and really good looking men who readily take their shirts off during the summer months)? Getting these questions answered will help a happier me evolve and ensure that at least I'm doing better than Britney.