Wednesday, July 04, 2007
London Calling
I know it's been a while. For those of you who have been waiting with bated breath for my next post, you may exhale now. I've just come from three days in England. Did I have a nice time? In between the rain, perhaps. Actually despite rain, traffic, and, you know, TERRORIST ATTACKS, it was a pretty nice time. On my first day there they had many of the roads blocked off - some for security, some for a charity race that was going on. Bringing me to one of the funniest things I came across. Toward the final leg of the rainy, rainy race guess what came out of the loudspeakers as a morale boost to the exhausted runners? "Do You Hear the People Sing?" from Les Miserables. In the United States we use MC Hammer and 50 Cent to get pumped up. Not in England. How very prim and proper of them. When I heard a subway street musician playing "Castle on a Cloud" later that same evening, I thought I must be cracking up.

In one day I did a self-imposed, (almost) neverending, 7 and a half hour walking tour through every imaginable touristy district in London. I witnessed race-fueled fisticuffs in Soho (London's Red Light District of sorts) and had to filter through Bobbies three rows thick in front of 10 Downing Street. At Buckingham Palace, royal guards were placed side-by-side with automatic gun-wielding police officers. Cars on nearly every block were being secured and towed and the tube was milling with police in fluorescent yellow vests. Quite an interesting time to be visiting. But I did the tube and buses and walked on foot - all without incident. Which I will treat as a testament to London's awesome law enforcement and leave it at that. Though I should note, if the government is reading this, I was walking by St. James' Palace near where the princes' apartments are and found it someone disconcerting that I saw nary a guard in sight. I'm not here to tell you how to do your job. Just a note.

Other highlights include taking in Don Giovanni at the Royal Opera House and landing on the recieving end of catcalls by male prostitutes. Good times were had by all. Wishing you were here!

Note: I am currently in Amsterdam. Having seen tulips, Rembrandts, and more wooden shoes than you can shake a stick at, I already consider this trip a success. However, I should note that my official policy is to write about (not take pictures of) my experiences. This philosophy goes something along the lines of: pictures should be of people, not of THINGS. So I will not drone on and on over pictures of fields of flowers, windmills, and Vermeers (the equivalent of shoving pictures of your baby in a stranger's face and asking about how cute she is). Instead, I'll try to give you a sense of the experience. For now, I will merely document the obvious. You'll get a better overview when I have more time to reflect. Until then, over and out.
posted by Rachel @ 7:43 PM  
THE WILD WILD EAST: Everything you never knew you didn't know about life on the other side.
In China, the people are represented by two separate, yet equally important groups. The Chinese, who call this land "home," and the expats who migrate here. My name is Rachel. I am an expat. These are my stories.
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