Before I get started on this weekend, I want to make sure I sufficiently update through at least last weekend, as I have a lot of catching up to do! Even though I spent my last weekend in the city, I managed to pack a lot of entertainment and activities into two-and-a-half days.
Friday night was spent with my friends Dave and (Chris) Mandle and Dave’s brother, Steve–whom I guess I can call a friend now even though my Facebook friend request has been awaiting his approval for almost a week. Ahem. Anyway, I was really happy to see all of them as I hadn’t seen Dave or Mandle for a couple weeks and hadn’t met Steve at all yet. So after class I basically twiddled my thumbs until it was time for me to get ready and meet Dave at the Covent Garden Tube stop at 7:45.
So there I was, sitting in my flat in my underwear waiting until it was an acceptable time to get ready when I get a text from Dave letting me know he was at the Tube station and asking where I was. I look at the time and it’s only 6:45, so I consult my earlier texts in a panic and realize that I completely misread our plans and now I’m incredibly late and rude. I throw on some clothes and run out of the house and manage to make it to Covent Garden like 45 minutes behind schedule.
Because Dave is very gentlemanly–and because I have no sense of direction–I usually meet him at a Tube stop so it’s guaranteed I won’t get lost on my way to wherever we’re going. But this time, Dave and Mandle went to get dinner and I was on my own. No big deal, I can navigate my way to a location that’s not even half a mile from the Tube, right? Wrong. I followed the directions on my phone for about 15 minutes, walking in a giant circle before I realized I had the map settings on car directions instead of walking directions, which means that I was walking down one-way streets only. Fantastic.
Eventually I make it to The Top Secret Comedy Club, meet up with the guys, they buy us some wine, and we take some seats in the front row. The place is relatively small, so when I say front row, I mean we’re practically on the stage with the comedians. Now part of me is glad that I can see (short girl problem solved) but part of me is wary because I know what happens to people in the front row of a comedy club. Sure enough, I think each one of us got made fun of at least once. And once the emcee uncovered the fact that I was American, that was it. I don’t exactly remember what anyone said to me because my short term memory is crap, though I’m sure the wine didn’t help. All I know is that I laughed so hard, my entire face hurt.
As far as the comedians went, I think I liked some of the opening acts even more than the headliner, whose name I do not remember. Everyone was so funny and had such completely different styles, including one comedian who did part of his act ass naked. I kid you not. The next day, Dave told me he kept having horrific flashbacks to that moment, which just makes me laugh even now.
I wish I could elaborate on the rest of the evening, but my memory, er, got a bit fuzzy. We went to a bar in a hotel, where I got to know Steve better and bonded over being oldest siblings. I’m not sure how long we were there for, but afterward, we all went back to my flat where we finished some wine and ended up singing along with all of Dave’s favorite Disney songs. By the time everyone left, it was about 4 a.m., and I was exhausted.
Saturday morning I woke up feeling… let’s go with “under the weather.” So I’m feeling under the weather and Ashley asks if I’m interested in being touristy. Of course I am. She heads out to Borough (where I live) and it takes me almost 30 minutes to make my way down to our meeting place at Borough Market, which usually takes me less than 10 minutes.
I show up and Ashley is looking adorable as usual. I, on the other hand, am wearing giant sunglasses, yoga pants, and a Gators T-shirt through which my bra might or might not have been showing. I recently decided that looking cute did not necessarily equate to a good walking experience, so I’ve officially given up on wearing anything remotely acceptable when I know I’m going to do some walking. And thank goodness because that’s exactly what we did.
If I had to summarize it, I would say we mostly just walked around and bought souvenirs. Seriously. In our defense, we tried to go see the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, but found out we were like four hours late. Then we tried to visit Westminster Abbey, but it was closed for a wedding. Fortunately, we arrived just in time to see the bride arrive at the church, so we took pictures of her like crazed paparazzi. Once we had our fill of stalker photos, we went to the Abbey gift shop… and bought more souvenirs.
After the trinket shopping spree, I left to take a shower so I wouldn’t offend my fellow University of Florida alumni at the Sports Bar & Grill (yes, that’s the full name) in Marylebone*, where the Gators were playing the Texas A & M Aggies–Ashley’s alma mater! I arrived just after kick-off and even though Ashley saved a seat for me at her Aggie table, I sat with my Gators and met a few interesting people. Unfortunately, all of them were just passing through London, but oh well.
Dave showed up at halftime to watch the game and all the American stereotypes who were watching alongside us. I have to admit, I felt really awesome because Dave didn’t know anything about American football, so I had the luxury of explaining the game. It’s not every day a girl gets to explain football to a guy! On a side note, I’m genuinely surprised at how much I know about Gator football. If only I could retain legal concepts that well…
Personally, I thought the Gators played like absolute shit and just eked out the win, but then again, Gator fans are never satisfied. I hope they made some adjustments for the Tennessee game, which I’ll be watching with the London Gators again from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday night. Damn you, evening games!
After the game, Dave and I tentatively agreed to lunch the next day, peaced out, and headed to our respective homes. I took a couple hours to catch up on Skype with my boyfriend, Nick, to talk about the game, among other things. It’s incredibly strange not to watch games together as we’re both die-hard Gators fans (thank goodness, as it would make football season unbearable otherwise). But at least I know enough to hold my own in a conversation.
Sunday morning, I wake up around 11 a.m. to a missed call and a text from Ashley. This confuses me, as we weren’t supposed to see each other until later that day. I read the text, which says:
I really hope you’re up and about ready, we have to be there 10 minutes before it starts.
This is when I realize that we scheduled a cooking class at Jamie Oliver’s Recipease in Notting Hill for noon. I leap out of bed, throw on a dress, run down the street to the Tube station, and catch a train. I have to transfer at the Bank station, which is the longest stretch between trains ever, so I run that whole length, too. Thankfully, I ascend from the Notting Hill Tube stop at 11:48, giving me enough time to cross the street, make my way up the stairs, and check in at 11:50. And now I will wait for your applause.
Thank you for that. So we signed up to make Thai green curry, which ended up being phenomenal. It was easy and fun to make and the chefs who taught us were really nice. Like I said in my last post, I’ve been seriously cooking for about three years, so I thought I knew what was up. To a certain extent, I had a bit of an edge, especially when it came to slicing and dicing vegetables (fun fact: I was vegan for almost a year once). However, I learned some seriously useful tricks! For example: It’s easier to peel ginger with a spoon. DID I JUST BLOW YOUR MIND? Try it if you don’t believe me! (I’m looking at you, Ileana). Also, what makes peppers spicy is the white membrane inside. So if you don’t like stuff that spicy, carve out the seed and white membrane with a spoon. Yes, it works for that, too!
Afterward, we enjoyed our food with a glass of wine and did a bit of shopping, as we are wont to do. I love cookbooks (and all books, really) and this place only sold rare and second-hand cookbooks that were no longer in print. So cool! I bought a Portuguese cookbook (Nana is going to be proud) and a cookbook called “Venus in the Kitchen.” It’s a book full of recipes using foods that are natural aphrodisiacs. I thought it sounded intriguing and would look great displayed in my kitchen back home. That’s a conversation starter if I’ve ever heard one.
When we finished up, we headed back to my place so I could wash up and make myself look civilized for “Spamalot,” which we were seeing with Dave later on. I figured because we were going to the theater, it was the perfect time to bust out my new nude Steve Maddens with sparkly gold stilettos. It was a good idea in the sense that I looked awesome and grew by about three inches, but then I had to walk around on uneven ground in stilettos.
The play was fantastic and because it was closing night, I felt like it was just a little special. Back in the day when I did musical theater, opening and closing nights were always the most fun. Opening night was always a hoot because it was a mess, but closing night was the most fun because everyone is so high off the mutual sense of accomplishment. After the play ended, the actors made a few speeches about the people they worked with and so on, so it was really nice to feel like a part of that–even if I felt so from the balcony.
It was such a great time, but this post wouldn’t be complete without some First-World complaints: (1) It was hot as balls in the theater and (2) the steps in the balcony were so steep that I became paranoid every time I went up or down in my heels that I was going to trip and die a most painful death. But I’ll leave it at that.
The play let out around 7ish, so we walked around in pursuit of food. Ashley remembered a nice, cheap French place in the basement of a building that turned out to be HUGE and really pretty, even though I told her it looked like The Cheesecake Factory to tease her. We drank some more wine and ate some delicious food and then headed out. The night was still young and Dave, who had been yapping about all of this important BBC work he had to do, decides we should go out instead. Praise Jesus! Because going out with Dave is so much fun. He’s taken me to some cool places and we always have a great time.
Sure enough, Dave takes us to a blues bar called Ain’t Nothin But where we see this really fantastic band. We keep drinking to the point where my feet no longer remember that I’ve stuffed them into high heels, and I think I can dance. Many times when I’ve been drinking, I hit a point where the beer actually improves my dancing, but this was not one of those times. I suddenly think that the few swing dance lessons I had in the sixth grade are finally going to come in handy, so Ashley and I get up and I “lead” her in a crowd of people, who I later heard from Dave were really unhappy about our turning their standing space into a dance floor. Of course by “lead” I mean I just randomly twirled her around with no concept of what I was really doing. Either way, we had a lot of fun.
When the band wrapped up their show, we headed out and somehow I made it home. I don’t remember much from that time frame, but Ashley got a few pictures to record the memories we’ll never have, which I suppose is just as good.
Apropos, I’ve had Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” stuck in my head. London really clicked for me this week. And I think I have a few friends to thank for it.
*Does anyone know how to pronounce “Marylebone”?