Is this some massive German holiday I don’t know about? Everywhere I go I’m surrounded by people speaking German. I catch only enough fragments to be curious. I startle some of them by expressing my pleasantries auf Deutsch; they all have me pegged for American, and then they notice that although I’m dressed in Gap, I look like them.
I’m on the weirdest sleep schedule–perhaps it’s a good thing I ended up traveling here alone. The first day I slept until 4:30pm, then got to bed at a normal time and up at 7am Saturday. By 10:30 last night I was falling asleep, but I woke up at 2am and stayed awake until 4:30, drinking wine, eating cheddar, and reading; then I slept past 11.
By 1 I was heading out on my day, from my fleabag at Paddington by the Bakerloo and Piccadilly lines to Covent Garden (I thought I’d fill in the Tube coordinates, since anyone who’s ever visited London will recognize them), where I grabbed a falafel for breakfast and ate that while wandering through the stalls of junk crafts. Everything available with your name on it, £2 extra. Do people have extra rooms in their houses for storing objects with their names? Have I erred by filling mine with musical instruments instead?
From there I proceeded to change my mind three times about whether I was headed to the Design Museum (further downriver from Tate Modern) or Museum of London. I thought I’d decided on London based on relative simplicity of train travel (Circle line from Embankment all the way to Barbican), but the Tube Diagram misled me on the length of that journey, and meanwhile I realized I was at the Tower Bridge stop for walking across and down the Thames to Design Museum, so that settled it. They had two main exhibitions, one of really out there but compellingly organic architecture by Zaha Habib and another of typography of dissent. Both were mixed bags–about half I’d stare at, fascinated, and the other half I’d glide past. (http://www.designmuseum.org/exhibitions).
Thus committed to a theme, I hiked back up- and across-river and got back on the Circle line to Embankment and Piccadilly to Charing Cross, then marched through St James Park to the Institute for Contemporary Art, which was showing a documentary film “Helvetica” (yes, about the typeface) that was surprisingly good. I continued my march (meine Füße tut mir weh) up Waterloo and Regent to Ran, the Korean restaurant near Liberty, where I had a subtle warm tofu dish, good kimchi, and an acceptable bowl of “gyoza and rice cake” soup. Why not dumpling and rice cake, or gyoza and mochi? Why not man du gook and whatever? After dinner, I caught Bakerloo from Oxford Circus (this time surrounded by Indians instead of Germans) back to Paddington, and here I sit on my wee balcony facing the fleabag across the street that has free wifi, my hot aching feet enjoying the cold, dirty asphalt, sipping an overly cold (just pulled it out of the refrigerator) bottle of Le Freak, an aptly named Shiraz with a touch of Viognier).
I wish Blogger’s edit box weren’t in Helvetica.