I predict never again consistently blogging every day for an entire week. You all were spoiled for a while there!
So, update. I successfully went out Thursday and Friday nights as planned, with Saturday being my day of rest. (I’m a Jew at heart–forget the part about how my Sabbath didn’t begin until Saturday morning. Although considering my understanding of Jewish reform Shabbat dinners, the part where I drank was quite similar to their Friday nights.) Today I went through Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park, made my way towards Buckingham Palace, walked to Big Ben and Westminster Abbey, and am now collapsing in exhaustion.
Thursday, I went to East Putney in southern London for a delicious southern dinner cooked by my only American friend in this country, plus Erin, who was visiting for a long weekend. We ate mashed potatoes and fried chicken. It brought me back to y’all in the South in the best way possible. Sophie is also a bartender, which allowed for some sinfully tasty cocktails. We then ventured to a real British pub, my first. A pub is like their equivalent of a coffee shop. I love it, particularly since I prefer alcohol over coffee.
Friday, I worked. I really like my internship thus far. Everyone is friendly, the office is small, and I am the American authority, so they ask me lots of questions. Unfortunately, when it comes to contemporary pop culture, I know about as much as they do. At least I know enough to defend our country, as I had to later that day.
I spent more time with Sophie and Erin Friday night. We ate at Hummus Brothers, which is a self-explanatory restaurant, then went to her bar in Richmond. I finally understand the Brits’ attachment to their bars. All of their stereotypically reserved natures fall by the wayside after a few drinks. Americans, well, we just go from loud to deafening.
Saturday, Erin and I went to the British Museum and I saw the Rosetta Stone. A picture wouldn’t really do the artifact justice, so I didn’t take any. We also saw lots of famous mummies and some amazing architecture from all around the world. The museum itself is a testament to the value of being detail-oriented. Every column was placed with consideration.
I loved Harrod’s a lot less than the museum. We went to the giant department store with a tourist’s intent–to gape and buy memorabilia plastered with the store’s name. (The latter being solely Erin’s goal.) First of all, the city block-long store is absolutely overwhelming. There were people everywhere, triggering my claustrophobia and slight misanthropy simultaneously.
Further, the place is disgustingly large and ostentatious. I really struggled to watch people dig through “on sale for £150” Burberry scarves and purchase £1200 purebred kittens while those tragic pictures of Haiti from Time magazine and CNN passed through my mind. I don’t mean to imply that I’m fervently helping the Haiti cause, but I am in full support of counteracting the absurd purchase of a £500 rhinestone-dotted tissue box cover with a donation to charity. A well-intended rich man’s burden, of sorts.
Erin and I then pretended to be real Harrod’s customers, wondering whether our dog Clarice needed a new £300 dog bed, considering the purchase of a £2000 rocking horse, lamenting about some people’s poor luck in not having a household staff consisting of Martin and Louisa, and generally pontificating to one another about the world and what it can offer us in exchange for our presence. We weren’t serious. Other people were.
The most amusing question I was asked this weekend was in a bar in Richmond on Friday night. The guy wanted to know what movie best represents America–is it American Pie? Oh lordy. Of course I adamantly denied any similarity between that movie and my high school experiences. Then he suggested that the U.S. is more like Coyote Ugly. Clearly, we were getting nowhere. Sadly, Hollywood is not positively contributing to British men’s perception of American women, based on the men at the bar’s fascination with me and Erin. I hate that they think our natural state is shirtless and making crude innuendos about band camp.
Still, I’d take “American Pie” over steak ‘n’ kidney pie any day. Even if the latter was branded with the Harrod’s label.