Tuesday, 7 April 2009

London in Twelve Hours

One way of getting to know the center of London is to sprint across it on foot approximately 20 times. David wanted to use the library at LSE and I wanted to go see A Little Night Music, and Tess agreed to be a middle aged homosexual with me. Secretly, I think we all miss Greece and wanted to pretend to go on vacation again, but whatever, it worked.

We got to Paddington in the morning and everything was sunny and kind of idyllic. Tess and I picked up our tickets at tkts after just over ten minutes, then I trotted up from Leicester Square to LSE to find David in the stacks. I never thought I'd appreciate this, but I got kind of nostalgic studying in a library with fluorescent lighting and open, perusable stacks instead of one in a castle where everyone can hear you sniffle and there are signs reminding you not to set anything on fire. I miss that.

For lunch, we took a break to meet David's friend for lunch and went to RedVeg, which Genevieve recommended as her favorite ethically sourced communist vegetarian fast-food restaurant in London. (And probably the world, although there's an off-chance that it has a competitor or two somewhere in the former Soviet bloc.) I had a mushroom burger and fries, and even though it wasn't that communist and they made me pay according to their menu and not according to my means, I was satisfied. And then afterwards David went back to LSE and I went to the National Gallery, where I was planning to spend a low-key, uneventful couple of hours until dinner. And then my phone rang, and it was David saying that he found a missing book I needed for my thesis, and I basically threw my map of the gallery in the air and sprinted to the Tube. I saw approximately four paintings. On the way, I called Tess and was like, "I might not make it to dinner!" and she was like, "we already made reservations!" and I was like, "OKAY DON'T PANIC." I raced across town, photocopied approximately 250 pages in like thirty minutes, then turned and bolted back to the other side of Westminster for sushi with Tess and James.

And I made it to dinner with two minutes to spare! And I wasn't even panting or crying or bleeding a little from my nose! The sushi was amazing, especially after it occurred to me that I haven't had sushi in the UK possibly ever. From there, we hightailed it from there to the Garrick Theatre, where we arrived at 7:31 and were stuck in the back of the balcony instead of our seats in the orchestra. (The seats in the balcony turned out to be better, which we learned after intermission. Oops.) So that was tremendous - the woman who plays Leonora Armfeldt totally stole the show, but I thought the leads playing Frederik and Desiree were also excellent, and Charlotte was pretty good. I could take or leave Anne, who is supposed to be annoying but I think she was annoying on too many levels.

And then we got out and realized we had fifty minutes to get from Leicester Square to Paddington and figured that was plenty of time, but definitely got there about ten minutes beforehand. Which was just enough time to grab coffee, because I had only had one cup that day and the fact that I did all of that on one cup of coffee is nothing short of astounding. I just figured that my heartbeat is too irregular to do that much running, but it turns out that I was wrong.

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