It's been a long time since I've allowed myself to explore a city with almost no time limits, and only a vague sense of direction and what I want to do...and it feels good.
Today was breakfast(the best spot I've found), Chinatown, Covent Garden (Quincy Market's older, much cooler brother), St. Paul's Cathedral (my legs are twitching from the climb) some aimless wandering, and a dinner of dim sum (another place I need to bring to the states...)
There are a few pictures here--go to the temp album here.
I'm still having trouble getting my computer online, so this isn't everything I want to share, and there are some repetitions, but enjoy.
(I've broken up this entry into a couple parts...this one will have pictures, the next one has a few more thoughts.)
1. Monday night was the "Australian" club Walkabout. There are a few locations of this chain in town, but this one is a cross between a Miami-beach superclub with pulsing music, "txt-to-screen" video boards, a great crowd...and and an overly crowded bar serving cheap $1 drafts on a Monday night in a broken down big old church. Which it was. Except it was pounds, not dollars. Anyway, this is what 300 international ravers look like dancing to Bryan Adams on the "quiet" level. Moving on...
2. Earlier Monday, I ended up going on Emily's field trip to a mansion on a hillside in London. Totally picturesqueue. Totally invented, down to the facade of a bridge. I felt cheated, so I'm not posting any pictures of the building itself. Instead, just a shot I liked of one of the ponds on the grounds. The other shot is of an old-time tea-house at the edge of the parkland, in the middle of the village. The entire scene reminded me of the French/Luxembourgish villages I visited a few years back.
3. Chinatown. Very small compared to other cities, but I got there before the restaurants or markets really got going, so delivery trucks lined the neighborhood to get the stores ready for the day. Octopus were cooking in the windows, everyone was rushing to get ready...it felt like a daily theater production of sorts. (Check these out on the web album, especially of the guy looking at me through the hanging food.)
4. Covent Garden. As described, basically an open air market mixed with shops...easy to get lost in, with tons of sections. Handmade stuff, commercial stuff...I picked up some sweatshirts, a jersey, a very cool clock I can't really describe, some gifts...and managed not to spend an exorbitant amount of money, even after the conversion. There weren't that many street performers on a weekday, although an opera singer was serenading us from the food court...
5. In and around St. Paul's. Overwhelmingly huge in every way. I'm not a church guy(obviously)...but this was incredible. I took an exorbinate number of pictures inside and outside the church, and of other sites in the neighborhood. I explored quite a bit, and am heading here tomorrow to look for some Roman ruins I missed. That's Christchurch on the right---now the entrance to Morgan Stanley. The gallery has a load of shots from St. Paul's, inside and out; and the city skyline from the top of the church. The best shots of the church dome actually came from a hallway along the 400 steps to the top...there was a tiny window busted open that I was able to stick the camera through for a great shot. Very touristy overall, but some of my favorite shots thus far.
Oh, you want a picture from Dim Sum? Too bad...all you're getting is Spiderman on the Tube.