Several foggy days in London town

Posted on August 30, 2007

6


I’m back! All refreshed and energized. It’s nice to come back to a country where summer is actually underway, but I really love London! It really is the pinnacle of cities, especially for a history geek like me. Especially compared to North American cities – I don’t know why the first whiteys didn’t turn back immediately. Then again, I thought that before I went to London.

I went to all the sites of historical importance, all of which are beautifully preserved and contain stunningly beautiful items. I never thought I could enjoy myself so looking at 18th century French brooches. Shit, even the Egyptian rooms at the British Museum are better than anything I’ve seen here…even if they don’t have the really famous mummies. There’s a city that takes its 1000 years of history seriously, not like SOME cities I can think of. I even liked the tortuous, stiflingly hot underground system. Even though it’s confusing it actually makes getting from place to place faster because there are so many direct connections. I was particularly charmed by the persistent London habit of sticking chewed gum on the eyes and noses of faces depicted on ads. It takes real foresight and dedication to have your gum out and ready in your right hand to aim and stick while on a moving escalator. And everyone was super friendly and helpful wherever I went! Well, there was one occasion when I asked some street maintenance type guy (he had a fluorescent vest) which direction Oxford St. was, only to have him gape at me in astonishment and say, “Are you not from here then?” as if the entire planet was one vast uninhabited wilderness outside the London city limits.

“No.” I said testily. “I’m a tourist.”

“Where from?”

“Egypt.”

“Lovely country…I went there last year.” I want to clean streets in London, I thought. Having had the exchange above, the man seemed to realize that I was a bona fide foreigner and therefore could not possible understand English. He stated to give me directions in slow, loud English, and then when I said “all right, thanks” heard “senflig ncnlkdjp” or something, because he began all over again even louder and slower than before. I edged away discreetly.

The first few days of my trip I actually spent in the Lake District and Newcastle with the Geezer and friends, but unfortunately all I remember of this period is some truly miraculous gingerbread and being tit-numbingly cold, along with a vague sense of fun being had. This is because I was high as a kite from the moment I left the airport. We did manage to go for a boat ride in the lake, during the middle of which it started raining of course and we were soaked. In fact, it rained prodigiously throughout the entire trip until I began to wonder if English people ever dried out, or were they really just perpetually shaving moss
and lichen off their persons, or growing very chic gills. It of course need not be mentioned that when I was on my way to the airport to leave the sun was shining vigorously, people were exposing pimply blue legs in shorts, and all the minorities had shed their parkas.

Food was shite though. “Authentic” fish and chips are heinous. They seem to have expended considerable effort in making food taste as similar as possible to rubber. And they use all the wrong condiments. Then again, I am told that I have certain condiment issues. Yes, I hate mustard – especially Dijon mustard. Ostracize me if you wish.

On the day before I left London, I got my nose pierced. Ha ha. Didn’t think I’d do it, did you? But I did. Basil Fawlty came with me, and we stood around cracking jokes at each other (our usual form of communication) while I filled out various forms exonerating the place from all liability. I neglected to mention that I am allergic to Smirnoff Ice and Mike’s Hard Lemonade (a Canadian malt cooler), which he did not think was a significant omission. Having signed the numerous documents, I was ushered into an inner room. Basil was compelled to remain outside courteously clutching a plastic bag containing a sexy Connect Four game (titled Foreplay Connect) that I had bought for two newlywed friends with a penchant for puzzle games. When I inquired why he had to say outside – I had planned to squeeze his hand in a girlish display – I couldn’t make sense of the piercing dude’s response. Perhaps the energy he should have used to learn English was expended in growing his waist-long dreads.

As it turned out, I’m glad Basil wasn’t around. I took off my coat (yes, a coat was necessary on this August day) and sat down and closed my eyes. The man approached me with a sharp thick needle and just plunged that shit right in. it hurt unbearably and I thought I was going to faint, but then I realized I wasn’t the Conquistador and pulled myself together. He continued to fiddle around, mucus proceeding down his gloved hand, and then said to me, “I don’t know why it’s not going through! Your nose must be really thick.” This revelation did not surprise me in the least, as the freakish nature of my body has been well documented in the past. I sighed and braced myself through another fainting fit, while he thrust two other needles in there. Blood began gushing down my face (along with involuntary tears and boogers). It was a bloodbath – and not a cheap one. I emerged teary eyed and gasping, but it didn’t hurt that much afterwards. the dude told me I have to dunk my nose into warm salty water twice a day – obviously I have contented myself with dabbing it with warm salty water once every two days. It has transpired, however, that I have a fat nose which was immediately thrown into relief by the nose ring, just like Little Bubbly said; and also that having a metal lump inside your nose feels like a particularly tenacious booger, and restricts breathing. Good times. Also, I caught my fingernail on the nose ring the other day and nearly fainted again from the pain.

Just like when I came back from Dubai, my mind is buzzing with plans for moving to London. The idea was placed in my head by a friend of mine from law school, Paul, who I had coffee with at Paul by St. Paul’s Cathedral (the tweeness of this appealed to me but left him cold). Our bond was forged in law school based on the fact that we were the only two people whose parents lived in Kuwait and on a shared love for filthy entendres. If you’re wondering where the handsome, charming Muslim-enough guys of the world are…they live in London and are marrying Korean-Canadian girls who are so hot their sexiness is commemorated in law school newspapers. By me.
I think what I was saying was that Paul told me that the key to getting any pimping job as an international corporate lawyer is being a member of the New York Bar – no matter where you want to work. He advised me to send off for the materials and then take a week off, go to New York, and sit it. However, the pass rate is 35% for non-New-York-educated lawyers, and I think we all know that such a percentage cannot include me. Will give it a shot, though.

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