I really am a shit tourist. Example? I’m absolutely delighted to be back at my hotel with an M&S egg & cress sandwich (I splurged!) in time to watch Countdown. It’s the first time I’ve seen it in the post-Vorderman universe and I’m not sure what to think. I missed the beginning, so I literally have no idea who the host is. (I’m typing this up before I have internet in my room.)
I managed to check in at 10:30 (my room is nutso too – it has two single beds and a sofabed? I must have misunderstood the website), but despite having had only a couple of hours of sleep (seriously, fuckers, why are you serving dinner on a plane at 11pm? and why won’t you tell VERY LOUD PEOPLE CHATTING LOUDLY ABOUT LOUD THINGS to shut the hell up when everyone else is trying to sleep?), I headed straight out again. Instead of hitting the sights, I went to Costa, bought a coffee and muffin, and consumed them in Hyde Park while watching small, presumably minted, children ride ponies.
My usual M.O. in this town involves a lot of eating in parks and walking until I get lost, then either get found or at least get on public transit until I find my way back.
Today, instead, I decided to brave London’s bike share program since there’s a station about five minutes walk from my hotel. It cost me 11 quid to ride on the noisiest (seriously, I’ve been in quieter cars), creakiest, arse-numbingest, foot crampingest bicycle I’ve ever been on for two hours and change. It was harrowing, but in a way that I love.
Unfortunately, I have few photos since my phone and camera batteries were both uncharged! Way to plan, McLeod.
I have only been biking in the UK in one other locale: Kirkwall, Orkney. Which, being a town with a population in the quadruple digits, is really not a challenge. London’s a smidge different. Especially without an A-Z nor a functioning phone GPS.
Here are some random thoughts from along the way:
- Well, I’ll turn right here. I think I’m turning West?
- Right, Notting Hill. I wish I could remember the name of that nice pub I went to a while back. Like, four years ago. Eh, it’s probably not there anymore
- GOOD GOD, my foot! Are these pedals made for the cloven-footed?
- Ooo, Oxfam shop. I bet there are expensive things in that one.
- Okay, I think I’m going too far West. Going to try switching it up and going North for a bit, maybe to Kilburn or Maida Vale.
- I have literally no idea which way I’m going.
- Huh, crossing a canal into where? That sign says this road goes to Hammersmith! Shit! TOO FAR TOO FAR TURN AROUND.
- Isn’t Kensal Rise where that tornado was a few years ago? I think they mentioned it on the Big Fat Quiz of the Year?
- Heh. Waldo Road. Good lord, they weren’t kidding about the property crisis here. Every house along here seems to be for sale.
- Harlesden? What the fuck is Harlesden? WHERE AM I?! Willesden’s no better! Gah!
- Lushington Road = best street name ever.
- Okay, this road, whatever the hell it is, is scaring the crap out of me and I can’t figure out how to turn right. I’m hopping off to cross.
- Huh, the trouble with these bikes is that they don’t come this far. No docking stations. I would kill for something to eat.
- The locals are baffled. “Wot’s that? Does Barclay’s make bikes?” from one woman.
- Hey, a crap doppelganger in the form of a British Tracy Morgan. Unless Tracy Morgan is in NW London for some reason.
- That bus says it’s going to Kilburn High Street! I totally know how to get back to Paddington from there! I’m gonna follow it! As soon as I can figure out how to turn right.
- Where the hell did that bus go? WHERE AM I?
- Oh! I know that I am too far North and West. The sun sets in the West, so, I should try to keep the sun either to my right or behind me.
- WTF?! I just did a perfect loop. I’m sure I’ve been at this intersection before. You don’t forgot a name like Uffington Road.
- Okay, well, this sign says Kensington 4. I can find Paddington from there surely and it’s not far. Aw, crap, that’s miles, not kilometres.
- I have no idea where I am. The sign only directs to Willesden. I WAS JUST THERE AND DON’T WANT TO GO BACK.
- Holy shit, that sign says Paddington 1 1/4! Thank fuck! OH MY GOD A BICYCLE NETWORK PATH.
- Wait, if Marylebone is right, doesn’t that mean Paddington is the other way? Or is it behind me? WTF is going on? Where did Paddington go? Crap.
- Lord’s? What the fuck?
- Hm, Paddington Green Cycle Network station. Close enough. I’ll walk the rest.
Tonight, I’m going to Broadcasting House, a place I’ve heard about a million times on Radio 4, to attend a recording of this. I really will need a nap, which is poor jetlag care, but I’m olde. Tomorrow’s for regrets. And lunch with a dapper Scot.
Edited to add my initial impression of my first viewing of Hollyoaks (as said to Richard on Google Talk):
me: I am half-watching Hollywoaks
Anger is always expressed as constipation.
Occasionally, really bad constipation.
There’s actually a character named Texas.
And another named India
Shittiest soap ever
someone just got slapped and the foley was, like, a pringle being bitten.