Monday, January 21, 2008

Weekend of Walking

So on Friday night I actually managed to get to the Hotel Gym for my 20 mins of cardio (replaced yesterday by those damn steps!). And in other exciting news, my first Amazon purchase had arrived ... 2 (fairly old) Computer Games: Caesar IV and Children of the Nile.

It's odd to me how disjointed all these deliveries from Amazon seem to be. Everything was in stock when I ordered but some things are being dispatched sooner than others and some things are being delivered by outside companies (like these 2 games). So there should be many days of Christmas and package opening while I'm here ;)

After all that excitement, I headed off to meet Kersh for dinner. It was interesting. I haven't seen or spoken to him since he moved over here 7 months ago. He suggested we try somewhere new (for him since everything here is new for me) and picked a Morroccan Restaurant called Zaytouna near Leicester Square.

We had a lovely evening together catching up on the office goss - most of the evening was spent swapping stories and revelling in the horror of Hopefully Separated Husband and the Secretary (sorry, PA :P).

I liked the food at the restaurant. Although, my Baba Ghanoush wasn't quite as I expected, my main meal was divine. I had Pastilla (Phyllo pockets of Chicken and almonds).

On Saturday morning I was up early - I haven't been sleeping that well here ... or I'm still on SA time cause I usually wake up at least an hour before my alarm is scheduled. And it's so dark behind these hotel curtains (not that the sun provides that much light5 thru the clouds) that it's hard to tell if it's morning or still the middle of the night :)

Anyway, after breakfast, I tubed off to the Huntertarian Museum at The Royal College of Surgeons. Now this may not be a familar one to most of you, indeed it wouldn't have topped my list if I hadn't read The Knife Man by Wendy Moore last year. But since I had, I made a special effort to look it up and proceeded to spend 2 and half hours perusing the collection. It's frightening to think that it is only a mere two thirds of what John Hunter had collected during his life time (a distant 214 years ago). It was fascinating. I wish I'd been allowed to take one specific photo ... one of the displays is of a baby's vein-system. It's this hanging twist of red filled veins in the perfect shape of a baby. It was spectacular. Also impressive was his collection of preserved babies in all the stages of development within the womb. I highly recommend this museum if this is remotely your thing. If it's not, steer well clear.

After that, I headed back to my hotel and for a wander down nearby Oxford Street with it's many shops. Sheesh, exhausting I'll tell you. My feet were absolutely screaming in pain after my afternoon wanderings. So it was again back to the hotel and into a hot hot bath for some remedy before I head out for a night at Ruby Blue with some old school friends.

I met Lopz and Nix there for a pretty good night out - aside from the fact that I was exhausted and my feet were protesting about being made to move. We enjoyed quite a few cocktails (thank goodness for half price specials) and caught up on all the news. It's kind of interesting seeing people from high school now that we're 10 years out. I'm not sure how I feel about it. I know I no longer live in Cape Town and have started on my own life but I still sort of feel like people must look at me and wonder what I've done with my 10 years? Okay, so it's not everyone that makes me feel like that, but certainly some people do. I guess it's because there are definitely people who I wonder what they did with their 10 years too. I mean I'm not the cliched "Mom" - I haven't even got married yet, let alone popped out a brood of kiddies. But I'm also not the cliched "Career Woman" - I'm kinda okay with my job, I earn a decent (some would say better than) salary and I travel once a year (mostly cause it's Rands I'm earning). So what am I? Fair enough, who wants to be a cliche but still ... where am I headed and what am I doing with my life? You see, sometimes seeing old friends who are in such different life-places can be dertrimental to your self-confidence.

And on top of all that they've been here ages and are all settled and I'm mostly feeling completely out of place and under-dressed. Imagine living your day to day life in South Africa but only being allowed to wear clothes from Pep Stores or Pick 'n Pay. It's kinda like that.

Anyway, aside from triggering my own journey of self doubt, it was lovely to see them both. It's probably the only time this trip I'll mange to see Lopz, unfortunately since she's off to sunny Cape Town on Friday :) Have a safe trip and finger crossed about that passport of yours!

Oh, and they messed up my bill at Ruby Blue but sorted it out super fast without one question. Impressive this first world service ;) Sunday I was up early again. The Divine Miss M was supposed to accompany me to the British Museum, but unfortunately the shoot she was working on this weekend was extended to Sunday :( In the end, I think it was better to have done it alone ... no feeling bad about rushing someone thru an exhibit they're really keen on that you aren't because your feet are dying (again!). I must've spent about 3 & half hours wandering it and my feet are still complaining! It was impressive ... although I think I'm jaded when viewing allthe Egyptian stuff I used to think was so cool after actually having been to Egypt and seen it all there already. Once you've been in the Mummy Room at the Egyptian Museum, no mummies will impress you again. And then there was all that pottery ... not really my thing. But I did enjoy it :) Although by the end I was once again exhausted.

Headed home to my hotel for some Google Talking with Varen and a bit of a rest. Went wandering Oxford Road (am determined to find myself a nice coat / jacket and some boots before I leave!) at around 5pm ... yes on a Sunday. The place was still packed with people, in the dark, because all the shops were still open. Had Burger King (I figure since I'm doing all this walking I'm allowed the occasional junk) for dinenr which was a huge disappointment. Kind of depressing really since I remember thinking how much better than MacDonalds it was when Iwas last over her (admittedly this was in 1997/1998 in the December holiday's after Matric ... a good 10 years back).

And that was my first weekend in London :) I need another just to laze about, rest my feet and do nothing - paha!


Lopz said...

Don't worry hun, it's not just you that takes serious stock of your life when you see old school friends - I did it too after seeing you and Nix! I guess you can't help but compare your own path to those you started out with. And if it's any comfort at all, part of me wants to be in your position too, and it makes me wonder what I've been doing the last 10 years. So you see, the grass is always greener on the other side, to abuse an overplayed cliche.

As for fitting in, you did perfectly, really! The great thing about London is that you really can be anyone you want to be - dressed up, dressed down, in the middle, whatever. Everything and anything goes here. You can go to a wine bar in jeans, or you can wear a cocktail dress and accessories that make you look like you're going for dinner on a cruise ship - choice is yours.

Was lovely to see you, wish we had more time to go out again :-)

phillygirl said...

@lopz - Thanks girl. It's really just one of those fleeting self-doubt things tho that I'm sure everyone gets. For the most part I'm happy with my life and the route I've taken to get here ... it's just that you're right, sometimes seeing people you started out with reminds you of alternatives you could've tried.

Again, have a fabulous time in Cape Town :)

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