This is a blog about my travels. My "regular" life is much too boring to bother blogging about.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

A-Bomb in Wardour Street

Greetings. So, it appears that this bastard of an Icelandic volcano has begun to act petulantly again. It appears that the ash will drift south overnight and disrupt flights certainly in Scotland and maybe in the northwest of England (Liverpool, Manchester) tomorrow. And indeed, I've just read Scottish airspace is closed tomorrow morning. But the UK weather office is predicting that the winds will shift and blow the ash out of UK airspace completely in time for my flight to Sweden on Thursday. This better well bloody happen. That volcano DOES NOT want to mess with TG's travel plans.

It's unfortunate that I had to catch wind of that story this morning, because it really did prevent me from completely enjoying my day. Nothing spoils a day of wanderings more than worry.

So. I am tired as hell and ready for an early night's sleep before my equally early train to Leicester this morning. This is why. Please keep in mind that I walked this whole trajectory unless otherwise noted.

1. Angel to St. Pancras Station. Purchased train ticket to Leicester for tomorrow. It was expensive. Felt some very British righteous indignation about British trains. Again.

2. St. Pancras to Piccadilly Circus by tube. Went to see an art exhibit close to the south end of Savile Row - Soviet Art from the late 1980s. It was pretty fascinating. All of it was intensely critical of the regime, even despite Glasnost. A lot of the paintings were perversions of the hammer and sickle flag. There was a painting of Brezhnev making out with Erich Honecher.

It was very, very, very, very, very nice to go to an art gallery in a city named London and not have to worry about seeing 60 people I know. I knew 0 people in that gallery.

3. Piccadilly Circus to Soho. Went to check out a music store just off Wardour Street. Good selection, too expensive for TG. I had decided ahead of time that I wasn't buying anything for more than 3 or 4 pounds.

4. Soho to Covent Garden. Canadian/Australian/New Zealand/South African import shop. Bought two jars of Kraft peanut butter to deliver to Sweden, though I was stuck buying the Australian Kraft as opposed to the Canadian variant. Evidently the pb in Sweden is shite.

5. Covent Garden to Clerkenwell. Lunch at Exmouth Market. I was afraid that the food stalls were going to close - they're open for lunch only - so I had to resort to a mad dash up Farringdon Street. Turns out all that effort was for nothing, as not only was everything still open, but the Ghanaian guy from who I wanted to buy my lunch hadn't even started cooking yet. The solution: eat two lunches. First, a big cup of proper ramen, which I obliterated in about 2 minutes flat. Then, chicken and peanut stew from the Ghanaian bloke. Yummy. I definitely want to eat (and cook) more West African food.

6. Clerkenwell to Islington. More music perusal. Found and bought a cheap second hand CD by a singer/songwriter I like named Hermas Zopoula. He is from Burkina Faso. The capital of Burkina Faso is Ouagadougou.

7. Islington to East Finchley by tube. What a terrible, terrible decision. East Finchley is far - zone 3 on the underground, which means that getting to it costs a lot of time and money. I went to check out a legendary music store, which I was led to believe had lots of used CDs, and better yet, had used italo disco CDs (finding italo disco CDs of any sort is generally difficult). I was poorly informed. Good vinyl store, mediocre CD store. And no italo disco anywhere, from what I could tell.

8. East Finchley to Southall by tube and train. This entailed taking to tube from East Finchley to King's Cross/St. Pancras, then switching lines and riding to Paddington, then getting on a regional train to Southall, which is out by Heathrow. Southall is known as London's biggest Punjabi neighbourhood, and it was wild. I figure Southall is as close to India as is possible in countries like the UK. Punjabi is definitely the main language there. Best part - the vast array of street food available: corn, vada pavs, tandoori meats, chaats, whatever. I opted for two cups of corns, served with lime and chili, and a vadapav, which is a mini potato and chutney sandwich that is popular in Mumbai. I tried to go shopping for some music, primarily bhangra and soundtrack music from the 70s, but everybody tried to rip me off. One lady quoted me outrageous prices for used CDs that couldn't have cost more than 2 pounds. Another guy asked for 3 pounds for CDs I found in a 1 pound bin. So in the end I didn't take anything home with me, other than the makhani daal I bought for B.

9. Southall to Old Street. Malaysian-Chinese dinner. Sweet and sour fish curry with okra. Yummmmmmmmmm.

10. Old Street to Angel. Home. Sleep. Leicester tomorrow!

Don't be a dick, ash cloud.


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