a Cheap Holiday

Cheap Holiday

Welcome to a cheap holiday in my life. At least you get to go home at the end of the day!

Thursday, October 09, 2003

Rubber Ball trip, Day 2 (events originally occured on Oct. 2): And boy howdy, did I kip off! I excessively kipped off. I was over-kipped. In additon to the two pints of cider, I had also taken a Tylenol PM and a milligram of melatonin. Age has not been especially kind to my sleep cycle, so I've gotten into the habit of taking melatonin, otherwise I have a tendency to wake up 4 or 5 times in the night. And ultimately, I would like to have a bed partner someday, so I have to keep myself trained to sleep as well as possible.

I actually fell asleep at about 8:30pm. Any international traveller will tell you, that you want to keep to your normal schedule as much as possible, so I was really going to bed too early. But dammitall, my body-clock was telling me I was tired. I roused around 2am, when Kali turned on a lamp to read. Instead of allowing myself to wake up completely, I rolled over. I came to a little bit around 7am and thought to myself, just a few more minutes and we'll get up and get on with the day. When I came to again, it was 11:30am. 11:30am?!! I had fuckin' slept almost 15 hours!

Kali and I shook off the sleep dust as quickly as possible, dressed, and hit the sidewalks. First stop: Knightsbridge, the home of that flagship of the retail industry, Harrods. From the outside, aside from the sometimes sumptious window displays, Harrods is as similar in height and design as any other older, big-block building in center London. The inside, however, is an entirely different story. Filled to the brim with luxury brands and items not often found in other large department stores. All the counterpersons wear either suits or clean smocks over dark clothing and address me and Kali as "Ma'am" or "Madame." The walls of the escalator area in the older section of the building are painted this staggering pink. And then there's the shoes. THE SHOES!!!

Never have I been in physical proximity of John Galliano shoes before. Or that many Pradas (though, personally, I find Prada shoes to be a bit overrated). They even had an exhibit of vintage Ferragamos. Long did we languish in the Hall of Shoes, fondling, caressing. It was such sweet sorrow to leave them all--those orphaned shoes, desparately in need of proper mistresses. But leave them we did, their little mewling sounds trailing in our wake.

Harrods' interior falls along the lines of classic Vegas casino design, in that the traffic flow is circuitous and confusing, nothing is clearly marked, there are no posted directories for departments, and no visible clocks. They want you lost in Shoppingland and they want you to spend money. So Kali and I obliged them by hitting the hosiery department for fine European stockings not readily available in the States. And of course, a toodle by the glove department.

During one of our escalator trips, we happen upon the most horrifying sight: a shrine to Princess Diana and Dodi al-Fayed, obviously created by Dodi's father, the owner of Harrods. Oddly macabre doesn't begin to describe it. First off, it's square in an escalator well, inside the department store. Second, it's just abyssmal, with awful little paintings of the deceased. Not even well-rendered paintings, just piddlin' paintings. Then it is surrounded with plants, flowers, and a few votive candles. And finally, tourists are taking photos of it. Ick.

After Harrods, we took a little turn through the Neal's Yard section, which holds all manner of twee boutiques, including an adorable cosmetics shop called Pout, where I procured a very fine red lipstick. As we strolled down a narrow alleyway (the streets of London are a sheer welter of passages, the city having been constructed long before the advent of a grid system) we passed a fine looking cheese shop and it was all I could do to restrain myself from leaping in the front door and quoting Monty Python's "The Cheese Shop" ad nauseum ("It's not much of a cheese shop is it?")


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