Final London Notes

Well, I’m all packed and am now waiting for the cab that’s to arrive in about an hours time. The sun is just starting to rise over the house tops, and there’s a a bit of chill in the air.

I’ve purchased way too many books whilst here, and now own several books containing various English and British recipes. The result of which is that the weight of my luggage has increased a fair bit.

London has a hectic energy about itself that I haven’t seen since being in Manhattan several years ago. Partly due to my schedule, I have nearly gone non-stop since arrive here two weeks ago. I’ve seen a great majority of the museums here, and have eaten a different meal nearly every day. From British cuisine to Malaccan, from foie gras to bone marrow, I have tried to sample a wide variety of food that I hadn’t before. I’ve taken nearly 400 pictures.

The end result of all of this is that I am nearly spent. As I told a friend on New Years day, London seems like an all night dance party. At the start it’s a great experience, near blissful as a diversity of energy assaults one’s senses. But by 5 am, even as a new DJ takes the stand, the body says “No. No more. I can’t. I’m exhausted.” I am near that point.

That’s not to say that there hasn’t been highlights. Clearly there has. A quick list includes:

- Doing a pub tour on Christmas eve, specifically drinking at Sherlock Holmes Pub drinking a half-pint of bitter, will be a memory that stands for a while.

- Seeing a show in the West End affected me more than I expected.

- Eating at St. John was a pure delight.

- Seeing the pieces of impressionist artwork at the National Gallery was extremely moving.

And there are more…much more. The top was seeing a friend that I haven’t seen in several years. But that’s more for private consumption.

There are several things I’ve learned while here as well. For one, regardless of the restaurant, there’s less pressure to turn over the tables. It took me nearly a week to realize that the wait staff wants you to hang out and enjoy your final drink before you go. This usually was exemplified by the final check not being delivered any where between five to fifteen minutes after I had finished my meal. This was totally foreign to me.

Second, I’ve learned that, for all of the grief the Brits have taken for their cuisine, they are unabashedly proud of it. Most of the people here love their fish and chips, yorkshire pudding, kebabs or bitter. While this is not surprising in of itself, the sheer amount of words I have heard from various servers, friends, and barmen talking about their food without me having to bring it up was odd. Imagine going into your local tavern and having your server bring up their recent consumption of mac and cheese, and you’ll get a good idea of what I experienced at not one, but three separate restaurants/pubs.

But alas, my time here is over. I’ve gotten an odd crush on James May, a new found affection for the Mighty Boosh, and an odd appreciation for quiz coms. And now I have to let these things go. It’s 5am now at the dance party, and my body just can’t take any more.

But I’m quite looking forward to the next one.