2002 European Vacation, Email #6

Hello friends & family!

I hope this note finds you enjoying your Memorial Day.

I suppose that it is still 4am (in Bloomington) and that most of you are sound asleep, so I am the early bird. I should get moving soon… it’s 10:00 here.

Anyway since my last note to you I’ve had a nice and enjoyable couple of days.

Saturday evening I went out to some bar on Old Compton Street and watched the 2002 Eurovision song contest–live from Estonia! It was very enjoyable to watch–Eurovision is some kind of international (European) song contest that 24 different nations participate in (including some non-European Countries: Israel comes mind). Each song is performed and then voting takes place (country by country) and it is all tallied up. A 3 hour long extraordinary event.

At the bar it was hosted by an old drag queen who made appropriately catty remarks about everything that was going on on stage. The audience cheered for the UK (as expected), liked Spain, and really, really, really loved Slovinia because of the transvestite nature of the band. Then it was on for voting and counting the votes–a 30 minute effort in and of itself, during which the satellite gave out twice. OOOpppss… the audience chanted 101 over and over until it was fixed–101 being the code for BBC One television on that particular company’s satellite setup (Sky). It was really amusing watching the crowd be involved in the contest. Naturally, I as an idiotic American had little emotional connection to the contest. I will be buying the CD though today. (I have the 2000 CD already. The German entry in 2000 was AWESOME!!! and the guy standing next to me at the bar had a T-shirt with the key lyric from that song on the front of his t-shirt.)

I’d had the opportunity to watch this at G-A-Y but there was a uk9.00 cover charge. Not worth it to me.

Sunday morning I got up and went to some cafe where I had an enjoyable breakfast and read The Times. It was almost as good as sitting at some cafe in the USA and reading the NYT. It was just so enjoyable and — I dunno — Urbane. I could have more Sunday morning like that–Although the Times cost uk1.20 while the NYT costs $4.75. The Times costs less–although i should factor in the plane ticket and the hotel.

I finished breakfast around 10:30 and wandered off toward Buckingham Palace. Watched the guards change. Wandered some more and got to Victoria Station by mistake… I really wanted Harrods–so I wandered there finding a few embassies along the way (Belgium, someplace, someplace, Germany, and Lestho (sp?). Harrods was closed on Sunday.

SO I grabbed the tube and went to the Museum of London. I highly recommend the Museum of London… It was very interesting and quite well done. About the only bad thing related to the Museum of London was the HORRIBLE entrance. It’s hard to find the entrance… I ended up walking around a few spare blocks even though I was a couple of feet from the stairway.

After that I wandered back to the area near my hotel where I first picked up a movie ticket to see the movie “The Closet.” Then I went to Borders (I know, I know, I know). To be honest, I don’t think Charring Cross Road is so great for books any more… it’s all big bookstore chains. If not Borders, British chains. And let me say–once you’ve been to one Borders, you’ve been to all Borders.

So I went to the movie theater (cinema as they say here) and watched “The Closet” a French film about a str8 guy who pretends to be gay in order to avoid getting fired. Well worth the time–go see it. [And for those of you keeping track, whilst the theater in Carlisle had assigned seating for about 20 people, the big movie theater in London did not and there were probably about 50 people in the audience (it was a smaller facility as well).

The movie had about 10 minutes worth of commercial adverts before the show actually started… The first one I thought was a health advisory thingy–but it turned out to be for some sporting goods store or something like that. I had to ask the gentleman sitting next to me in order to find out.

I had dinner at a small cafe last night– mussels and salmon, plus I got banoffee pie for dessert. Yum!

And here I am….

Time to close and I will chat with y’all later.


PS- Internet access at 10am costs a whole lot less than internet access at 5pm. When I got on each pound lasted 4 hours. Right now each pound lasts for 48 minutes. I seem to be grandfathered in at the rate I was offered when I logged in.

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