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Purpose as a cautionary tale

I lazed about a bit this  morning.  Because my two nights here were unintentional and there was, in fact, only one spare bed tonight, I have to change rooms the first two mornings.  If I hung out until 10am I could go ahead and change rooms rather than dumping my bag in storage.  As I had nothing better planned, I went with that.

Once I was finally moving, I headed over to Earls Court, the exhibition center there has a Doctor Who Exhibit that was mad fun.  Aside from trips to Forbidden planet (the huge cult tv and comic book shop here), I’ve never done anything really geeky here.  I’m in shock to say that I’ve already visited Forbidden Planet this trip and got nothing for myself.  Truly shocking.  I just didn’t see anything worth the money and the dwindling space in my home.  Anyway, the Doctor Who exihibit was mainly geared towards the new show, of course, but included some highlights of the past Doctors.  It was truly cheesey fun getting to see so many props, stand in front of a blue screen and see yourself standing in the Tardis control room, and just in general see so many people geeking out over the same thing.  I guess this was my less crowded fanboy convention this year.  Afterward, I wandered through the gift shop, literally over-flowing with all manner of Doctor Who stuff from classic to now.  I was tempted by a few items but talked myself out of them.  The only thing I really wanted was some sort of souvenir that actually showed I had been, but they only had t-shirts… no thanks…  I’ll just hang on to the ticket in my box of junk from my travels.

After a quick lunch (sort of brunch as I hadn’t had breakfast and it was cruising towards 1pm).  I decided that the afternoon was to go check out the Tate Modern art gallery, which has been on my list of things to do for several trips.  I overshot my tube choice just a smidge and wandered along the Thames path to the bridge at St. Paul’s.  Very proud that I was able to offer directions to three people while I was on my way.  Oh, and I was able to point out Monument (the monument to the great fire of 1666).  I regret that it’s completely covered in tarps and scaffolding while being refurbished.  I overheard a son and his father looking for it standing literally 10 feet from it.  Their disappointment was palpable, and yet again I will not be climbing it.  Oh well.

Tate Modern was interesting.  i think most of my excitement was for the building, an old industrial power plant on the south bank of the Thames that was re-born as an art gallery.  I think it has been so far down my list for so long because I have mixed feelings about modern art.  It’s not that I don’t consider it art, it’s that often I don’t really see what others see in it.  While the museum is free, there are paid exhibits.  I ended up paying to see one by an artist called Cy Twombly, an American artist who did most of his work living in Italy.  This was a slight mistake.  I had seen him listed in the guide I got, but the adjacent description was actually for an exhibit on contemporary urban photography that had ended a couple of weeks ago.  I realized my mistake after I walked into the first room and re-checked the brochure.  This was modern art at it’s modernist…  undulating crayon lines, blobs of paint, and I could not  help the feeling that I was looking at one of those posters from a decade ago where you had to squint to see an image in the picture.  I read the descriptions in the guide and saw nothing that was supposed to be there.  I squinted.  I turned sideways, I looked at an angle, and all I ever saw looked like squibbles and lines.  He had a few sculptures and some later modern stuff that didn’t leave me wholly unhappy but by and large, I’ll consider that admission my donation to the arts…

From there, I wandered through a ton of art.  I’m not familiar with most of the artists.  I want credit for stopping at a couple of Picassos, at least they caught my eye.  There were also some very cool sculptures and even a smattering of photography along the way.  All told, I spent around 3 hours, getting in my quotient of the arts before my feet told me enough was enough.  I had blisters days ago that have finally healed, but now have managed to kill my arches.  I don’t know what I was thinking when I didn’t pick up the arch supports that were lying in my closet.  I know I have issues with them, so I should have.  And I’ve paid the price.  When I finally found a pair, they were the equivalent of nearly $40…  I felt a wave of wallet-robbing-nausea wash over me as I paid for them.  An expensive lesson.

I meandered a bit more before finally wandering into Leicester Square hunting for a meal.  I found a Mexican Restaurant.  This is my second attempt at Mexican this trip.  The first was in Bath.  While it was a fine meal, it did not compare to home and wasn’t even served remotely in the same manner.  An enchilada that included the rice within it and was mammoth and was served with a salad!?  Of course, tonight was Saturday night, so the place was packed.  I was given a pager and told it was a 20 minute wait.  I wandered into the bar to wait… no seats… I stood for a few minutes.  My feet already felt better but not like standing, no sir.  Finally I notice this seat behind this black lady and went and asked if it was taken.  She wasn’t sure, but the seat beside her, which I assumed was taken, was not.  As I sat down, the couple across from me gave a look that combined sympathy with relief.  She turned out to be a talker, and I don’t  just mean a little conversation, I mean I feel like I know her life’s story now, at least the bits I could understand through the heavy Jamaican accent.  She apparently was going to see a movie, but needed a drink first or it would be “garbage.”  I sincerely hope that means she was meeting friends, otherwise it’s expensive garbage!  She had a brain tumor removed at some point in the past -she showed me the scar.  She told the doctor his other 9 patients with the same surgery would die, because it was their time, but not hers.  She lived because she “had a strength of purpose.”  I wasn’t really sure what she meant by that but at least followed her comment that it wasn’t science that saved her, it simply wasn’t her time yet.  She’s 67 and expects to live to be 105, because she knows that’s her time.  Really, there’s more to be told, but that should be enough for you to get an idea.  She was harmless and interesting, but I was still quite happy when the pager went off to get my table.

My table was, of course as close to the kitchen door as possible.  This is what happens to you when you dare defy society and eat at a sit down restaurant alone.  It doesn’t always happen, but it doesn’t surprise me either.  The meal was okay.  Closer but still not quite the Mexican I’m used to.  A touch bland, but almost all the parts were there this time.  Only missing the refried beans.  I’ll survive.

Afterward, I contemplated seeing a movie, sounded great since my tired feet could stit still.  I checked the prices… uhm… wow… they pay more for a movie in pounds than we pay in dollars.  I know that Leicester square is kind of a hub, so maybe at other theaters it’s not so bad, but it cost £13.50 to see a movie at nights or on weekend!  That would be around $26…  I could not justify that cost so just wandered a bit before hopping the train back to the hostel.

No idea what’s on for tomorrow.  But my feet would appreciate a somewhat early to bed night.  Hopefully I’m not in a room of folks who are already out for the count.  Last night, two of the 4 total in the room had already called it a night at 10pm!  So, I ended up getting organized in the dark!  I was surprised as I’m usually one of the comparative early to bed folks.  And if I’m asleep when the others roll in, they have to be remarkably loud to bother me.  Oh well, wish me luck!

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