Saturday, March 12, 2011

Shopping and Stuff

You know, when I generally go on London, I don’t have things planned for every day. It’s pretty much whatever I feel like doing. Because, y’know, it’s VACATION.

For various reasons, this trip has been a bit different. I have a lot prebooked and what isn’t booked is planned. Today was the one day I didn’t really have anything booked for – which meant that today DID have a plan: see two plays and buy stuff.

I also let myself sleep in. (Hell, I had a 7:50 train out to Salisbury yesterday morning, so I figured I deserved a bit of an oversleep.) Oh, also: not using the alarm clock. (That was a waste of eight pounds.) Had a little talk with my cell phone which basically involved me forcing it into GMT (and TELLING it what time it was – had to reset the date, too – for some reason, it thought it was 1970 – which is really odd as that’s about 40 years before the phone ever existed.) ANYWAY, cell phone alarm is back on the job, but I slept in till 10.

Enjoyed my free breakfast... Normally, I just grab a yogurt or something, but I ended up booking a hotel room with breakfast included. (There’s a story to that too. Here’s the short version: found a good rate on Orbitz; the hotel does price-matching (actually price-BEATING); so they gave me the same rate, a discount, and a free upgrade. Now, the Orbitz rate happened to include breakfast, so I’ve basically got an amazing deal at a really spiffy hotel AND they feed me. Score!

So, enjoyed my breakfast and went off to the half price ticket booth. I had about 4 shows in mind, and two of them were conveniently available. That’s matinee and evening sorted, then. Had about an hour and half to shop, so I ran over to Covent Garden/Jubilee Market (various handmade crafts and stuff) and, in fairly short order, picked up items for two friends, myself, and my boss. This is very good news – there are only three other gifts I have to get, and I’ve already planned where and when I’ll be getting two of them. (See? Everything is preplanned.)

Ran to the matinee. Very nearly literally. At 2:00, I was in the Covent Garden tube station, and figured it’d take ten minutes (or less) to get back to my hotel, leaving me time to dump all these gifts (one was quite heavy) and maybe take a bathroom break before going to the theatre (walking distance from my hotel) for the 2:30 curtain. Had totally underestimated the crowds at the Covent Garden tube station – took ten minutes just to get down to the damn trains. Jogged to the hotel, opened my room, threw the bag in, closed the door. Very nearly got back in the same elevator. Left the hotel about 10 minutes before curtain with a (hopefully-accurate) mental map of how to get to the theatre – I knew what streets to take, but didn’t quite know how long it would take me. I actually handed my ticket to the usher with about 3 minutes to spare. Very close.

That was a revival of “Blithe Spirit,” and it was quite fun. After the show, I went to a nice little restaurant for some hearty British Grub (steak and mushroom pie – mmmm). Had a leisurely meal, and then walked to the other theatre for my evening show, a musical called “Shoes.”

You know, there are some shows that you think might have been written because of a bar bet. “Shoes” is one of those shows. Somewhere along the line, someone must have said, “Oh yeah? I bet you can’t make a musical about shoes!” It’s basically a dance show (my sister would love it) although there are a few people singing to back up all that dance. And one guy who keeps coming in singing shoe metaphors. Like, “If you walk a mile in someone else’s shoes....” and you think, where is this going? He repeats, “If you walk a mile in someone else’s shoes....” OK, I figure there’s a joke here, but I can’t get to it fast enough. “If you walk a mile in someone else’s shoes … then you’re probably a thief.” That sort of snark pervaded the show. It didn’t take itself seriously – except when it was taking itself TOO seriously, for comic effect. Really enjoyable.

Leaving the theatre, it started to rain. Of course, I had left both rainhat and umbrella in the hotel. Figures. So, I got a bit rained on. Ah well.

Best get to bed now. Plans start early tomorrow. :)

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