Trip Log: London 1/95 (1/25 to 2/7)
Or Bung The Fob!
I cashed in 40,000 USAir FF miles for a free off-peak trip to London
on British Air for 11 days starting Jan. 25. They were having the most
rain in the last 50 years but the flooding that was plaguing other parts
of Europe was not evident in London. For the most part the weather was
mild; a few clear and cool days otherwise overcast, sometimes rainy, and
mild like in the 40's. Here are some interesting highlights.
The current exchange rate for the US Dollar is about 1.68.
A 7 day travel card on London Transport (bus and underground) for #11.00
for Zone 1, #13.80 for Zones 1 and 2, is an excellent value for the money.
Even if you only use it for 5 or 6 days, this will save you money if you
make 3 or 4 trips a day. Bring a passport sized photograph and they give
you a photo ID card and a holder for the pass as well as a small, detailed
underground and bus map.
To find out what's going on get a copy of Time Out or What's On. They
are invaluable and chock full of information. Time Out has a special tourists
edition also. The entertainment week there runs from Weds to Weds.
Currently has an excellent exhibit on British Impressionism. If you're
like me and after years of prowling the galleries in NYC, Washington DC,
Boston, Paris, Florence and Rome and getting a little tired of the same
old stuff, this will awaken you. Many exquisite, dreamy, wonderful impressionist
paintings mostly by artists previously unknown to me. Through mid April.
Currently has a wonderful exhibit on Poussin. If you've always liked Poussin
but never felt any one museum quite filled you up, go to the Royal Academy
and drink up!
I had never gone and while there isn't much in bloom outside in the winter
time, it's still very nice to walk around. They have numerous glass houses
filled with exotic plants that you can go in although some of them are
closed in the winter.
Hyde Park and Speakers Corner
Go to Speakers Corner in Hyde Park near Marble Arch on Sundays and you
will be entertained by something I've never heard of anywhere else in the
world. People who want to speak out on anything bring little ladders or
boxes, set them down, get up, and start at it. Its quite entertaining and
often funny. It quickly becomes evident that you don't need to know anything
about what you are talking on to just get up there and speak.
First there were several people going on about Jesus and being saved
who didn't have more than a couple people as an audience. The one's who
draw a crowd are those who don't just lecture people but engage them in
discussion or make them laugh or go on about very controversial issues.
One man was discussing political issues, another Michael Jackson and
Oprah and what was wrong with America. There was a crowd of middle easterners
discussing things in Arabic. One man set his box down, started going on
about how what's wrong with the world is that women are not being subservient
to men and drew a huge crowd in a minute who laughed at and opposed him.
Another guy was taking questions and handing out one liners and just generally
being improvisationally comedic with the crowd.
Pages Bar and Star Trek
Are you a Star Trek fan or just looking for something different to do on
a Saturday night in London? Then beam up to Pages Bar on Page Street just
southwest of Westminster on Saturday nights from 5pm to 11pm. First you'll
find the walls covered with Star Trek photos and memorabilia, and a huge
Enterprise model hanging from the ceiling. One of the photos is of the
Next Generation Cast and signed by every single member as they were all
just there for a convention. Next you'll find the manger and the bartenders
dressed in regulation StarFleet uniform ready to take your order. Try Romulan
Ale (greenish blue beer) or have a Warp 10 cocktail. Watch episodes of
all the different shows on the giant view screen, and take part in the
trivia contest. Watch the other customers dressed in all manner of costume.
And by 7pm its usually packed.
Pages has a great selection of beers, bitters, and ales on tap. To get
there take the underground to Westminster (or St. James Park or Victoria).
From Westminster you can take the 88 bus which goes directly in front of
the pub. Or go west on Victoria Street and take a left down Great Smith
St. which turns into Marsham St. Pages Bar is on the right.
I and a friend attended the Star Trek convention that occurred at the
Royal Albert Hall on Feb. 4-5. All Next Generation cast members gave audience
and with a crowd of five to six thousand people it was incredible. People
over there love Star Trek. The energy and the response was fantastic!
I checked out the Borderline which was a small, packed underground cavern
of a place. They don't have much on tap but the band, Wendy Page, was very
good and well received by the crowd. The Rock Garden looked interesting.
Movies in London cost a staggering #8 ($13.50) during prime time. Don't
bother. Go before 5pm (or some have all day Mon. and Thurs. specials) and
pay only #3 or #4 (6.75). Leicester Square other major squares have the
big movie houses. I went to one in the Warner West End and although expensive
was an experience. There was sound proofing so it was very quiet and enhances
the sound (and the people were also quiet which is a change from around
here!), the sound system was great, and the seats cascade down so people's
heads don't get in your way.
The Prince Charles theature nearby shows new and second run films for
a measly #1.99 during prime time and #.99 for matinees.
Instead of coming attractions you will be treated to a string of commercials
for 10 minutes. At least that's one thing we do not have!
They get movies there later so if you missed something a few months
ago don't worry, it will be there.
See Time Out for listings of the independent repertory film houses.
They have high definition tv. We don't. Life sucks! :-)
Bung The Fob
I think this would make a great title for a British game show. Those wacky
Brits have all kinds of expressions and words foreign to American english.
Such as bung, fob, tot, and snog. Bung can be used many ways such as "Lets
bung that data into the computer." or "Why dont you bung over to the pub."
A fob is a knicknack of some sort, I think. Tot is "Why don't we tot on
over there." Snogging I saw used in an article about picking up women.