Whither Must I Wander


Gotta Leave Here, Get On With My Lonely Life

Back from Paris and completely exhausted, we collapsed once again in Tara & Sarah's flat. My friends Jax and Dana whom I hadn't seen in ages were also in London at the same time so there were some bizarre reunions to be had. If only if we met all our old friends in London. As we had to ration our time but use up our train passes, we took a day trip to Brighton. Before the trip, The Pants had never seen the ocean, or sea as we were told to call it, and Brighton was perfect for another seaside excursion. We dutifully attended the Royal Pavilion of George IV, a gorgeous Oriental palace and the only building of its kind in England. I was particularly interested as I studied a lot of late 18th/early 19th century history in University. (Side note: It occurs to me that a lot of film versions of important British historical events star Rupert Everett, so as I took the walking tour of the Pavillion and the guide mentioned George IV, I kept imagining him as that saucy rouge Rupert. I really hope I'm not the only one.) No inside pictures in the Pavillion, though. They were pretty strict.

Like most tourist towns, Brighton was laid-back and full of great stores. Apparently it's known as the San Francisco of Britain, and there was no shortage of guys with funky hair. My favorite was the dude with the green goatee. During the trip I discovered a have a knack for sniffing out Lush stores. Seriously. It was confirmed in Brighton when I caught a whiff of essential oils and boldly declared “There must be a Lush shop nearby”. The Pants rolled her eyes, but two blocks up and around the corner was the familiar green and yellow sign. This happened on three other occasions. So, uh, if you’re, um, looking for a Lush shop, give me a call…? Ah yes, another useless skill.

We also found an excellent record shop in Brighton staffed by the jolliest old man who rattled off a surprising amount of information when we bought a Jeff Buckley album for one of our brothers. Well done, sir. And The Pants purchased her third, count it, third, copy of “Is This It?”, this time on vinyl. I imagine that my sister is responsible for funding Julian Casablancas’s sneaker collection.

Our feet on the pebbly, briny beach. The Pants's feet look particularly mangled and band-aid covered, and they were. I'd like to think that'll teach her to buy pretty new shoes too small and wear them everywhere, but it won't. The sea smelled strongly of fish, which I'd never noticed at any other shores, but you get used to it.

Our next to last day we hit Camden Town. Camden Market wasn’t as crazy busy as Portobello, but I enjoyed the endless array of thigh-high lace up patent leather boots and flimsy vinyl basques. (Apparently that’s the Brit term for bustier, not a reference to the people in northern Spain, in case you'd make that grevious error.) Next Halloween, watch out! Hmm. Geez, I can’t even kid about that without feeling slightly ill.

They did have other good stuff not in the S&M category, though. I found excellent earrings for 2 CAD and dirt cheap pashminas in a veritable rainbow of colors. And I don’t care if pashminas are out, they’re comfy. The Koko theatre in Camden would also feature in this post if I had gotten my crap together. We were supposed to see The Shins whilst in London and were tres excited. But tickets were never available online, and then a few days before the show it said they were sold out. What the heck? And being that I was with a minor it would most likely have involved me having a good time and The Pants chatting it up with the homeless Camden folk. So we were despondent. And don't even get me started on the Radiohead debacle. Suffice it to say, the UK was a wasteland of missed live music. But we soldiered on. Later that evening, I saw Thandie Newton outside the Baker Street tube station.

No, we did not make it to Florence. Our last day we went to Harrod's and ogled the food hall and then to the Victoria & Albert Museum. One room was entitled 'Cast Court' so we went inside to investigate. Imagine our shock to see the above statue towering over us. Turns out that the European royals liked to make plaster casts of famous works of art to keep in their courts, hence the name of the room. It was full of enormous Roman columns, crypts and statues, just in cast form, though. But that David is pretty convincing, hey?

More furtive snapshots. This is a Rafael, in a gigantic room with 11 others. The painting is easily 30 ft. x 50 ft. It's an awful shot, I know, but the lights were incredibly dim to protect the paintings and I just had to rebel and use that handy 'museum mode' on my camera.

A frantic dash to Heathrow, one extra suitcase that I 'packed myself' and nine long hours later we landed at YYC. Home again, home again. Exhausted, sick of each other and desperately craving that dry Alberta air.

To sum up my thoughts on this entire experience: while in Galway, I think it was, we were browsing through a used bookshop and I came across a book of poetry by Dorothy Parker. I flipped it open and the first lines I read were:

"Why is it, when I am in Rome,
I'd give an eye to be at home,
But when on native earth I be,
My soul is sick for Italy?"

This made me laugh out loud. While I had an amazing time, I was so looking forward to going home, but the next day wanted nothing more than to be back in Paris or London. Ol' D. P. hit it square on the nose.

Well, thanks for reading along, folks. I've enjoyed this blog experience, as scattered as it was, and may dabble again. More upheaval coming my way in the form of moving and new jobs and new callings (yikes!) but I suppose we all need change. But do I really need so much at once? Anyway, maybe I'll see you in Seattle over the Labour Day weekend. On behalf of myself and The Pants, thanks again.


  • M- I have enjoyed immensely living vicariously through you via this blog...do travel more!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:55 AM  

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