Sunday, September 16, 2001

Buying a Shirt in London

Well, I'm back. More on that later.

So after I posted the last entry, I went off in search of a new shirt. We had gone down Earl's Court to get mediocre tapas Thursday night, so I figured the commercial district there must also have a clothing store, right? I think in America I would have been OK -- in America, everybody sells t-shirts. "Try Our Mediocre Tapas" or some such. And at the very least, there would be an intermingling of stores. But no, in London, they specialize. I walked block after block, with the only thing even close being a women's clothing store. I stopped into a bookstore. I bet in the US, you could get t-shirts at Borders. But at the Waterstone's, no such luck.

Finally, I came to a store that looked like it might sell shirts. As I ducked inside, I gradually realized that it was a gay sex shop. I mean, the sign on the wall that said "sex shop" was one clue. Then the pictures of buff men was the other. And the shirts were just way too expensive. Especially for a style I was not going to wear more than once.

Finally, in desperation, I ducked into a Mailboxes, Etc. and asked where I could buy shirts. The guy suggested High Street Kensington, but said it was about a 20 minute walk, and it was 5:40. He wasn't sure if the stores closed at 6. Uh-oh. So I walked a block north, went to the Earl's Court Underground Station, and took it a stop to Kensington High Street. It was almost 6 when I got there (but my feet thanked me). And the tube stop led out right to a Marks & Spencer that was open 'til 8. Whew.

So I got a shirt much more my style, for a third the price. Good. Then I walked back to the hotel (should have taken the tube again), and met F for dinner. We went to a pub. It was the same pub I had fish & chips for lunch, but I thought I could avoid being repetitive by ordering the lasagna. No dice; they were out of the sauce. So I ended up ordering curry, the 4th time I had Indian food on this trip.(Hey, what am I going to eat? English food? Not unless it's breakfast.) Tip: if you order Indian food, order it from Indians, not Englishmen.

I got up early this morning for my flight. Everything was more or less normal. There were those men with guns. As with last year, I got the extra hassle treatment when checking in, only now everyone got it. And I got a quick frisk thrown in.

The flight back was reassuringly mundane, mostly. You know, cramped seating, Smelly Guy sitting next to me. We did have to circle New York for a while because, presumably, of air traffic delays. That allowed the captain excessive time to point out Manhattan to people on both sides of the plane. "It's still on fire; you can see the smoke covering the lower part of the island." I don't think it's still on fire.

When we landed, everybody clapped. Then the flight attendant said, "Welcome to America; God Bless America," and we all clapped again.

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