Sunday, July 18, 2010


Yesterday was a pleasant and full London day. The hotel serves a full English breakfeast every morning, and I got some of that with labmate Josef and 2 colleagues from Barcelona. The four of us then walked quite far from our Strand Palace Hotel, through Trafalgar Square and Hyde Park, thus seeing numerous sights along the way, then walked around the museums of science and natural history before we had to head back to the hotel so they could get back to Barcelona.

I expressed to the cabbie, quite sincerely, how disappointed I was that they no longer made the incoming French trains go through Waterloo station. The only other time I went to London was 10 years ago, from Paris, with Chris Lohr. I noticed that train from Paris exited at Waterloo station, which just couldn't be a coincidence. And there's that Trafalgar Square I mentioned. But now the French trains go somewhere not named after a time the British kicked their asses. The cabbie agreed, and pointed out that the French could not elicit revenge, since there were no great French victories over the British. Right, I said. Rename it Agincourt Station or something, and there is nothing they can do in revenge. So this was fun, and we had great nationalist bonding (in front of an Austrian, Spaniard, and Venezuelan living in Barcelona). Small world.

I hit the local gym, then Josef and I were entertained by Stomp! This was a fun show, although my seat at the Ambassador Theater had literally less legroom than a United flight. I know, cause I have a lot of experience with that hated knee-gouging wall, and will gain a lot more during my most odious upcoming flight to Frankfurt then Denver then Montrose, which departs in about 4 hours.

We then went to the icebar, which is indeed made of ice and kept quite cold. They serve Absolut drinks there in little ice cups. Good fun. New. Pictures later. I was then planning to get some local Moroccan food, after telling Josef how good tajine can be, but we ended up meeting some locals, some of whom were Italians (Europe is a melting pot too). When they said they were going for good Italian food and invited us, we figured a plan change was in order. Good call. Rossopomodoro has particularly good pizza. And, more importantly, quality conversation with good people. As I said, hard to find novelty in your live entertainment, and thus all the more enjoyable when you find it for free, through good company. Viva flaneur.

And now off to return to America. The last time I was there, I enjoyed it, but it was ungodly cloudy in San Diego. I remember talking with the grad coordinator of my old cog sci department at UC San Diego (Beverley Walton, herself from this emerald isle), as she commented that she never saw a "June gloom" like this. Further adding to proof of the imminent apocalypse: I just enjoyed 5 days of fairly good London weather. Great temperatue, not humid, no threat of rain, even the odd speck of sun. Eerie. I hope Colorado doesn't freeze in the summer or rain blood or anything. At least, not until after I finisn hiking.

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