And The Rest

All that’s left from our three days in London are these random shots (click to enlarge) and stories.

NORTHERN SPAIN/SOUTHERN FRANCE. THE PYRENEES.
WALKING AROUND SOHO AND CHINATOWN.
SAN GERALDO (TELLING A FISH TALE?)
LUNCH AT BALAN’S SOHO SOCIETY.
OUTSIDE OUR SPLENDID HOTEL,
MONTCALM LONDON MARBLE ARCH.
ALARMING…
MARBLE ARCH. ONLY THE ROYAL FAMILY, THE KING’S TROOP,
AND ROYAL HORSE ARTILLERY CAN PASS THROUGH THE ARCH. NOT FAIR!
CROCHETED CORNER WINDOW AT SELFRIDGE’S.
THE DOWAGER DUCHESS WOULD HAVE LOVED THIS.
SAN GERALDO: “THEY HAVE BEER SOUP???”
ME: “NO… IT MEANS… OH, NEVER MIND.”

Our Kinky Boots

Saturday night, in honor of San Geraldo’s birthday, we saw the musical “Kinky Boots” at the Adelphi Theatre in London. The show opened on Broadway in 2013 and (this part was news to me) was based on a 2005 British film which was based on a true story.

Written by Harvey Fierstein, with music and lyrics by Cindi Lauper, Kinky Boots tells the tale of Charlie who inherits a failing shoe factory from his father and revives it by partnering with drag queen, Lola.

It was an energizing, hilarious, inspiring, and empowering theatrical experience. (Oh, and we loved it.)

LONDON’S KINKY BOOTS.
MY KINKY BOOTS.
SAN GERALDO’S KINKY BOOTS.

Mother Moon And San Geraldo

Cirque du Soleil’s show “Amaluna,” which means Mother Moon, was playing at the Royal Albert Hall and started at 8 Friday night.

In the morning, San Geraldo rushed me downstairs so we wouldn’t miss breakfast in the hotel restaurant. We then went to the British Museum after which I headed off on my own to visit the nearby department store Selfridge’s and walk in the cold and damp to get a closer look at Marble Arch.

When I got back, I had a couple of hours before I had to get ready. I decided to have a siesta. Before I knew it, San Geraldo was saying, “We’d better get moving. We’re going to be late for the show!”

I must have really slept. It felt to me like I had gotten into bed minutes earlier.

(Click the images; they get big.)

We took a taxi, in awful traffic, to The Royal Albert Hall. It was dead quiet outside, but the weather was miserable, so why would anyone linger?

Our door, Number 6, was locked. So, were Numbers 5 and 4. Number 3 was open. Our tickets were scanned and we went inside. The Royal Albert’s “halls” were empty. We headed to our door. There was no one there and it was locked. An usher came up behind us and asked politely, “Are you looking for a bar or restaurant?”

San Geraldo said, “No, we’re trying to get to our seats.”

“Oh,” the usher said with a smile, “Doors don’t open until 7:15.”

San Geraldo looked at his watch, “But it’s already 7:30…” was followed by an embarrassed, “Oops! I forgot to change to London time! I’ve been an hour off all day!”

But, it worked out well; the usher suggested we go downstairs to “Berry Bros. & Rudd No.3 Bar.” We had a great meal and relaxed for an hour.

TRYING TO GET A SHOT OF THE MASTER BARTENDER:
“HOW AM I IN THE PICTURE?” ASKS SAN GERALDO.
“THAT’S NOT YOU; IT’S ME,” I SAY.
“IS IT REALLY?”
“YES. YOU DON’T HAVE A BEARD AND YOU’RE NOT WEARING THIS SWEATER.”

The show was possibly my favorite of all the Cirque du Soleil shows. Seventy percent of the performers were women, which was a joy to see and a very powerful statement given these times we’re living in.

I ONLY TOOK PHOTOS BEFORE THE SHOW STARTED.
THIS IS THE VERY JEALOUS CHARACTER NAMED CALI. NICE TAIL.

The below video is long, but this is a performance that was also part of the show. Mesmerizing.

Hold Onto Your Hats

We went to the British Museum Friday morning. Neither of us had ever been there and we figured it would be a good thing to do on our first dreary, cold, rainy, snowy day in London. We took a very expensive taxi ride in awful traffic and once through “security,” we headed directly to the coatcheck.

ON OUR WAY TO THE SECURITY BOOTH. ONCE INSIDE…
GUARD: “DO YOU HAVE ANY SCISSORS OR KNIVES IN YOUR BAG?”
SAN GERALDO: “NO.”GUARD: “OK. YOU CAN GO IN.”
WELL, THAT DIDN’T MAKE US FEEL VERY SECURE.

As we began to hand over our outer garments, the woman behind the counter said, “It’s very cold in the museum today; you might want to keep your coats.”

We didn’t think that would be necessary and didn’t want to drag our coats all over the sprawling museum, so San Geraldo wore his hooded sweatshirt and, since I had three warm, fine layers of silk, cotton, and wool, I just held onto my scarf.

We froze! The Great Hall, of course, isn’t heated and it leads to many of the galleries, so the drafts were significant. We thought we’d have a snack, but the cafes around the Great Hall weren’t enclosed and the patrons shivered. We decided we’d have something in the restaurant upstairs but that was also open to the Great Hall and we saw hooded and even gloved diners trying to have a meal. So we explored the museum and went to a nearby pub for lunch.

Despite the cold, we loved the museum. (Click the images to make everything, including the Great Hall, greater.)

THE UNBELIEVABLY GRAND GREAT HALL.
THE OPPOSITE SIDE OF THE GREAT HALL.
LOOKING DOWN AT THE C-C-C-C-C-CAFE.
I WISH I HAD BOUGHT THIS BOOK.
SOME OF THE ELGIN MARBLES.
(THE ILLUSTRATION FOR THE PREVIOUS BOOK?)
APPRECIATING THE BEAUTY OF THE MUSEUM’S TILE FLOOR.
SAN GERALDO TOLD ME THAT, AT FIRST GLANCE AND AT AN ANGLE,
HE THOUGHT THE SIGN SAID “CLITORIS SHOP.”
DON’T GET EXCITED. IT’S NOT THE ORIGINAL FROM 450 B.C.
ONLY A 2ND-CENTURY ROMAN REPRODUCTION.
A GREAT BOOK DISPLAY.
THEY WOULDN’T SELL ME THE BOOK ON THE LEFT.
I JUST LOVED THIS ONE.

What A Glorious Feeling

Honey, we’re ho-ome!

We were supposed to be in London until Wednesday, for a total of 7 days. But, after two days, San Geraldo had had enough and asked if he could come home Sunday. He said I could stay in London if I wanted but I wouldn’t have enjoyed it without him. Besides, the weather was a lot more depressing than I thought it would be. We have clearly been spoiled by years in Mediterranean climates!

We did have an exceptional time while we were there. We simply should have planned a four-day instead of seven-day holiday. We returned home to rain. But rain and 15C (59F) is a lot easier to tolerate than rain and 2C (35F).

MARBLE ARCH, IN THE RAIN AND SNOW, AS VIEWED FROM A LONDON TAXI.

The photos and stories of London are still to come. Last night, we dropped our bags at home and went to Primavera for dinner. Tynan and Elena met us there. The walk home in the warmish pouring rain was a delight. Until, that is, San Geraldo jumped into a puddle and soaked me. Elena then jumped in a puddle and soaked San Geraldo, which distracted him from me. Kids!

(Click the images to increase the immaturity.)

THE PAVEMENT AND ROAD AS WE LEFT PRIMAVERA LAST NIGHT.
AT LEFT, TYNAN ACTING MISLEADINGLY MATURE.

Once Elena and San Geraldo had enough, Tynan began his rendition of “Singing in the Rain.” It would have been perfect [no it wouldn’t] had it not been for his rubber-soled shoes.