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Thursday, October 28, 2004 

SE1 and The Blitz

Last night I went back to the Rose to meet someone that never showed up. I decided to sit and have a pint anyway (had a hard day as my container of French onion soup and the plastic bag I had placed it in exploded in my book bag that morning, saturating all the contents: planner, wallet, digital camera, umbrella, map.) It was dead, except for these three old men sitting behind me. They were pissed beyond all reason and slurring their way through songs at the top of their voices. It was so delightfully British, I had to stay and absorb it. The bartender, Elena (one of those kinds of women who are so gorgeous it makes you nervous) started chatting me up. She was Brazilian and had moved to London a while ago. She said that these old men come in here quite frequently and do this each night! Whiskey and pints nonstop. She told me, "if you ever get a day off, come in here. During the day the youngest person in here is 80 years old!" So it's not a student bar, despite the proximity to the university, it's a geriatric bar!!

Then she told me about Joe, one of the old men. He told her he first moved to this neighborhood in 1942 and the only things there were this pub and a shop around the corner. Everything else had been destroyed in the Blitz. How surreal....

After that she talked about Brazil. She told me about going home for Christmas and New Years, where everyone dresses in white, then runs out to the beach and dances in the waves, after which they light hundreds of candles on the beach to make wishes for the new year. I had wanted to go home for Christmas, but after that story, I want to go to Brazil!

Oh. Fine. Go to Brazil. Just forget about your family in Maryland. We'll have a just fine Christmas without you. Have fun in the waves. Send a post card.

Wow--that does sound like a beautiful New Years tradition.

And being an american myself, I can't imagine what it would be like to have cities devastated like London was after the blitz.

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