Sunday, January 29, 2006 


Sometimes the best thing about living abroad, especially in a city as international as London, is all the other, non-British people I am lucky to interact with at times. It's an added bonus I never expected.

My nice quiet weekend morning breakfast routine was interrupted today by my SCREAMING, JUMPING, YELLING, OHMYGOD OHMYGOD OHMYGOD Cypriot flatmate. I must say, you really haven't watched final round Grand Slam tennis until you've watched it with a Cypriot cheering on a fellow Cypriot from her hometown.

I guess I just don't know what it's like. As far as America goes, our athletic representatives usually do quite well. After all, the richest nation in the world can make it relatively (and I said relatively before you all start jumping down my throat) easy for us, with funding and facilities made of an athlete's dreams. And as for the professional sports, we've quite obviously set it up so that we'd never have to fail against our foreign counterparts.... by never playing them. Seriously, if the World Series of baseball actually included teams from other parts of the world (aside from one measly Canadian team) we'd be put in our sorry ass places. Hell, just add Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Cuba, and the USA would never again win a WS.

It goes hand in hand with thinking you're the center of the universe. What Lance Armstrong did was amazing, but most Americans, myself included, didn't have a reaction beyond, "gee, that's nice."

Not that I don't know the horrid heartbreak of losing. My favorite teams (Redskins, Orioles, Capitals, NC State) are collectively awful, and aside from a few moments of glory, generally out-and-out suck. So I was excited for my flatmate, and felt quite bad when the expected took place, and Federer did his thing. Good match though.

Friday, January 27, 2006 


London is freezing. You know it's too damn cold when I won't even go to the store round the corner, and am forced to purchase milk out of my building's vending machine:

I've never in my life seen this before. And it tastes funny. "UTH" appears to stand for "Ultra Heat Treated" but I think it stands for "pasteUrized all To Hell."

Wednesday, January 25, 2006 


My favorite eBay Thames Whale auctions:

The famous watering can


Coke can (do read this description for all the laughs.)

Whale email

Saturday, January 21, 2006 

Requiescat in Pace

I'm horribly distraught. The Thames whale, or Beachy as I call him, has died. I went in search of him today. I walked for about an hour and a half from Waterloo Station, south of the river (much trickier than on the north side of the Thames, no silver jubilee path here, had to walk all the way round the Battersea Power Station and then through Battersea Park) and finally found him east of Battersea Bridge.

There were obviously two stories at play here. The first I noticed were the massive crowds and huge media coverage. Thousands of people had turned out to check up on this whale:

I actually ran into someone I knew, basically confirming my thought that practically everyone in London had turned out.

But of course we'd all come to see Beachy. It was obviously stuck on land when I showed up. I managed to jockey for a good spot:

I was pretty impressed with Beachy's spirit. He appeared to be perfectly aware of what was going on, and of not liking it one bit. They eventually wiggled a harness under him, which inflated to try and support him.

So I'm extremely sad that he has died. What a trooper. But I guess it wasn't meant to be.

While seeing a whale in the wild for the first time was really exciting, my encounter with a Jamaican man was equally amusing. We happened to find ourselves next to each other in the crowd and exchanged some minor formalities about Beachy. After a few minutes of watching them struggle with the whale he leaned over and said, "Now I hate America, but if this were in America they'd of gotten him out by now."

Shall I repeat that?

Jamaican Man: Now I hate America, but if this were in America they'd of gotten him out by now.
Me: Uh.... Yes maybe. But this has never happened before here, so they probably don't have the right equipment and training so they're probably just trying to jimmy together what they can....
JM: *Silence*..... Oh shit, are you American?

He turned out to be pretty lovely, and actually just hates George Bush. A lot of foreigners do this to me; lump me in with him. I understand why they do it, but it still rattles me. We quickly turned to baseball, and he told me about playing WWII service men in Jamaica. He was a pitcher. Emotionally drained by an hour and a half in the cold with little progress for Beachy, I head back home, passed out and woke up to the news. Poor guy. I'll miss him and all his drama.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006 


Is that burgundy and gold I see on the London Eye?

I do believe London is rooting for the Redskins in the playoffs!!

Saturday, January 07, 2006 


Yesterday I was feeling a little nauseous. I thought it was from the nasty flight, lack of sleep, and disruption in my feeding schedule. Today I am violently ill and bedridden. Have no idea what is going on but if it keeps up at this pace, I may very well have my first NHS A&E experience before too long.

Something, however, has kept me mildly amused throughout the day. Channel Two has been broadcasting competitive darts almost all day. Yes, I typed that correctly: darts. Yes, darts. Yes, that activity where you throw sharp things at a corkboard and keep score. (#45.)

American's have an abundance of professional league sports, too many for us to watch and keep track of I think: basketball, football, baseball, hockey, soccer. Throw in college and women leagues and have nearly unlimited options. The British seem to have a special fondness for what I would call, "bar sports," like pool and snooker. American's do not broadcast hours of snooker on the weekends..... Well, we do have bowling and that is lame, I will admit.

This is hilarious. Two men throw darts, start with 501 points, and the first to get down to exactly zero wins. There are announcers, commentators, spectators (with signs!!), split camera screens, and slo-mo instant replay! Of a guy throwing a dart! Oof, my tummy hurts when I laugh.

Friday, January 06, 2006 


I'm so jetlagged I can barely type, but I'm back in London!! Safe and sound, despite so much turbulence I couldn't sleep for one second on a red-eye flight, so I'm going to bed now. More tomorro..... zzzzzz....

Cool chick

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