I am...a New Yorker

[Previous entry: "in Love with London"]

Tuesday, May 27, 2003
Lost in London

With an old Beefeater

I am...on an "advance" trip -- I always do that before I move somewhere, just to be sure the instinct is right. Don't think I could do London long term, though, damn Tube stops at 12, but is otherwise great. I sent my semester abroad application as I left for the airport Friday night. About 8 months from now, I'll be in London for a few months.

Carl informed me that London has more interracial couples than any other city. It's true, must be 1 in 4
couples. First thing I saw when I got on the Piccadily line from the airport was a black woman whose husband was white and their newborn. You don't see that in the states much. The distribution here is more even, which I think indicates random chance more than the pattern in the states, which indicates to me a particularly ugly side of the beauty myth. Partly pedophilia, IMHO.

I tried to explain that to K recently, but he ended up practically accusing me of being racist for observing that most interracial couples in the states are black male/white woman or white male/asian woman. Carl, on the other hand, knew exactly what I was talking about. It's fetishism, clearly, when the numbers being so slanted into only a couple of combinations. That shows me it isn't just a question of true lurve.

I've grown weary of the weird, racist assumptions of Americans...that whole thing of guys telling me they'll fuck a black woman, but never marry one (and, of course, there's no such thing as biracial when one side is black, so they told me this quite pointedly). The same guys will go for someone Asian, who barely speaks English and is not a citizen, without a second thought. It makes me feel like a stranger and rather unwelcome in my own country.

Not to romanticize London, for I only know it briefly and superficially. However, I think America is largely about denial and one of the conflicts I have so frequently is that I make people question things they don't want to question, so I'm perceived as a problem (when I'm merely holding up a mirror and asking why something is so). Few people take it as an opportunity to learn, which is a shame, since that's what writing and I am all about, right? I do it to learn and to teach.

I was going to Paris or Amsterdam tonight, but didn't book in time (was told I had until 10 pm last night, but not that I needed to do it 48 hours in advance). So, that only leaves 1 day for one of those cities and 2 in the other and I couldn't decide between the two. Sure, just Paris would be nice, but I want to see the Anne Frank house and uh, definately hit a coffeehouse in Amsterdam.

I have to plot out what I want to see in those places tonight, as well as the last day in London. The ticket was only about $120, I think...exchange rate is screwing me up, and I'll save 2 nights accomodation by taking overnight buses. Then, funds permitting, I'll see my friend Fil in Manchester. If I had another day or two, I'd take a ferry to Dublin from there. It's going to be a bit rushed, but I
wanted to save my vacation days to go see mom and the boy later this summer. I am already planning my next trip here, though.

Oddly enough, it looks like Carl will move to NY by the time I'm here or a non-English speaking country. I don't think I realized quite how much it meant to have a friendly face on the other end in a foreign land until I got here and there he was in front of the Tube station and I knew I'd be somewhat taken care of the first day or two, until I got my bearings. Can't imagine what Paris will be like, with the
language thing thrown in as well.

Saturday was so insane, I told Carl he won't be able to keep that up once he's 30! Out til dawn, not a better way to spend the first day in a new city. The hookah place was entirely different than the place I'd been before, from the bright lights to the hookahs themselves. I have to go back to Karma now to see how theirs worked and explain it to Carl.

Man, this hostel is full of loud, ugly Americans and rowdy Aussies. Carl was so embarrassed when a bunch of drunken Aussies started singing the national anthem when we were coming out of the Tube last night. Oh! Saw a bunch of guys mooning on a double decker tour bus (open deck).

Yesterday, I saw Harrod's, including smaltzy Dodi/Diana memorial in the basement, Kensington Palace (but with scaffolds), and Carl took my pic crossing Abbey Road (the wrong way), which is for my mom. We went to the Victoria and Albert most briefly and debated the merits of death by jewel-encrusted sword, then the Natural History museum, then the Science Museum, which seemed to make all
children cry! So many cute kids everywhere, that's dangerous for a woman my age. I gotta have one of those one of these days.

Since I have an extra day, I should be able to get to Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace tomorrow, then a couple of other cathedrals, churches and a cemetary (always go to a cemetary in every tow) as well as backtracking to other places to take B&W photos, I've mostly taken digital, but alas Carl doesn't have a PC card slot, so I cannot share the photos before I get back.

I'm rambling, but jeez it's fun. Haven't had a vacation in 3 years and this was sorely needed after working so hard in so many ways and scrimping so much the last year (and will spend the summer giving virtual BJs to pay back other bills), I needed a reward. I can buckle down again after the trip. But I swear, next long weekend and I'm back. Jewish holidays are coming up soon enough!

[Next entry: "Not so Lost"]
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