London's weather is perfect now, around 20 C, sometimes cloudy, sometimes sunny. I was at Oxford St & Marylebone St this afternoon and had a wonderful time window-shopping. Maybe it's good that the shoes I want are not available in my size and I'm in between sizes for the skirt I fell in love with. I've put back the weight I lost in Europe, can you believe it. Maybe I never lost any in the first place and it was just the difference in scales. Bummer. But that didn't stop me from eating the super sweet (but not very flavorsome) Pakistani mangoes, donut peaches (as they call them here), ice cream and sandwiches. I also seem to have a strange craving for fizzy drinks, something I don't usually drink. I think it's the human propensity for things that are forbidden.
I'm not able to put up any photos since there's no card reader here. My daughter'll arrive tomorrow night and that's when we'll paint London red:)) In Italy and Spain, the ladies were all in summer dresses and sandals and looked so carefree and pretty. Here some girls are wearing black leggings and sweaters. And they all look too pale. So different. We bought cheap 10 euros dresses and mine went into the washer last night and came out shrunk by half. I'm not too upset about that since I looked like a pregnant grandma in it. The preggy look has been in for too long. Bring back the waistline! And don't you just love jeggings with high heels. But at £170 a pair in Selfridges..I'll stick to my old jeans. I couldn't find D & G's lipstick in Italy but found them at Selfridges. Any one tried Tom Ford's new lipsticks yet? I saw a queue at LV in Selfridges. What's with LV and Asians?? At the Prada outlet in Florence, it was mostly the Koreans who were snapping up the bags. When I walked in, there was still a full-leather Prada bag but after one round around the store, it was gone. No offence but I think Dior, Lowe and Gucci have the ugliest bags. Is it Bond St where all the jewellers are? I've never seen diamonds as big as quail's eggs (almost) and they are all there. Big cities really are about materialism. It'll be hard to have much savings in big cities...
In the toss-up between Cambridge and Oxford for best place to visit, the travel guide books recommend Cambridge as the prettier city. I nearly went there today until I found out that the journey one way would take about 3 hours. I've had enough of bus rides! I am bummed to know that Cambridge is only 25 miles from Stansted Airport.
London's tube fares are the highest of any European city I've been to. Fare from Baker St to Willesden Green (6 stops?) is £2.30. That's a big rip off, Londoners. I can travel anywhere in Paris for 1.60 euros or was it 1.30 euros. Italy too.
Again, I am impressed by the many small green patches or parks that dot the city. In Italy, we looked for parks to eat our sandwiches and we couldn't find any. In fact, Italian cities are devoid of trees. In London, there are lots of greenery and pretty pots of colorful flowers hanging on lamp posts and windows. The thing missing is cobblestone which is what makes continental Europe so rustic and medieval-looking.
I'm also relieved I'm in a city where English is the language spoken. In fact, I'm enjoying it so much that I'm beginning to like the British accent, provided it's not too strong. Of the 3 countries I was in the last two weeks (Italy, Spain and France), Spain was the hardest for information and direction enquiries because the average Spanaird doesn't speak much English. The French speak good English (albeit very accented) and the Italians too. The Italians are extremely friendly to and appreciative of women. The English men don't seem to even look at women, the French men do but the Italian men openly ogle up and down, no shyness about their amorous nature.Oh, I finally met the rude French who fulfilled the Rude French Person stereotype that the non-French population has experienced. I'm kind of pleased I experienced the RFP or I'll be the only one among my friends to not have the experience . I was at the SNCF office in the train station in Marseilles and the queue was very very long. Took 40 minutes before my turn. When I asked to buy tickets to Genova, Italy, the French girl said crossly, rudely, "I don't speak English" (in a tone that sounded like it's my problem I can't speak French) and turned sideway to her computer and started working on it like I wasn't there. I was incredulous. What, is it my problem you don't speak English, you...that's what I would've liked to tell her but I waited a couple of seconds, not knowing how to deal with the situation and then I said loudly, lifting up my shoulders, palms up, "SO?" She turned back to me, still not smiling (I imagined slapping her silly), and said "Where you want to go?", Story short, she finally directed me to her colleague who was better educated and mannered. Somebody should tell her she's there to give service so she should learn some English and manners. But to be fair, I don't let one bad apple spoil everything because I've found the French to be very friendly and helpful and they never fail to greet you "Bonjour" and "Merci". The fact is there are rude people anywhere. But then again, you will never get that sort of treatment in Asia. If they can't speak English, Asians will apologize and find someone who does. That's the Asian way.
Btw, does anyone know where I can see some modern kitchen showrooms in London?