Day #5: It’s sun o’clock

I awoke at 7, not because I wanted to, but because the sun was up and I thought it was near 10. None of my clocks had been set to the correct time and my understanding was that it was sometime after night time and so I decided to get up. Once it’s officially not night time any longer and you’ve up and abouted yourself, it seems fairly pointless to try to fall asleep again in a hostel because soon there will be footsteps and thumps as peoples bags zip shut and fall into walls with their weight.
Everyone has a heavy bag that barely closes and has a hard time fitting in their luggage locker beneath the bed. Mine is on the verge of making an extra lump in my bed and causing me Princess and the Pea syndrome. I am on the side of perhaps I should just chuck some clothes, but can’t seem to find my way to it yet. I packed just slightly too much, but enough that I can’t actually acquire anything more, which is limiting. I am now thinking of just buying and posting things to the US so I have presents to come home to since no one seems to be sending presents my way these days.
The point of this is that I got up at 7 and decided that I would walk where the streets of London take me. It was quite a crisp and beautiful day outside. The sun had been shining everyday since arrival and could not be put out by any gloomy gus’s walking around. London on a Saturday morning was quiet. Most things were still shut and dark, but it made wondering peaceful and pictures easy. I did not have to fight with the crowds that would later be New Years Eve in Seattle large, but… this is any old day in London.
I didn’t begin this trip thinking that I would walk until my legs gave out. Until I was panting in the streets like a dog in… a really bad cardigan, you know those terrible ones that owners buy for their dogs to make them look like they are some kind of Yale Doggie Grad? I walked down Holborn and found an alleyway that was quiet and had pipes of steam filling the street. It was a perfect scene that deserved to be captured by more than my camera, so I’ve remembered it, though I’m sure this memory will go bad.
Side note: There’s a really great radiolab on memory if you ever get the chance to listen to it about how memories actually go bad once you start to use them. When I say go bad, I mostly mean that you are going to alter or change it somehow just by bringing it up. You’ll insert colors and fabrics and sayings that likely weren’t there, they will sound good, but my friend… they will be wrong. My best advice, if there’s a really important memory you want to hold onto, just don’t ever bring it up. Keep it to yourself, then you and no one else can fuck with it and when you die… it’ll be perfectly preserved just like your cold dead body. End note.
I made my way over to the London Bridge and Tower Bridge, because one has to make her way over the bridges or else she hasn’t visited London. I wanted to be able to say that I had been here and so I took the obligatory pictures. Actually, I took about twenty pictures after that as well because truly, the bridges here are beautiful (except for the millenium bridge, which is kind of an eye sore – actually I think most millennial things turned out as a blight upon our civilization, but we’ll discuss that more later).
After the bridges I made my way, not a great distance, but a distance none-the-less to the Tower of London. I honestly didn’t know much about the tower other than people had been held and executed there. I think that’s really the only thing one must know to be utterly enveloped in the story of the Tower. Who doesn’t have the urge to flock to a place where beheadings took place? Our morbid curiosity always gets the better of us. When we say how could they do that? We mean, how can I get a glimpse of what that was like? The tales of the tower are gruesome, but fascinating. I mostly came to see the place where Anne Boleyn was held and summarily executed, but the crown jewels were there and so of course I took a little looksie.
I don’t care about the crown jewels. That’s what I learned about my trip through the holdings. I could give less than a damn about what is on a crown and what kind of serve ware people had. What did interest me was seeing video of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation. Getting a glimpse of her young, handsome self piqued my curiosity on the royal family much more than it had been. I had to see more pictures, I had to see Queen Elizabeth. I stared at a life size portrait of her for a few minutes, into the motionless eyes that still followed me around the room. I think I would be utterly obsessed with the Royal Family if I lived here and am grateful that I don’t.
After a good tour and a few hours of the Tower it was time to explore the city and so I walked East. Yes East always goes somewhere good because it means you’re “movin’ on up” right? I walked and walked and walked and… you know where I’m going with that right. I was just not sitting. My camera has now left a mark on the part of my stomach that it falls on and crashes into when I am forgetting to hold it. On this part of the walk I am looking for anything that maybe is a “wonder” of London, but all I continue to see and will see I’m sure are more HSBC’s. I have decided that HSBC owns the entirety of London and will likely turn the city into a giant credit card. Beware Londoner’s is all I have to say.
Eventually I make it to a side street in hopes of returning to Holborn and run into a Londoner that stops me on the street to find out if I’m lost. And while technically I am a little lost I would never let a stranger know that. I would much more likely take a strange drink than do such a thing. I run into a guy named Chris that’s just leaving a worksite and offers to show me around the city. Apparently my camera has led him to believe I need help on a tour of the city. He is a nice guy and we walk for a few minutes and talk about the area. I have run into Shoreditch, a quaint artsy area of London that is right next to the Universities. I become excited when I see graffiti covering walls around the area and realize that this is the neighborhood for me. The bars have eccentric people hanging from their doors and art and music is everywhere. I haven’t been in Shoreditch long, but know that I love it.
Chris makes me take a picture of him before leaving. “Why you takin’ peekchas of all that and none ah me?” I took a couple of pictures to please him, though none turned out well. I told him I would give him a call and went about my way because false promises can help people disappear faster (sometimes).
Eventually I was very lost and my body screamed for forgiveness and said it would be nice to me if I would just stop the torture, stop what had once been a perfectly lovely walk. I found myself looking for the tube. Being mapless in London hasn’t posed much of a problem, but when looking for the tube to secure a rest it can seem daunting without one. Eventually, after much walking and more peekchas I found the Northern Line and felt relief. I decided to take a look at my bodybugg for a consultation on why I was so tired and got confirmation.
Walked: 5 hours Calories Burned: 3800 Steps: 29,000. Seeing the numbers made me almost immediately ache even more intensely, I just needed to make it back to the hostel and I would survive.
On day 5, by 10pm I realized I couldn’t go out once again. There’s no such thing as a second wind for me on a day like that because at that point I was on eighth wind mode and the only thing that comes at the end of an eighth wind is a car wreck because it’s blown you into the side of a tree stump. I don’t care though. My priority here is not going out because the only thing that’s ever done is get me into more trouble than anticipated.
Soon I will drink and dance, but in the meantime sleep says, “nice to meet you, wanna come home with me?” And that sounds much better than anything that could ever happen in a bar anyhow.

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One thought on “Day #5: It’s sun o’clock

  1. December 2, 1944Well, today I like. If more missions were like today, it wouldn’t be bad, but then the war likely would. Our target was Koblenz. We just got to the I.P. and were recalled. We got credit for a mission. Time 5 hours. 32 degrees below. Altitude 22,000.December 11, 1944So we go to Koblenz again. Hope the place holds out. It’s a nice place to go when one has to go, and we have to go. No flak at all today. Time is 8 hours. We came across France at 500 feet on our return. Gazing at the trenches, foxholes, and bomb craters with eyeballs hanging out. December 12, 1944We went on a practice mission to the front lines today and as the fog was thick, landed near Oxford at Fishhead. Stayed in R.C. in Oxford on a pass. Returned 14th.December 23 ,1944There seems to be a little activity on the front, and we have been aching to do something about it. Our target today was Kaiserslautern. It was an easy mission as far as flak went, but we ran into fighters. Scared us, huh! Time was 7 hours. Altitude was 27,000. It was °a mere 46 ° below.December 24, 1944The trip is to Bobenhausen this morning. It took us 8 ½ hours. Well, the frost is making Christmas a white one. Wonder how many will be here to greet it. Also the runway is icing up. Near the target the group ahead of us ran into fighters. Eighteen planes (forts & 51’s) were shot down in flames. The day was clear and we could follow the balls of fire all the way to the ground. Some exploded when they hit. One fort exploded in air and rained down in little flaming pieces. I never saw any ‘chutes. The Germans never got away, though. Over our field three groups were trying to land, and it was just dusk. Two forts ran together in the air so that it lit up the sky. Altitude was 22,000. 22 ° below. Two 51’s also ran together. The biggest surprise was I got four packages.

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