Day #10: Tonight an earplug saved my life

Morning arrived just as it always does with honking horns and little children crying for their mothers. There is some sun but more clouds and it seems a likely day for more rest once I make it to the hostel. The hostel is a long ride from where I am. From Turnpike Lane in the East I have to get to Willesden Green in the West or Northwest. At this point I don’t know, but I do know it will likely take about an hour. I take the Piccadilly West and then get onto the Jubilee line. It is after rush hour and I am grateful because I don’t want to stare at the suits. Though on the whole I like the suits. I like the professionalism of the attire that is required of most London business people, which is something the casual Seattle lacks overall. I almost want to be one of the suits, but I haven’t been convinced to join London culture as of yet, perhaps I’ll just buy a suit once I get back.
After a long and relaxing ride with my pocket Sudoku and pen (okay, I was only playing easy) I make it to Willesden Green, which is about fifteen minutes out from central London. I at first am okay with this because it is very inexpensive to stay here, about $25 per night. At 10am it is quiet when I walk in. The halls are empty and the cleaning staff are about. Hillspring Lodge is much like a hotel and sells itself as a “backpackers boutique,” which upon first arrival seems to suit it. I situate myself in my beautiful four bed room. I am on the bottom bunk of one side and the beds are made out of wood. We have our own sink, though we must use shared bathrooms down the hall. I decide that I am much in need of a shower and find a private bathroom down the hall, which has a small bathtub. I am once again pleased.
On this lazy day I decide that I should make it to London and see more art. I decide on the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square because I haven’t yet been to this free attraction. It is busy just like every other part of London and so I purchase an audio tour just to block the other people out. I 100% recommend audio tours after this trip, not only to block noise, but also because there’s more information than is on the little placard next to the art. It gives a history and often amusing tales of the art. A few days before while at Tate Modern, an older petite French woman listening to a guided tour began to chortle and then hem and haw and it was quite a beautiful scene because she was literally standing in front of a piece of linen that had a cut in it. All in all the art didn’t look like much but a macheted linen, but she was almost reduced to holding herself up on her knees. People laughing is a lovely sight.
I enjoyed the art here for the most part, but then I came upon first a self portrait of Salvator Rosa, looking much like Johnny Depp’s pirate predecessor. He is holding up a paper that says, “Be quiet, unless your speech be better than silence” words to rest my mind on. He is so intriguing in the painting that I must see his artwork. Next to it is a painting called Witches at their Incantation. It is dark and concerning, but I cannot take my eyes from it. From this painting I have certainly fallen in love with Salvator, except for 400 years too late.
From here it is hard to imagine other artwork that can compare but I weave in and out of the other halls in search of greatness. Of course everything is great, just at the moment not as moving. Mostly I find that I am rather tired and it is once again hard to react to the art the way I want to besides yawning and getting cold stares from the staff. I decide after an hour and a half that I should make my way back to the hostel and nap. I haven’t not taken a good day off just to sleep for a while. Everyday I have walked and walked, even on my resting days. I decide that I must sleep so that I can be fully prepared for Nicole Larsen’s impending arrival and we can begin to party like rock stars. When I say party, I mean drink approximately two gin and tonics and dance for a good hour before sleeping. When I say two gin and tonics, I think about drinking two Mac n’ Jacks. Yes, I am thinking about another drink while drinking the one I have. Sigh, the grass is always greener.
I sleep from 6 until 8 and decide I should settle on some food before my full nights sleep lest I wake from hunger as has happened a few times on this trip. I venture through the Willesden Green area where I am happy to find an array of foods from Asyrian, to Japanese, to Indian. I have long been craving Indian and decide on it. I know that Indian will not suit my gluten/dairy free diet, but I decide that I am on vacation and there’s no time like the present to feel a little bit sick because at the very least, it won’t be all over someone I know.
I order some all time favorites, Chicken Tikka Masala and a small side dish of Sag Paneer over plain rice. Yes, I do order Naan. What the hell is Indian food without naan I ask you? It is not bad, but it is not great either. I forgot to order it spicy because spiciness has never been a problem in the states, but here it is very mild. The chicken tikka masala is actually quite good but it is a little sweet, as if there is some sugar in it. The sag paneer on the other hand is cheesier and a little more overcooked than I would have liked. I am happy to try it though. I was given a recommendation for another Indian place closer to central London, perhaps I will try that one before I leave to see if there is a marked difference. I at the very least leave mostly satisfied and head back to the hostel.
This is when I realize why the hostel is not so expensive. When I arrive there are large groups of children and teenagers filling the halls, running, and screaming. I realize that this hostel caters to large groups and I realize that this time my luck has run out. I am glad of the nap I had taken earlier in the day.
The noise does eventually die down and I relax in what is a very comfortable bed where two other hosteler’s have already fallen asleep. I don’t remember being as rambunctious and annoying as a child while on school trips, but… perhaps we were. Perhaps there really is no regard for other people when that young, or perhaps their chaperones should learn a thing or two about watching children.
Oh well, the night is peaceful except for the sound of the roaring elevator outside. Who the hell is taking the elevator up and down this time of night? This night some earplugs saved my life.

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One thought on “Day #10: Tonight an earplug saved my life

  1. February 6, 1945 (Part 1)This was a Russian front line job today. Spent over 5 hours in enemy territory. Take off was 6:55 and for 11 hours we flew like birds. The target was Chemnitz, but we decided to hit Cottebus so we hit Plowen. The target originally was Berlin. Landed at 5:45. We got up at 2:30. Flew no. 6 position of the lead squadron, flying with the 332nd in a 332nd ship 342 – a wreck. After take off I sweated – our no. 1 engine looked like it was afire underneath. Maybe the dark had something to do with it, but anyhow, I sweated it. Gas fumes were filling the waist and radio room. Scared so my knees were knocking. Perk was ready to bail out and Morganello wasn’t even sleeping. Just over the target, the ball caught fire. Flames were covering its top. I was staring sleepy-eyed out the window, when smoke started drifting past my nose. (To be continued)

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