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Dizzying Intellect » 1999» August

carnival!

Stephen and I went to see “A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum” on Saturday night at Regent’s Park. It’s this theatre-in-the-park type thing, but it was nothing like I expected. It was really small and cozy. I expected to be sitting in a field, barely able to hear the actors, but it’s a little square stage with seats around it in a semicircle. The rows of seats are quite steep, so no one’s very far from the stage, and the the acoustics are wonderful. It’s mostly under a canopy of trees, so there’s no problem hearing anything. It was really nice. I expected it to be cool, but not that cool. The play itself was funny, and the singers were great, especially the guy who played Hero.

Yesterday, we went to the Notting Hill Carnival. I expected it to be rather like Mardi Gras, so of course it was nothing like it. There’s a predominantly Carribean theme, a lot of great music and dancing, and the costumes were gorgeous! I’ll put some pictures up when I get them developed. The music was much better then I remember it at Mardi Gras, in general, and they was no fire in this parade at all. There was always a lot of fire in New Orleans. The crowd wasn’t nearly as packed here, either. You could walk around without much trouble. The only time I’ve really spent in Notting Hill has been at Portobello, so it was really surreal to see it filled with thousands of revellers, instead of antiques. One of the floats was led by a troupe of people covered in black paint, and one of them shook my hand, and then painted black marks on my face, in a pattern. So I was quickly all black steaks up to my elbows, with warpaint. I don’t think the guys I was with thought that was nearly as cool as I did. I’m surrounded by vain people who want me to be something I’m not, as usual, but I had fun anyway. I’m never going to be a grown-up or a beauty queen or anyone else’s definition of cool, so they’ll just have to deal with the black paint instead. ;o)

We had dinner at this Thai place in Ealing that’s a cafe during the day. They didn’t have my favorite things, but the Thai waitstaff were all tickled that I knew what Drunken Noodles and Thai Iced Tea were. (No, they have neither in this country) They kept saying, “Did you live in Thailand? How do you know about these thing? They’re only in Thailand.” Even when I ordered the Kraprao chicken, they wanted to know how I knew how to pronounce it. Very weird. The owner said that Thai Iced Tea doesn’t sell here, because English people don’t like sweet drinks with dinner, but that he’d make Drunken Noodles for me next time, “when he’s drunken.” Silly.

touring

I went on this awesome tour last Sunday. I wanted to go to Bath, but most of the town is closed on Sunday, so there wasn’t a tour. I found one that went to Salisbury, Old Sarum, Stonehenge, and Avebury. I’d been to Stonehenge, but liked it enough to go back. Besides, I really just needed to get out of London. Salisbury was ok — we only saw the Salisbury Cathedral, but it’s the tallest church spire in England (with a definite list to one side) and holds one of the original copies of the Magna Carta. The Magna Carta was the most interesting part, really. There was an English translation, and there’s some weird stuff in there! Mostly good, but weird. Like widows no longer being forced to remarry against their will. Then we went to Old Sarum, which is this incredibly old castle-fortress. The original settlement was built in 3000BC, and it changed hands and design for the next 4500 years. It has this enormous ditch around it, enclosing super-high earth walls, which enclosed the fortress. The view from the top of those walls is simply spectacular. I climbed up to the highest walkway, and was totally blown away at the view. The ruins of the castle are really cool and peaceful, but that view was my favorite thing. Next we went to Stonehenge. I’d been there before, but it’s still awe-inspiring. It’s so peculiar that it just sits there on the side of the A303, like a fruit stand. But when you’re in it, you completely forget that you’re anywhere near civilization. Avebury was the best, though. It’s a stone circle like Stonehenge, but it’s so enormous that there’s a village in the middle of it. And there’s procession route, lined with monoliths, leading up to it. There are two huge stones at the head of it, which lay in the dead center of the strongest ley line in the world, and the tour guide gave us dowsing rods to play with around those two stones. Very cool. The funny thing was, as we were driving into town, I glanced over my shoulder, and there was a crop circle on the hill behind us. A bloody crop circle. It was so pretty and isolated. So a few of us took our dowsing rods and hiked up into the field to the crop circle. It was really intricate, and I kept having to convince myself that I was really walking around in it. You know, you see things like that in dodgy magazines, and never believe they’re real, and suddenly you’re in one. Strange world.

westward

I went to the States last weekend, just for a few days. It was hard to come back, but I’m already glad I did, somehow. I need to start travelling more. I’m going to go to Disneyworld Paris, but I also saw a sign the other day for return tickets to Prague for 100 pounds, so hopefully I’ll have a chance to do that too. And maybe Venice soon too. That’s what weekends are for, right? I’m just writing it down so I’ll convince myself to actually do it. I’m trying to save money to pay off all of my bills and buy a house, but I need to have fun too, dammit!

solar eclipse

There was a solar eclipse here today. We were at 97% totality in London. I couldn’t get to Cornwall, but it rained there, anyway. It was awesome! The sun was just this tiny sliver, and the quality of the light was amazing. I went to see one in Mexico a few years ago, but I had forgotten about that strange light. Very cool.

internet

My internet access has been terribly limited since I arrived in May. My email has been totally unusable. I could receive but not send at all. I finally got a hotmail account and have been using that a little, but couldn’t ftp at all, so my webpage has been totally un-updated for ages. But I got WH Smith’s internet service software on Tuesday, and I can actually ftp with it, so now I can write again. Yippee! Now all I have to do is remember to do it…