It’s been a long December and there’s reason to believe maybe this year will be better than the last
Not that it’s really been a bad year. Hell, I made it out to Costa Rica, China, and North Korea, so 2009 was quite fantastic. Except for one slight, uh, problem. A few weeks ago I was laid off from my job and am now unemployed. But more on that later, because I have to run away to Europe for about three weeks.
In a few hours I’m off to Dulles airport, where I will board a plane bound for London and then hop another flight to Berlin. My family and I will be in Berlin for a few days, then take the train to Prague, spend a few days there, and then travel to Vienna. I’ve never been to Berlin or Vienna and am very much looking forward to finally seeing these two cities. And of course, Prague is a lovely place with copious amounts of beer and dumplings. I will also be spending a week in London to catch up with old friends and wander around a city I haven’t spent a proper amount of time in since 2005.
I’ll be back in 2010, with plenty of photos and blog entries. At least now I actually have time to write them.
Via Transport for London comes this new ad campaign regarding the dangers of illegal cabs. Now if only DC had a competent agency like TFL to regulate cabs I might be willing to take them more often. London cabbies are truly the best in the world.
The European Parliament voted to allow the continued use of the pint and the mile on Tuesday, sparing British drinkers from having to order half liters and Irish drivers from staying below 110 kilometers an hour. Before the measure passed, Britain and Ireland, the only European countries still widely using British imperial units of measurement, were required to set dates for scrapping them next year. The vote in Strasbourg, France, also allows shops to post imperial and metric measurements side by side.
“We’re back to where we started, with the government bailing out the banks and everybody reusing their teabags.”
My friend India Knight, a columnist for The Sunday Times, joined me. “It’s quite nice,” she said. “A bit like the Blitz. A bit of decadence in the dark, you know?”
“Socialism is bursting out all over,” I said.
“I know,” said India. “Greed is not good.”
The restaurants in Primrose Hill were looking pretty but empty. The men finished their coffee and shrugged as they left. “Good luck,” one said to the cafe owner. “Things are going to be very tough.”
Another old friend turned up with cigarettes for everybody. “It’s amazing,” he said, with an observation about the glistening financial center on the Thames. “It looks as if Canary Wharf is going back to what it was — the Isle of Dogs.”
Not much fun, are you, Boris? But I will admit that he has an awesome first name. And how can you not love the guy’s hairstyle?
London’s new mayor, Boris Johnson, left, said that he was banning alcohol on the city’s public transportation system, effective next month, in an effort to “end the problem of drunken and intimidating behavior on the Tube.” Some subway workers said they welcomed the move as a way to change the unpleasant late-night atmosphere in the subways. But Bob Crow, general secretary of the union representing transportation employees, said the plan had been put into place too hastily and would be difficult to enforce. “Perhaps the mayor will come out with his underpants on over his trousers like Superman one Saturday to show us how it should be done,” he told Agence France-Presse.
When I first moved to the UK, I was pretty shocked to see people eating fast food and downing cans of beer on the Tube. It was a big change from the DC metro system, where they arrest 12 year olds for eating french fries in the stations.
Yeah, these photos are over two years old (September ’05) and I just got around to uploading them. I’ve only got 100+ more to go.
These were all taken during my last week in London, when I decided to make one more quick visit to some of the sights in the city.
Buckingham Palace, view from the backyard
As to be expected, the Queen has a ridiculously large backyard
Hanging out in the palace backyard after tea with Lizzie.
A royal swan in Round Pond, Kensington Gardens.
I didn’t want to get to close to the swans as they might recognize me from previous “incidents” and maul me, or something.
Tributes to Princess Diana on the gates of Kensington Palace, her former residence
Last night in the old ‘hood
It’s Guy Fawkes Night, that brilliant British celebration involving bonfires, fireworks, and alcohol. Admittedly, I was a bit disappointed that, while attending Bonfire Night festivities in 2004, there was no effigy of Guy Fawkes. I mean, seriously, what’s the point?
Sadly, Fawkes’s hometown, York, no longer holds a Bonfire Night. Afraid of lawsuits, or whatev.
A future NFL champion may someday be crowned overseas in a game witnessed predominantly by a foreign audience, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said.
“There’s a great deal of interest in holding a Super Bowl in London,” Goodell told reporters Monday. “So we’ll be looking at that.”