From 30K feet, the Isle is green and bumpy as if someone vomited upon the Atlantic. Five hundred years ago, the British Royal Navy patrolled these waters and made its fortune controlling shipping lanes to Europe. Today, the articulate bastards have a hard time getting people to come for a holiday. One gets that sense that London bought its food, its dental care and its weather from the same shitty store. The grey is just there, sticky, cobweb-ish, like a collegiate hangover.
Travel is by Tube, the Legoland-like train set that winds its way underground and plays host to thousands of silent and unfriendly-smelling Londoners, along with myriad other nationalities in what apparently serves as Europe’s melting pot. In England, very little English is spoken. Piccadilly Square represents the starting point for the River Walk, a few-hour stroll along the Thames to witness Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, The Tower of London, and Shakespeare’s Globe Theater – a standing room only outdoor venue where Alls Well That Ends Well always ends well.
But let’s get to it, eh? I’m at Wimbledon this week. Three days in, there is nothing but rain. Wet grass makes for terrible perfume. I’m seated sub-tent, with 200 players and coaches from around the world waiting for a break in the weather. Impromptu poker games, obsessive facebook checking, and the intermittent review of Eckart Tolle’s the Power of Now abound. Food service is fairly representative of English cuisine, evidenced by the disgusted scowls of Japanese women, the pouty French faces, and the Americans who choose to launch fish and chips across the lunchroom – presumably aimed for the Middle Easterners in an obvious political gesture intended to create competitive dissonance.
Last night we dined at an Italian restaurant where the pizza-maker was from my family’s hometown in Italy. I am disappointed to report, common ancestry does not beget free meals. Alas, the rain is breaking. Off to visit the Palace.