When the Clouds (Sort of) Cleared, OR TV, Tesco, and Touristy Pursuits

I’m going to be completely honest: I love doing cheesy tourist things. I love posing next to a red telephone booth, making sure I get a double-decker bus in the frame as I take a shot of a road, taking pictures of food I wouldn’t normally see in the US, geeking out in a decent gift shop, etc. Judge me if you’d like, but not a single fuck will be given.

As soon as last week’s rain cleared up, I took a precious one-day window of relatively dry weather to amble down to the corner of Hyde Park, where Knightsbridge meets the City of Westminster. (Though I absentmindedly forgot to actually, you know, visit Hyde Park.)

Wellington Arch. It costs £4 to take the elevator to the top, so naturally, I didn’t do it. #poorcollegestudent

Buckingham Palace gates.

Buckingham Palace.

Knightsbridge.

Harrods, Knightsbridge.

Harrods is like a playground. For serious. Especially if you like candy, which I didn’t know I was into until I saw all of this:

adslfkjsdlkf; keyboard smashing

Some of it can be enjoyed for roughly £120 a kilogram, which converts to $88 a pound. If we assume that each chocolate is about half an ounce (as per the approximate Godiva standard), then a pound of chocolate = 32 pieces, and therefore each of these Harrods chocolates turns out to be about three bucks. Which is practically criminal and makes their £2.50-for-8-pieces Turkish delight offerings sound like a great deal. (I tried that shit. It was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever consumed.)

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In other news: 

Looking around a Tesco store, it appears that the British really, really want to remind you of just how British their products are. A box of apples is printed with giant Union Jacks on all four sides, a bag of Walkers chips boasts that they are made from 100% British potatoes, and a variety of bottled water brands will try to convince you — via the slim band of plastic around its middle — that they were filled at a (very British) source just a couple hours outside London.

Are we as enthusiastic about American foods in the US? Products, yes — I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a carved wooden chair at a countryside store in the Hill Country with a red, white and blue sign declaring MADE IN AMURRICA right next to it (Texan accent implied). But food? I’ve seen bottled water from Vermont, I guess, and fruit from California, but the divisions are by state rather than nation, and as far as I can remember, it’s less common to see American flags and “USA! USA! USA!” all over food in the States than it is to see declarations of Britishness across the pond.

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I am caught up with Downton Abbey. This is monumental, considering that I watched the first two seasons over the span of an entire year. But because I am now caught up with British TV, I may or may not actually be caught up with my school readings. Hmm.

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A fire drill at 7:20-ish a.m. this morning put all the residents of my building out on the sidewalk in the cold. Entirely wasn’t expecting that. The staff had previously told us that they’d do at least one drill “at a time when most students will be in the building.” I’d simply assumed they meant on a Thursday, their designated alarm-testing day. But no, turns out Thursdays are just for them to make sure the alarm itself works. Today’s drill was to make sure we work, as an English lit classmate remarked on the way back to bed in the lift.

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Currently reading: Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus (I know, I know, I’m way late to the party) and Monica Ali’s Brick Lane.

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On heavy rotation: “The Last Days of Rome” by Get Well Soon.

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