31.7.05

Parks & Pigeons

It's so nice just to stroll around London... It's so big that you could live here for years and never see all the interesting nooks and crannies (and some of the nooks are better left secret). Lately, the weather has been perfect for the mid-day-post rain shower- amble through gardens and parks. Yesterday we went to the enormous Regents park in the center of London. The flowers were so beautiful, the largest rose garden we have ever seen that smelled amazing! And tons of giant purple thistles. There were loads of multicultural weddings going on - i think african, so colorful and rhythmic with the drums. Also, there was an Indian wedding party taking pictures, beautiful flowing saris. We had a picnic with kiki and choupi and took a nap, ahhh leisure time in the big city.

Today we decided it was time for some exercise and ran down to explore a park closer to home, Holland Park... with fountains and arboretums everywhere, it makes you wonder who pays for the gardening. The 42 acres used to belong to Lord Holland. He still sits there by his pond while the pigeons sit on his head. Not the type of reverence I hope to receive in my absence. (posted by poohpa2)

a bbq and a serenade



My lil bro gave us a teeny bbq for a wedding gift. We were so excited!!! Granted this bbq would be laughed out of the U.S. of A. Ha....just thinking of it placed outside a giant american home makes me giggle. And it's charcoal for god's sakes. An ancient thing of the past in the states.

Anyhoo...this teeny bbq fits perfectly on our teeny terrace. along with a few camping chairs (pete again) and our landlady's giant ratin chair. the princess chair. poohpah2 grilled up some mean chicken today. the terrace is so small- the only place to sit is just outside the door. So we left the door open and our teeny appartment was quite smokey..hehe. i'm sure all the neighbors ran to close their windows too when we lit that baby up. when our friends arrived they told us they could smell us cooking from down the road...ha.

We love the lil terrace though and our funky notting hill "garden flat"... it's nice to sit outside on a cool summer evening, and it's lovely when our Italian neighbor serenades us from his window above. I think if we trimmed the tree a little - maybe we could fit more than 4 people out there...

28.7.05

New wrinkles

I have noticed new little wrinkles. Not on the face mind you...but rather at the edges of my little buttocks. Near the legs. New wrinkles. The inevitable has come true - Marriage does make your butt bigger!!!!! I noticed even more the other day when I was in ZARA trying to squeeze the thing into what might be my last pair of tight-ass party jeans.

Okay, the 5* honeymoon where I wasn't even allowed to lift my arm to pour my own sparkling water didn't help much...and the fact that I'm eating my way through Europe doesn't either. What can I say the cheese is amazing here....and i'm too busy looking for a job to excercise. Gawd...wait till winter!

24.7.05

Berry Picking


As they say, “when in Rome”. This weekend we headed 2 1/2 hours into the Cotswold’s to do something that I can only assume is a very English thing to do. We drove miles out of town to go berry picking near some place called "Stowe on the Woll" (wha?). We went with our mixed couple friends. One English and the other American. I can only assume that our English friend has been getting a hard time from his friends and must defend his mother country a lot, because he is a fierce American basher. On the 4th of July he started t debate with me why England lost the war. American bashing is not uncommon in the UK or Europe for that matter, and I guess it’s hard to blame him considering his wife is American. And as Americans we have come to expect it over here...and usually carry on with most of the jokes.

Today, I decided to argue the difference between the American way of life and the rest of the world. And my wife, poopah1 as you know her now, starting giving me looks. She is wary of me spouting off about America coming across as we are better than you because blah blah. However, my theory is the major difference between them and us and everywhere else is that in America: it’s really easy. It is what America is built on, it the glue, the fabric and the road that it arrived on. Everything is easy. My theory is simple: if goods are easier to get and use then more people can afford them and want to use them. It’s a cycle and it’s what keeps the US economy growing. I buy a hand chopper so I can chop more onions, then I use more onions and so I buy a bigger powered chopper. Then the chopper isn’t big enough so I buy a bigger one. And the story goes on like that.

So we use more, we create more, and do it cheaper. I know you all fall into this trap. There is always something bigger better that will make our lives simpler. It’s just a basic fact that Americans thrive on convenience, we have drive throughs, we go to wal-mart, and we use dishwashers, dryers and moombas. We have great big cars because there may be a time when we need to haul a lot of stuff, even though every time you are in traffic jam and look to your left or right every SUV is a solo driver. We have giant highways with 14 lanes and air conditions and Swifers. Why? Because we think it will make our live easier. Now I never claimed that convenience provides a wholesale better life. That is definitely not the case.

In saying all that, life is not necessarily better when it’s easier. American society is a throwaway culture, we use a lot of very cheap things break them, toss them and buy more. What a waste. Food is made from the same basic ingredients in every restaurant. Giant rolling trashcans just make you want to fill them up before you take them to the curb. We don’t recycle because there is no curbside pickup and even then it’s such a chore. Spin fishing, snow boarding, and powered knives? Because of the ease of transport, storage, and size of the market: America is the easiest place on earth to live.

And it’s cheap. Is that the right word? Yep we’re cheap and we miss out on a lot of good things because of it. I’m starting to understand that cheese is better when it’s not a strange yellow color. Washing my own dishes is not so bad, I live with out a microwave and have not missed it one bit. TV only has 4 channels. So now I have time to Blog rather than watch washed up movie stars trying to save tv. Easy and simple are not the same either, I've discovered. POSTED BY POOHPAH2

20.7.05

2 weeks later

more bombs today in London. this time at 12:30, about midday in random places. luckly, these guys were rookies and their bombs did not detonate. and one guy just RAN OFF!!!!! Um....yeah I feel totally comfortable on public transportation.

New tip: I wear my sunglasses on the tube and on the bus just in case. if glass is shattering i want to protect the eyeballs!

19.7.05

Italia!




We scheduled to go to Italy for a work/play trip. We will visit the ST italian sector, ennio, and he will show us around.

buonasera!!

We arrive in Treviso (first time on Ryan Air - whoa - worse than southwest) and head straight to the Villa Revedin. Ennio has given us a night there for our wedding. We have a huge room!!! 25x30 or something. We go to the adjacent wine bar where there is a disco - 80's music. Mostly american tunes. We drink grappa. Next day, we drive to the Dolmites, part of the Alps, to Cortina a posh european ski resort town surrounded by huge peaks. Ahhh...we miss summer in the mountains! It's wonderful up there. Poohpah2 rowed us around a turquoise lake. Dinner at the villa...amazing sea food, serving after serving. More Prosecco please, I'm loving it. Ennio's wife bought us little pins to remember the day...our venetian friends are too much!


Buongiorno!

The next day we tour the rolling hills and vineyard's of Prosecco land. We lunch upon a hill overlooking the vineyards and are served the largest piece of meat we have ever seen (and for american's this is crazy!). It feeds 4 of us. After lunch, a tour of Treviso and on to a traditional fishing village on the coast, Carole. This little town is so charming. We walk by the sea at sunset. Later, we watch performances in the town square and top off the day with a delicioso pizza and beer. Poohpah2 and I head to Venice the next day just the two of us. It's hot and crowded with summer tourists, but Venice is always so unique. I feel at home surrounded by water. The boats here are gorgeous. The Westin, Lido (yes, honeymoney once again) is a fabulous old school euro resort.
http://www.starwoodhotels.com/luxury/search/hotel_detail.html?propertyID=77&back=-1
It got famous for it's film festival in the 50s and 60s. Greta Garbo and Liz Taylor pictures line the walls. The beaches are lines with little corchettes (i think you call them) and can be rented for the day at crazy prices. But these little huts are phat! They have full on bars and beds in them. Definitely would be great for a group. We got our one day of lounging on the beach and floating in the Adriatic sea out of our system. Tons of americans here - we are not used to that. We took a sunset ride in a beautiful boat to San Marco square where we had dinner and drinks. Def. going on my top 10 most romantic things to do list. Thank you to Ennio for a great trip. Too bad we had to leave. Ciao. Ciao.

10.7.05

Picnic



a picnic in green park. trying to enjoy the beautiful weather when it comes to London. The city is still shaken up and so many tubes are still down. in the park there is a WWII memorial - 60 years - the queen is there...we hear the music. our french friends make us feel welcome and fill our tummys with yummy foods. old WWII planes fly overhead...

7.7.05

BOMBED (the first time)

Second day in the new place...and my brother calls. He was on his way into the city when the O.C. surfer boy called him to tell him there had been reports of bombs in the subway. Poohpah 2 was on the tube on his way to work!!! I called him immediately and he was okay. Then my brother tells me he is catching a bus. The next report I heard was a bus had been blown up. Can't get in touch with anyone cell phones are down.

The news takes about 30 minutes to get on the BBC. A far cry from FOX news panic alerts. The BBC is wary to call it terrorism. Blair and Bush make a statement from the G8. It's terrorism, of course. The city is mad...all shut down. Those poor people....your last moments commuting to work and then killed by random people mad at your government for a war you probably didn't support anyway. Makes me sooo angry!!!!

5.7.05

Notting Hill - Like the movie





We finally got our little marriage love nest in the famous notting hill area. Make fun of us! Fine.... Really, it's a great neighborhood, though. I love it. Our little street is quiet with tons of shops and a neighborhood wine bar and a pub. perfect. It's tee-niny but has lots of light and a small terrace. Yes, we have a garden flat..hooray! It will be 2 weeks till we can get internet though...so blog might not be updated for a while.

3.7.05

Ah England!


help! I'm in a foreign country that pronounces the "h" in herbs and this strange man keeps following me around claiming he's my husband... (and why don't we say "usband?")...

EngLAND is GRAND.

It's great to be in a land where: drinking is looked upon favorably, there are (still) more pubs than starbucks per block, to be in a country that acknowledges that global warming actually exists and that big obnoxious head gear is an ongoing fashion trend...

2.7.05

LIVE8




After queueing up like a couple of Brits, waiting patiently for hours in an organized line when in actuality was no line and we could have walked right up to the front of the crowd.... We entered Hyde Park at 2pm, the precise moment that Bono appeared across 8 gigantic screens. Then Paul McCartney appeared. The magnitude of the event suddenly hit us. I started to feel prickles on my skin. To start a show with billing like that is not something we are used to. We were dumbstruck – how can it get better than this? And then we were broad-sided by an incredible sea of pasty white, rosy-cheeked people, all bobbing around and screaming. Ahh, I knew there must be a catch. We kinda stood there dumbstruck for a moment, I hesitated and shorty Poohpah1 took off head long into the mob, and I had no choice but to follow. It was a 800 Meters (look it up my American friends, the day will come sooner than you may think) to the stage, we bumped an bullied our way to the front only to find that there was a ring around the stage where the “gold tickets” had lawn carpets, full bar and table service. We couldn’t get any closer, so we had to settle near the front of the outer ring.

Not that I’m complaining, this was an event that defines events for years to come. Who wouldn't bring up Woodstock or the first Lalapolooza in conversation if they were there. “ Like, the time I saw widespread live at the copper mine in the rain” Nope this was way cooler, REM at the FOX? Not even close. Willie Nelson at Sundance…….Not the same. So, like I said this is an epic show, we were bombarded by kick acts, all brought together for a great cause. Yeah! I’m buying into this save Africa thinking. I was great everybody was buying in. People were madly texting their name to be a part of this thing. Poohpah1 and I did it. We were loading up on the kool-aid man. Bono’s preaching to us, then Will Smith live from Philly, next chills from Annie Lennox. Dido chimes in with a mantra we can all sing along to. Elton John banging home the same message, the Killer’s (yeah Utah!), REM, my fav. ColdPlay Rocked, and told us we have responsibilities, Man coldplay was awesome. Madonna, Brad Pitt, Travis, Keane, Sting, the WHO, Pink Floyd (together for the first time in 18 years). Wow, there will never be another line up like this.

And there were more, lots more and they all sounded incredible because we were there with all those people and we were there to help Africa. Listen George and Tony and all you G8 members to all of us and Kofi Anon. We want to help! We stood there shoulder to shoulder with our fellow, free ticket holders, screaming and clapping and dancing. Poohpah1 got on my shoulders and we danced. We couldn’t move or risk never getting back to our choice spot behind the mixing booth. We couldn’t leave to pee, get food or sit down. It was still amazing. Then I had to listen to Joss stone and Mariah, I was pretty dead after waiting in line for two hours and standing, and dancing, for another 8 hours.

Then – “the British POP icon” Robbie Williams came on stage…….”The” British Pop Icon he’s bigger than the Spice girls, and the Monkeys (were they British?). The place went ballistic, and we were revved up again. By far the biggest roars of the night, for this former boy band member. Timberlake’s got nothing on the Robster.

We watched all the videos intently as scenes flashed of baby African’s searching for their daily food with Bush, Schoeder, Chirac masks on. In between the acts in London, we saw cities around the world feeling the same vibe, drinking the same kool-aid. It was world wide…….and we were a part of it, part of the millions of people dreaming of making the world better. I am still amazed at the number of people there, the dedication of people camping peeing in cups, and eating bad hamburgers to be there.

And I am still dedicated to making a difference for the impoverished. But by the time Pink Floyd arrived on stage, we could not stand any longer. We sat in the back on the grass and took in the spectacle of Pink Floyd reunited. We left before the finally and cruised home in exhaustion. Don’t know if it made poverty history…but I think it made pretty good music history. POSTED BY POOHPAH2.