Monday, October 22, 2007

Swing Low, Sweet Chariot

Our day of sightseeing in London was pretty non-eventful in terms of anything too crazy happening. We visited the Imperial War Museum to check out an amazing collection of War Posters they have gathered. Government has employed some ridiculous tactics to garner support for war. The museum also housed an exhibit devoted to camouflage, which is not a small science. Seeing how much money has been devoted to killing human beings is a bit staggering. If you find yourself in London and in the mood for a museum, I definitely recommend the Imperial War Museum.

After the museum, we rode the London Eye, the world's tallest observation wheel. I'm not exactly sure what an observation wheel is, but the views were pretty spectacular; although at no point can you see the tower bridge. After the eye, we marched towards the tower bridge and made our way back across the Thames in an effort to meet up with some of Mick's old colleagues. That did not pan out as planned so we headed to Brick Lane to take in some of London's delicious indian food.

Feeling pretty knackerd, we almost called it a night but Mick and I rallied and met up with my cousin-aged uncle, Anil. Mick and I were initially denied entrance to the clubbish lounge, but Anil's excellent negotiating skills saw us through the top-hat wearing doorman's guard. Inside, Mick passed me his credit card and told me to make it rain. When I ordered 3 shots of patron, 2 vodka-tonics and an asahi that totaled 70 pounds, he regretted his words. Each shot of patron rang in at 13 pounds - that's $26 a shot. Jeebus H. That pretty much called the night for us and we wanted to be at our best for the Fulham-Derby County match in the morning.

We met up the next morning with Anil for some brunch near his amazing pad in Notting Hill. In line ahead of us at the restaurant were a russian-mob son and his not so attractive girlfriend. A table for 2 and a table for 4 opened up simultaneously so one would expect that our party of 4, and their's of 2, would be sat simultaneously. Not so. The russian mob boy asked to be sat at the table for 4 so we were forced to wait longer. That would never happen in NYC.

The Fulham match was pretty awesome. Craven Cottage is set back in a very quaint, rural part of West London, just past the border of Chelsea. We encountered many, many Americans before, during and after the match. The match itself ended in an intense 0-0 draw. Despite being down a man, Fulham controlled the play and probably deserved to win the game. For some reason, Kasey Keller did not start but Anton Niemi was impressive. Clint Dempsey, Carlos Bocanegra and Eddie Lewis all put on good shows. Benny Feilhaber lived true to his words and did not even feature in the substitutes list. Shockingly, we did not drink at all during the match. When I walked up to the concession stand before the match, I was informed that they are not allowed to sell alcohol until halftime. When I tried at halftime, they said that I could no longer buy alcohol because the second half had just started. What a stupid system. You basically have 12 minutes to buy beer.

From there, our night began. We headed to a pub near Anil's flat to watch England and South Africa play in the Rugby World Cup final. Rugby is an amazing game because despite being so brutal, the fans are very civil and hooliganism is never a threat. The pub was packed solid and provided no thuggish-doorman to prevent people from pushing the occupancy to an excess. As I was pinned to a wall, I motioned to a South African fan posted at the bar to order us some beers. We exchanged beers and cash baseball game style. A fine moment of drinking camaraderie. The English fans cheered on their team by belting out the chorus to the song Swing Low, Sweet Chariot. The history of why they sing that song can be found here. Despite England's brave efforts, they could not withstand the South African discipline and fell 15-6. We celebrated anyway and made it official with car bombs. We were a little hesitant to order car bombs in London, but the bartenders acquiesced after Mick offered up the recipe.

From there, very little is remembered. One more post will follow this offering up my comparative analysis of the three places we visited on this trip. Then, I'll keep my fingers off the Blackberry until January, when we take on Sweden in LA.


Dante said...

Glad to see you're still livin' life to the fullest. Cheers.

Dante (from Venezuela)

SuperLimey said...

Just noticed your link buried deep in my Favorites. Finished reading up on your England, Switzerland, Barca exploits - top stuff. Glad someone is still living the life - catch up with you down the road.