Sunday, May 07, 2006

Goose Stepping Cows?

I think I just don't get British political humor.

I was in London for a week to do some recruiting. In between interviewing a dozen nearly identical-looking candidates, I got to go to some museums and theater. (Someday, European universities will start churning out female graduates with computer science degrees. Until then, I'm doomed to interview "Matt", "Matthew", and "Matteo" all on the same day. No offense.) I saw the musical Billy Elliot, which was pretty cool. But the bit about cows goose-stepping while saluting a giant balloon with the face of Margaret Thatcher really went over my head. The wine at the theater was pretty bad, though, and I needed rather a lot of beer afterwards to forget it. Still, the little boy playing Billy could actually sing and dance, so it was a good show.

A trip to London wouldn't be complete without a trip to Gutshot. Sadly, the only game going when I showed up was the 50 pound game, which is tougher than the lower-stakes games usually happening. I was doing pretty well until I ended up all in with aces against a set of eights... very disappointing. On the plus side, that evening I found a restaurant with actual Good Food. Prior to this point I had been substisting on chocolate croissants, office food, and Guinness (with the occasional foray into those little steak pies), but it was fantastic to eat some real food. The restaurant is Orso, near Covent Garden. I had the risotto and the lamb, which absolutely fell off the bone and was delicious. As seems to be traditional in London, they serve you the normal amount of wine in a tiny glass and caraffe, to convince you that there is in fact several glasses of wine.

I've also discovered that Gatwick Airport is the way to go, to get into London. The last time I flew into Heathrow, the customs line was miles long and there were lots of flight delays. At Gatwick, I arrived two hours early and got through checkin/customs in about fifteen minutes. Not that there's anything to do once you get through customs... spent my last few pounds on some paperbacks and browsed the whiskey selection at the duty free store. The fifteen minutes even includes the security folks thinking I was some sort of British thug (what with my Blogger hoodie) and actually patting me down and poking through my wallet. Because my wallet is suspicious. It occurs to me that I haven't cleaned out my wallet in a while. I'm still a card-carrying Democrat (for lack of better options), and member of the V.Sattui wine club, but at some point the pass for the NY subway is going to expire. And I really don't know what I'm going to do with three bart tickets, each worth less than the minimum cost of a ride. I don't know what the airport security folks made of the mass transit tickets for subways in four cities... maybe I'm part of a worldwide plot to... uh.. do something.

Anyway, London is fun, but I like being somewhere where sushi doesn't come on a conveyor belt.

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