Friday, August 05, 2005

A Five Hour Window in London

We were standing outside the
Prado and realized we didnt
have enough time to go in.
So we were thirty feet away
from the Goyas. The first leg
is Madrid-London. Our connecting flight
at Heathrow is delayed. We
have a five hour window.
What would you do. I looked at
a cash machine and withdrew a
hundred pounds. We took the
underground for six pounds each.
It is thinly used now. We
get out at Hyde Park Corner,
that's as far as it goes
since the bombings. We jump on
a tall red bus. It crams
itself towards Picadilly. There
are bicyclists. London, since
the bombs, has turned into a city
of bicyles. We call a friend and
meet her at Cafe Boheme on Old
Compton Rd. We eat outside. A man
is slowly walking with a cameraman
in front of him and a man in
front of the cameraman leading
him safely down the street (he
has looped a finger through the
back of the cameraman's belt).
There are heavy gadflies
that bumble into our hair. We
order a cold white wine and
onion soup and duck with roasted
pumpkin and a lemon tart with
coffee. Eighty-two pounds. Then
jump in a black taxi to lurch
us back to Hyde Park (past
Nelson's Column and the National
Gallery -- no time to check
out the El Grecos and Cezannes).
At our gate we're bumped up
to Super Affaires with fifty
pence in my pocket. The long
flight home reclined with champagne,
beef, iceberg vodka, your
own personal DVD player, eye blinds.


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