Saturday, April 16, 2011

London I.

46. St James's Park. We are standing on the bridge across a lake, imaginatively named the St James's Park Lake, facing the Buckingham Palace. "Do you want me to take a picture of you with the palace?" Gaston asks me, his camera poised ready. Next to his camera, my standard-sized Nikon looks like a kid's toy. Throughout the day, while he has been busy adjusting lenses and climbing over fences to capture the essence of London, I have been taking pictures that look like this:
A compelling reason for not jaywalking.
"No, thanks," I tell him, explaining that I generally prefer pictures without me. Leaving Gaston to take care of the Buckingham Palace, I turn around and take a photo of the lake surface. "Oh, you prefer pictures of ducks. Actually, you just took a picture of a duck's arse. You prefer pictures of duck arses. That's OK. That's cool. Everyone has his own preferences. I am not here to judge..."

47. We are passing by the 32nd one of the day. After the first 31 times, Gaston has learnt a thing or two about me. 

"Don't say it. Look at the other side of the road. See? Beautiful buildings." 
"But it's a Sta-"
"Don't say it." 

48. Being captivated by the photography exhibition An English man in New York, on display at the National Portrait Gallery. Pretending to be visiting our friends Liz (who kindly took the time out of organizing the wedding to invite us over for dinner) and Dave (even if he's too conservative for our taste). Walking through the nightlife at Piccadilly Circus and its eccentrically-dressed crowds. Being mesmerized by the performances of Matthew Fox (TV series Lost) and Olivia Williams (The Ghost Writer) in In A Forest, Dark and Deep, and deciding, on the spot, to move to London.

The National Portrait Gallery had not been Gaston's first choice. I know this because when I asked him, "Do you want to go to the National Portrait Gallery?", he said, "No." And, despite being into theatre, we had not specifically planned to see a play. Truth be told, we had not specifically planned anything. By Friday night, he did not know when I would be arriving, I did not know where we would be staying. My last-minute attempt to solve both problems by an email was rather unsuccessful: the email was not read until we were both in the world's largest Apple store. (Because that's what people do at the world's largest Apple store, checking emails.) Still, the day couldn't have gone better, had we planned. As an added bonus, the National Portrait Gallery admission was free. The theatre tickets, however, meant that I am surviving on bread and water until the next paycheck. I suppose if I am to move to London, I might as well start practising. 

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