Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Wandering Southbank

Sunday I met up with Books and Abs for a stroll around Southbank and some necessary girl talk and catch up. All of us have been having boy problems and hectic work schedules so it was time to just walk around, look at things, contemplate life, and maybe eat some food. One of those days where you just take advantage of what Don has to offer and try to feel better about things. We did an alright job of it. I think we're all just waiting for the other shoe to drop, and we're all not sure when or if it's going to happen. I sure hope it does. For all of us.

Our day started out meeting at Waterloo station. From there we walked out and found ourselves amongst the most amazing of food markets. Apparently it happens there every Sunday afternoon but since none of us live there it was a pleasant surprise.

They sold everything from cakes, organic fruit, fresh juices and cider, to different specialty booze and candies like Turkish delight. There were countless varieties of jams and preserves, and all types of wonderful smelling cooked foods. I'd already eaten a small full English breakfast at Cafe Oink that morning (luckily in the beautiful sunshine, and was not accosted by any aggressive homeless people this time), so I wasn't in the mood for more food. But it smelled delicious.

Abs bought a fantastic cheesecake and nommed appropriately. Books and I bought gifts and I felt satisfied that my constant search for presents was being fulfilled.

People were milling about enjoying the last warm weather of the season. There were tons of dogs and bikes.

Everyone looks so happy when the weather is swell. I love this bit of every city, doesn't matter where you are.

From there we walked to real Southbank, where I'd had birthday drinks with Specs and Sweets so many months ago (seems like ages now, a lifetime ago really...funny how things can change so quickly). Every day they have a used book sale and I spent as many minutes as was considered polite strolling the stacks, since this was my first time finally getting a chance at them. I absolutely love books and so does Books (as befits her job), but she had other things on her mind. She has a large book conference in Frankfurt this week that will make or break her yearly sales. Important things are brewing in all parts of the world, all the time.

My finds in the used stacks were pretty spectacular. I found my next Lionel Shriver read and another gift. I felt like I was doing pretty well for the day.

From there we continued on our walking adventure and strolled to the Tate Modern. We picked up coffee (or in my case, a chai latte, as always), and talked more about what life has been doing to us and what we aspire to. How things are different, how we wished they were. What we are missing. What is good.

The Lichtenstein exhibit was now over and they are transitioning to something else now, something that won't be up and running for another few weeks, so it was a funny time to be at the museum. Lots of people outside the museum though; I guess tourists will always be around London, at any time of year. Good weekend for them to be there with the gorgeous sunny warm weather (Helsinki is already transitioning into fall with its beautiful ruska). Lots of musicians outside busking, despite the signs against it. I guess the police (or "the fuzz" as the Brits would say) were also taking a break in the sun because no one was being chased off. There were even people blowing giant bubbles.

We only spent time looking at one of the floors, making as much fun of the art as my parents and I did snorting at it. I guess modern art really is an acquired taste. Everyone feels the human desire to laugh at it most of the time. It does take itself conspicuously seriously. The one that elicited most laughter? The poop sculptures. All I had to do is type "tate modern poop" into Google image search and I got hits on the first page. 

You know what I'm talking about. And as you're walking past it's almost impossible not to comment.

We spent most of our time there at the gift shop, per my request. Still on the hunt for gifts. I found another one here though I will say I was saddened there were not more potentials. The Tate gift shop is usually a plethora of unusual and beautiful gifts. Not so this time. Some really great books though, and it gave Books ideas on how to sell 5-6 of the books she needs to sell to her clients, so all is well that ends well I suppose.

We walked quite a bit after the Tate, just taking in the city and talking. We eventually got hungry though and decided to go for dim sum. For this we walked a solid hour at least, going to Dim T, a place that Books had correctly remembered as cheap and delicious, though perhaps not the most authentic. It's an adorable restaurant near Tottenham Court Road. It took forever to get there, but so much walking was nice. Especially since all of us are trying to get back into more exercising and we've all been so busy.

I will say before I get into our dining experience that I failed tremendously to take pictures of everything, so you'll just have to use your imagination. That's alright though; most of the items looked pretty much the same - variations of siu mai. E.g. like this:

Which was fine, just funny. And they were liquid magma hot, just coming out of the steamer. Which was good, but slowed down my already slow eating. So Books and Abs had to wait for me. Luckily it was a leisurely meal after all the walking, so it wasn't an issue.

What did we order? A crapton.

The dim sum items:
Prawn and chive
Prawn, crushed peanut, and coriander
Seabass and miso
Mixed veggie
Chicken, wasabi, and mushroom
Chicken, cashew, and coriander
Beef and chive
Spicy beef

The non-dim sum items:
Sesame prawn toast
Veggie spring rolls

And just because it was a good way to end the weekend:

A passionfruit fizz. Yes, it's alcoholic. And yes, it was incredible.

Surprisingly everything wasn't very filling, though it was delicious. And it wasn't even expensive. The entire meal, split between the three of us, was less than 20pounds each after tax. Kind of ridiculous if you think about all of the food we just had. 

And oddly, everything was split perfectly into threes, like it was made specially for us.

Thus ended our day of wandering around Don. It was a good day. We all rode the tube home and to our respective chores. I had sheets to change and an apartment to once again clean. Books had a suitcase to pack and a trip to prepare for. Abs had laundry to take out and hang, other things to do to prepare for her work week.

And thus began another week of work and life in London.

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