For the rest of the day we shopped around for accessories. There was a goal behind this - we were going to a black and white themed Internations party at the Kensington Roof Gardens later that night.
As soon as I saw the invitation go out, I emailed American J to see if she was interested in going. As you may remember, Sweden and I had tried to go to this very venue during the summer when she was visiting me. Unfortunately due to our misunderstanding of London's party scene, we arrived 45 minutes after the doors had opened and there was a line down the block. Needless to say the policy became one-for-one (one person in for every person that leaves the already-full club), so we waited there for about an hour and a half dancing with each other before giving up on the night, not wanting to pay the ridiculous taxi fare should we wait too long and the tubes close.
I was still interested in seeing this venue though, since its first recommendation from DP Steve. It was supposed to have flamingos. Live flamingos. When I checked their site originally, it welcomed the newest member to their family - a flamingo named Mike. There were rumors that they lost one when a drunkard threw a flamingo off the roof one night. Sounds like an urban legend, now that I've been there. That would have been very difficult. And I bet flamingos don't like to be touched. Plus they smell.
Anyway, back to my adventures with American J. We shopped and had lunch at the Shepherd's Bush Westfield. I figured we could get all the stores we wanted (more or less), it would be warmer, and there were plenty of good restaurants around. Plus it was on the way home so getting ready would be a breeze going back out.
We had lunch at a nearby Asian fusion restaurant:
Beef with peppers and veggies. Surprisingly good but also pretty spicy. I was liking this place already. Of course we were also starving so it could have tasted like almost anything and I think we would have liked it.
Veggie mussaman curry. This was pretty good and also spicy. I was impressed with the liberal use of actually spicy peppers in their concoctions. It's not usual that you find super spicy food in the European food arenas (not the super commercial ones, anyway). At least that's the impression I always have. London could be different though because of all the mixed cultures here.
...and because I was still hungry even after our first two dishes, multiple glasses of water, and a small thing of rice we shared...I ordered more. A deep fried fish with extreme garlic and onions and more spicy peppers. This was kind of a letdown in comparison to the other things we'd ordered in that it was overcooked and a bit tough to eat (like literally, not smooth fish chunks, sort of spiky in the mouth with the way they cut, battered, and fried it). But still tasty. We killed it easily.
And then we let loose in the mall and found our appropriate accessories. I actually bought a pair of earrings (something I don't do often) and American J picked up a nice necklace.
Then we went home and got ready for the Kensington Roof Gardens. Which I made sure we made it to on time in order to get our free drinks. Totally made it in like a pro this time.
It was smaller than I thought it would be, but it was just as snazzy. Bright LED lights lit up the modern bar and interior and everyone was there looking glam in their black and white outfits. One of the better themes Internations has come up with (I've also been dragged to a tiki-themed bar, which was not one of my favorites though I can see the charm for someone who likes that sort of thing).
We got our drinks and settled in for the night of conversation.
Eventually American J and I got curious about this outdoor garden with supposed flamingos though, so we separated from the group in search of that and the apparent bbq that was being offered.
We found the outdoors (with heat lamps). Bbq was present. Flamingos were unfortunately not.
Pretty gorgeous place though. Looks like what I imagine the Babylonian gardens looking like before it was all destroyed. My pictures don't do it justice because I didn't take pictures of the most beautifully foliaged parts.
There was a clear view of the city, fountains, and even another bar outside with tons of seating around the perimeter. I am pretty sure now that that drunkard throwing the flamingo off the roof is an urban myth because the walls are pretty high. That person would have had to throw that bird pretty far.
Near the end of the courtyard was an awesome tented area, sort of like what you'd imagine a sultan setting up for his harem as they lay around and wait for him to beckon them in the summertime, being lazily fanned by their servants while being fed grapes and other sweets.
Minus the fact that it had a Madonna and baby carved into the wall, I guess. Whatever, still a nice place with nice decor. Very luxurious yet calming.
I think you can see what I'm getting at here.
American J found the bbq and waited in line for it. It was a full-on service with hambugers and chicken burgers. You could dress it any way you want - lettuce, tomato, onions, with all the condiments. It smelled great and the heat it was giving off was priceless. I kept having terrible images of accidentally falling onto the grill in my black heeled boots though (the slate walkway wasn't that even), so I stood a safe yet still warm distance away.
Eventually we left early, having seen the venue and feeling good about the entire thing. Glad I introduced American J to the international group I've now associated myself with and finally gotten to see the Kensington Roof Gardens. Check and check. :)