rageprufrock: beach (Default)
Got back into London last night about 5:15 p.m. and the minute I turned on my phone -- while we're still taxiing at Heathrow -- I started getting asinine calls about total bullshit, ended up getting digitally fingerprinted three times at customs (what? come on, guys), and then stood the whole way home on the Tube. On the other hand, it was an amazing trip, and I had so much fun, not the least of which was because of [profile] til_midnight's generosity, hilariousness, and willingness to go wherever and eat whatever I thought was a terrible slash AMAZING idea. Can I just say I'm ever so glad we ended up in that boring-ass archeology class together in college, so to allow these fantastic things to happen? I can.

Lots and lots of photos in no particular order, you are forewarned. )

See, I told you it was a lot.
rageprufrock: beach (Default)
So last month, [personal profile] merelyn came over to London to comfort me in the worst of my homesickness and after a few days fucking around the capital we decided to go to Bath.

Like with Paris, lots of photos )

This one's actually from Camden back in London, but it was too good not to include.
rageprufrock: beach (Default)
Photos from Paris )

Warning: huge, and huge numbers of pictures.
rageprufrock: beach (Default)
Today, I walked from my hotel on the border of the 13th and 5th Arrondissement through two different open-air markets where I kept wanting to buy cheese and fish and olives before I made my way up to the Sorbonne and around the Parthenon, did a long, long circuit of the Musee de Cluny (oh my God, so many beautiful things, so poorly curated), then down the narrows of Rue de Severin and did a round of Saint Severin, too, and marveled at it for being lovely and overlooked. Against my better judgment, I ignored the fact that it was a beautiful, sunny, breezy day in Paris, thereby guaranteeing every twat with a hardcore flash function on their camera would be at Notre Dame taking washed out fucking pictures of stained glass and ignoring that it's a working cathedral and went there, too, and stared at the vaulting and looked or new-to-me grotesques and got the hell out of there as quickly as possible and down along the river to Saint Chapelle.

In case you've never been, or never heard of it, Saint Chapelle is an utterly unmissable jewel box of a church, located inside the courts of justice, or whatever they're called, down the river from Notre Dame. The crowd, and there still is one, is about a tenth of what it is at Notre Dame -- and that's on a day where it's considered packed, as I understand it -- and it's a startlingly, startlingly beautiful contrast to what we think of as medieval in every way. Go see it. You absolutely won't regret it -- the entryway is enough to take your breath away, and then hang a hard right after you've done a circuit of the almost claustrophobic and technicolor first level and hazard an extremely, dizzyingly narrow spiral staircase until you come up on the second floor. They're mid-restoration, but they've chosen to do it in a smart way, so that the facing wall of stained glass you see when you hit the top stair is so arresting you end up freezing there for a minute, causing a traffic jam behind you. I can't wait to come back when they're done.

And after I couldn't excuse any further loitering there, I walked all through the Tulleries and accidentally went and hung out in front of the Louvre -- this will be controversial, guys: I love the glass pyramids -- before climbing the long, slow incline of the Champs-Elysees to the Arc the Triumph, which continued to be underwhelming compared to other things, like how polite French drivers are and the people unironically rollerblading around Paris.

All in all, a really good day. I'm also curious -- would anyone actually want to see pictures?
rageprufrock: (east coast tourist)
So my two-week vacation was/is being spent in Shanghai, which is less exotic and thrilling than you would think because everybody I am related to in the entire world lives here and all of them want to discuss with me (a) how much money I make (oh my God, why Chinese people) (b) why I am not yet married or at least engaged and of paramount importance is (c) why I am fat.

Still, mostly this is stuff that happens every time I roll into town so it's ignorable; the problem with this trip is of course the fact that Shanghai is hosting the World Expo beginning May 1 of 2010, and the entire city is being ripped up, guts out, to put in up to 13 subway lines, redo the roads, and literally subsume the 8-lane road that bisects the Western bund so all vehicle traffic goes underground and above turns into a pedestrian walkway -- translation? Dust, everywhere. Building, everything. Traffic nightmare, everywhere.


The other thing about visiting Shanghai is that it's always a living lesson in Ancient Survey 10, which I took at UNC in a room with purple walls that was perpetually 10 degrees too cool. The one lesson that I've been able to see in action is that the better something is destroyed, the more completely it's preserved. If it still stands -- like the gorgeous rowhouses in the French Quarter or tall-windowed two-stories in the English sphere of influence or the broad, old schoolbuildings that were my parents' middle schools during their pre-Communist lives -- these things, they vanish, they get built over, they get converted. My grandmother's apartment, which used to have a beautiful hexagonal-tiled bathroom with a claw foot French tub and 12-foot ceilings, wrought-iron windows that opened outward and a cunning little sink, was ripped into two and converted into two soulless white-tiled things for the two apartments that the second and third floor of the townhouse were turned into. Most of the wide-windowed houses, built in the late 1800s and early 1900s, when Shanghai was more or less everybody's Girl Friday, are being ripped up and replaced now, their old and aging tenants bought off, to make way for astronomically expensive apartments in the heart of the city. (Just for shits and giggles, I checked out one of the developments -- average price? 30,000RMB per square meter in the city center -- divided by 7 for the exchange, that's still about $4,300 per square meter and that this is batshit expensive when the average income is $45,000. And keep in mind, when you buy something in China, you're buying a concrete shell and some space -- it's not actually livable, you have to remodel it for human consumption on your own dime.)

Anyway, tomorrow is my last day in the city, so I'm taking my camera and ditching the fam. I am probably going to eat and do inadvisable things. May the force be with me.
rageprufrock: beach (Default)
(1) Someone I work with told me on the phone today that I should find some rich old man to marry so I didn't have to do my job anymore -- bad sign, y/y?

(2) Dinner at Buttermilk Channel, which I love because of their fabulous cheese plate and duck meatloaf in addition to the fact that the name "buttermilk channel" sounds like a porn thing, possibly a first-cousin twice-removed to a dirtpipe milkshake. (Also, they make awesome onion rings.)

(3) Going on vacation for two weeks. Behave yourselves.


May. 31st, 2009 07:00 pm
rageprufrock: (west coast tourist)
I took 600+ photos of England in seven days. WTF.

But being out on the road again reminded me how much I love running around and not having any designated timelines. Every time I think that I've grown out of my wanderlust I remember that's bullshit, and that if I could spend my life dropping into and out of different places with travelers checks, sunglasses and a fucking fantastic SLR, it would be perfect. Well, and a netbook. (Guys, I was fucking handwriting emotional porn in Worthing, England; that shit is unacceptable.)

Now, I am sitting here watching the flickr upload utility die all over itself (literally) trying to put up my supermassive filesize images and listening obsessively to Lily Allen, "The Fear," as I prepare to write what [personal profile] zoetrope has been referring to as "the country house party sextra" and (shamefully) finishing up my Sweet Charity story, which is actually mostly done but you know, I keep tripping over the ending.

Also, I've reworked the beginning of my Epic Space Opera (original fiction) -- who'd actually be interested in seeing it?
rageprufrock: beach (Default)
So [personal profile] zoetrope and I have basically ripped our way through England, and somewhere in the middle of it we had a thought like, "Hey, remember that super fucked up Merlin slave AU we wrote? We should clean up part of it and post it!" and so now we have. May God have mercy on our souls.
rageprufrock: beach (Default)
And now, [personal profile] zoetrope and I are in Bath, where we were not killed by cows, but have acquired the best hotel room possibly ever, which [personal profile] zoetrope insists on having, and deserves to have, all the credit for. And also, two bottles of champagne in, I am going to post this, which is the beginning of a future sextra! With bonus baby action!

I don't know if I can really call this a sextra. I mean, it has infants in it. I'm just saying. It seems wrong. )
rageprufrock: (west coast tourist)
As a treat to myself so that I don't go postal and machine gun the fourth floor of my building, I'm going to London at the end of May! To hang out with [personal profile] zoetrope! And we're having a meet-up on Saturday! I'm sure a bunch of you in London are going to to be in line trying to get autographs at the London Expo, but if you have time, swing by! I am told by many I am a hilarious drunk!

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