My latest visit to the doctor to check on the healing progress of my woe-begotten foot revealed a bit of the fabled “socialized medicine” issues I’ve heard of but not experienced yet.
- My appointment was at 9:30am. I arrived early, having mastered the bus system I no longer need cabs, but I’m a slave to the timetables.
- The waiting room was full, so I watched as 9:30 approached, then whizzed by with alarming speed.
- This being the fracture clinic, I got to amuse myself for an hour or so by watching all manner of broken arms and legs hobble and gallop about the place. Grace is not often found in a cast.
- At nearly eleven, I had a five minute consultation with the doctor, who prodded my foot and the informed me that I should start putting weight on the full foot, keep the walking boot on for another two weeks, then switch to shoes. Come see them in two months for another x-ray to see if it’s fully healed or not. Don’t run on it until after that consultation.
- That’ll be 86 pounds, please ($130). Best of both worlds: I get to pay for the socialized medicine!
On the good side, I can now put weight on my whole foot, not just my heel. It makes a HUGE difference. I shall now resume my ambulation around the world with gusto!
However, I have not been entirely idle. I have hobbled into London a few times and have discovered a few things worth reporting. And since this is covering quite a few outings, I’ve got a little something for architecture, sculpture, food, art, and entertainment. What more does one need in life?
First off, I keep finding buildings to be enthralled with, both old and new:
In addition to marvelous buildings, I’ve also found some sculptural things to get fascinated by. For instance, check out this guy. I would love to see an entire medieval world realized in movie or game form, all in the style of this one sculpture:
The structure below is found in a little shopping village right by the Thames. The style, like the one above, is just fantastic. I could have spend a long time just checking out the details. Sadly the light was poor (it’s London, the sun never really comes out) and my phone’s camera was not up to the task of illuminating the dark areas properly.
Still, on close up you can see why it’s so awesome:
As for food, people grouse about British food all the time, and I think there is merit to that. After all, there’s a reason why the phrase “I know of a great bangers-and-mash joint” hasn’t been invented yet.
You don’t see “Authentic British” restaurants in other countries. (correction provided from Kabes: I actually lived near one back in Redmond. Oops). But the one thing they do have going for them is the ol’ fish and chips.
Apparently, though, the fish are starting to suffer from the nuclear fallout of the Japan meltdown?
Overall though, if you want any kind of food in London, you can find it, and find great quality to boot. I’ve had some beautiful Italian, excellent Thai, and even some Eritrean food that was worth writing home about. I fear my indulgence in food coupled with my relative sedentary nature enforced by my foot issues have not been kind to my mid section.
In other news, while I think the museums here are brilliant (and free!), the real action may be in the galleries. For example, check this out:
I can’t convey how cool this is up close. It’s made entirely of plastic army men, and since they are all odd-shaped, and all aligned to point towards the center, the image shifts as you walk around it, moving and contorting along with you. It’s kind of creepy, kind of fascinating, and entirely awesome.
Lastly, a note on shows. London, like New York, is a place where you can see the best stage shows in the world. So of course I had to see Spamalot, as already noted. However, there are all kinds of other fare on offer. Shakespeare is rampant (The Henry’s, Macbeth, 12th night, etc). There are many comedies (stand-up, Hitchhikers Guide Radio Live, etc). Big musicals are definitely a thing (Book of Mormon, Chorus line). And even musicals put together just based on popular music. For example, some fine folks took the collected works of Queen and made a pretty fun musical out of it called “We Will Rock You”. And while it’s somewhat cheesy, it’s actually quite entertaining, and it’s been running for more than a decade now.
However, I was surprised at a few other entries into this genre. For example: Thriller. I suppose this is a no-brainer, especially if you have ever seen anything like his 1995 mtv performance.
But… But… a stage show for the Spice Girls? Is this really a thing?
Yes, yes it is. They aren’t even kidding.
Ultimately, London’s got everything you need. Well, most things you need. There are the few odd things I have had a craving for that just can’t be obtained here. for example, Mike&Ike’s? Not a thing here. Can’t get ’em. However, you can easily replace little things like that with lovely little surprised for what IS available here, and doesn’t exist in the states: