Pasta Gildone Dinner: Duong Nyugen, Shamanthy Ganeshan, Khrisha Swampallai, Prerna Mascheranas, Gunther Baumgarten, Drame Boubacar, Jaclyn Raska, Anthony Darrouzet-Nardi

Anthony and Jackie Visit London

My brother and his girlfriend Jackie came to visit me in London. It's an all to rare treat to spend time with my siblings these days. In fact I calculated that I'd not been with Anthony for a week and a half since the last time the Darrouzet-Nardi boys hit Europe.

Although less epic in scope this time around, the trip was great for all parties involved. I needed a respite from rigorous independent study which had started in the library the same night Lent term ended. Anthony had been collecting ecological specimens tenaciously for the weeks leading up to his visit and I'm sure Jackie PhD students and reseach had her working equally hard. I wrote out in detail the happenenings of each day of the holiday. I also created a slideshow to document some of the trips highlights.

>>Slide Show

Day by Day Run Down

View From Tate Modern Friday: Anthony and Jackie arrived in the afternoon. The first order of business was to settle down and get something to eat. We chatted for awhile before meeting up with my friends on the top floor of the Tate Modern. We saw the main stretch of the river and checked out the cityscape, counting 43 cranes. The view from the 6th floor of the Tate Modern.

Big Ben Saturday: We started our first full day with some obvious touring destinations. Walking along the Thames South Bank we saw the London Eye, crossed over Westminster Bridge and came to Parlaiment. Anthony and Jackie then went into Westminster to see some graves like Newton and Darwin. I instead watched an Arsenal match. In the evening we returned to relax because jet lag was still in effect. Big Ben.

The one and only queer film director: Bruce LaBruce Sunday: Waking up at 12:30, we decided to hang about Bankside before heading to our movie. When the time came we went to see Bruce LaBruce's instant classic, "Otto; or Up With Dead People". I saw this with pure sarcasm. The film was about a gay zombie having an existential crisis. It was pretty gruesome and graphic; it was too much for me in the end. There's a scene where a zombie has intercourse with the entrails of another zombie... I guess it was creative. Bruce LaBruce in flesh and blood.

Apollo Victoria Theater: Wicked, the Musical Monday: Monday we decided to check out some of the musuems London had to offer. Having not been to the Natural Science or SCIENCE! museum, I voted in their favor. I enjoyed their history of math section a lot. After getting museumed out we ate at this political, back-to-the-wall Chinese buffet who thought the neighborhood was bent on them leaving because of their cheap prices. At night we saw a great musical, Wicked. I purchased student, group-of-twelve tickets in advance for only 15. The plot was really tight and everyone was really impressed. The Apollo Victoria Theater.

An English Pollard Oak Tree Tuesday: In the morning we decided to see some of the fabled English countryside. I found an open space preserve called West Wickam Common. We walked to Waterloo train station and rode it to Couldson South. Although the path was quite muddy we enjoyed tramping about. Later, in the evening, we went in search of champions league football. Sadly, Arsenal lost, but the pub's atmosphere gave us a feel of football enthusiasm. An English Pollard Oak.

Buckingham Palace from St. James Park Wednesday: Anthony and Jackie embarked on their most touristy day. Having seen all the places I remained behind. They saw Trafalgar Square, Strand street, the National Gallery, St. James Park, and Buckingham Palace. In the evening we decided to go out to a nice dinner. Our dad munificently sent us some cash in the mail for just this purpose. We walked into a disaster at the Bermondsey Cafe. The menu was way over price ($20 pasta marinara) and they didn't have the only decent sounding menu item. We had to walk out. But then we found a great Lebanese restaurant called Hiba that had tasty food and good service. Buckingham Palace as seen from St. James Park.

Jaclyn Raska at Coffee Cake and Kink Thursday: Resting in the morning we went in search of a fun place to eat lunch. We chose Coffee Cake and Kink, in Soho. It's draw was that it is furnished sexually. An intriguing site, we decided it wouldn't fill us up, although Anthony and Jackie later returned. Instead we went to 'the chicken place', where I don't know the name, but they make the best chicken sandwiches I've ever had. They serve you half a rotisserie chicken. Anthony and Jackie went to see Cabaret in the evening, while I had dinner with my friend's mother. Jackie at Coffee Cake and Kink.

Pasta gildone up close Friday: The whole day was devoted to Pasta Gildone. Starting in the morning we tracked down a butcher who could sell us pork neckbones. It happened to be one of the finest carniceria's I've ever been to. We bought all the necessary meat before heading to Sainsburys for the red sauce ingredients. We then played some magic before starting the recipe. It took us about 2.5 hours. Around 7:15 my friends started to arrive. It turned out to be one of the best dinner parties I've ever been to, let alone hosted. We had great discussion and represented five of the six habitated continents in nine persons (no Australian). Pasta Gildone for nine.

Hills and Heather; Rail to Ramble Saturday: Not planning to miss out on a hike with my brother, Anthony and I embarked on one of the 'Rail-to-Ramble' hikes in Surrey County. The walk was called Hills and Heather. It took us through the Surrey Hills and some smaller towns including Grayswood where I first walked in Surrey. The weather wasn't cooperative. It sleeted for awhile and rained three times. In the end it added to the effect, though. A section of the Hills and Heather walk.

Kew Gardens Sunday: On our last day we decided to head out to Kew Gardens, the largest botanical garden is the world. It was well manicured, but the rain began to pour down near the end. But not before we saw some great greenhouses, experienced first hand how it feels to be a badger, and saw the world's largest compost heap. We returned in the afternoon. Anthony and Jackie saw the 5th floor of the Tate and we ate fish and chips for dinner. A flower in Kew Gardens.

Monday: In the morning we ate tea and hob nobs (which had become our daily breakfast) one last time and Anthony and Jackie departed for the states.

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Rail to Ramble, Hills and Heather