Sunday, June 03, 2007

A Sunny Day in London

Leave home around 10:30am, when the voice of a flatmate's girlfriend upstairs starts depressing me. Hop on a double-decker, heading for Shoreditch, the edgy area of East London. Getting off, walk towards Macondo, my favorite cafe on Hoxton Square. Find funky railings on a backstreet building on the way.

Arriving at Macondo, order seafood paella and chicken salad with mixed berries yogurt smoothie. Start reading an article on the June issue of Monocle, interviewing a Russian opposition PR woman. The smoothie comes first, which could have been colder on such a sunny day. But the paella and the chicken salad are gorgeous, a rarity in London.

Tired of reading Monocle, leave Macondo and enter Hoxton Square park. Following other Londoners, lie down on a lawn in the sun. With my iRiver MP3 player---a resistance to iPod dominance---start listening to the music London gave birth to: drum and bass.

Fabio's liquid funk mix and London's rare sunshine make me drowse a while. Waking up, notice that people keep visiting the White Cube gallery, which is usually closed on Sundays. With my headphone still on my ears, visit the gallery only to find it's the exhibition of latest works by Damien Hirst, probably the most popular contemporary artist in UK. Without being moved at all, leave the gallery and think about where to go next.

Walk down to Old Street tube. Find a graffiti of high quality beside rubbish bins.

Take the Northern Line to London Bridge. From the station, walk towards the City Hall. Realize that the City Hall has a really strange shape, with the Tower Bridge aside.

Walk along the Themes to the west, heading for the Tate Modern museum. Quite a few, but not an overwhelming number of, tourists.

Arriving at the museum, enter the Level 2 gallery, which is in my view the best gallery in Tate Modern. Like Anselm Reyle's works. Futuristic because he uses silver foil, neon colors, and mirrors. And stylish because for contemporary art works, they don't depress viewers. Wish I would have money in the future to buy his works to decorate a large, inorganic room for playing back music.

Getting out of the museum, see St Paul's dome looms across the river.

Turn back and head for Southwark tube station by following orange lamp posts. Take the Jubilee line to Green Park because there is an M&S above the station, where I can buy decent whole milk (I can't stand British milk on the usual supermarket shelf).

Then stop by at a Caffe Nero at the corner with Dover Street, ordering Frappe Latte with an extra espresso shot. Sit at a table outside, watching red double deckers and red bendy buses passing on Piccadilly, which makes me look back at the past five years of my life in London.

I could have visited Dover Street Market, Rei Kawakubo's revolutionary brand clothes store. But prefer not being reassured that any good-looking clothes in London are not affordable. Go back to Green Park tube station, taking Piccadilly and Central Lines to get home with Monocle at hand and earplugs inside my ears to silence the sound made by the clunky train carriages.