22 January 2020

Thousands of Miles...for Fired Chicken

Shame has overcome me today. I have plans to simply lie around—or lay around, whichever the grammatical case may be—and do fuck all, all day. I have sore hammies (from working out at the gym for 10 bucks a day since we’ve been here) and the list of stuff I must do have dwindled to one lone thing, the visit to Kew Gardens (and perhaps also the famed Spanish pallela in the ‘Elephant and Castle’ neighborhood). Either way, it’s gonna be a quiet Saturday. I’m pooped and could use this day to type up my illegible scribbled notes on the trip so far.

Tomorrow we go to Stone Henge...then Cheddar Gorge (and Cheddar—think cheese), and then to Bath for a visit to the Roman Baths....I will definitely pay to enter IF I can actually get into the baths (like you can in Icelandic hot springs)...if there’s no stripping down and soaking in sulfur waters then I’ll skip it.

I will say this, I have sampled all the foods, and I like them, but I also like bran flakes and fruit for breakfast, nuts and fruit for a snack, and copious amounts of peppermint tea during the day. I’m one of those creatures of habit...My usual habits are on hold for now. I will enjoy being reacquainted with these when we get back to the states.

Later, on to JolliBee

My roommate is of Filipino extraction and when she learned that there was a lone JolliBee fast food joint in all of Britain, she proclaimed that we must go. So we did...after a prolonged period of chilling in our room. Round about noon we shifted our lazy bodies and pulled on clothes, heading to the Russell Square for a 10-stop jaunt to Ealling or something. Then a 3 minute walk to the fullest fast food joint in the country, possibly. We elbowed in past families, couples, grandmas, babies, and teens itching for a mediocre taste of home. We ordered jolly chicken rice and tea and then waited to find a seat. I begged admittance from a lone grandma seated at a 2-top and she acquiesced.

Seated and eating, my roommate looked up. She asked me what I thought as I picked the skin off of my fried chicken. I discarded the crusty lumps and pulled at the meat beneath, as I answered, “oh, it’s nice”. I didn’t say too much about how I truly feel about fried chicken or fast food, for that matter. Instead, I fired back “What do YOU think?” 

In truth, I was enjoying her joy at having a taste of home, thousands of miles away, in London.

The flavors and all of the Filipino faces had her transported. She was having a great time. I pulled open my wrapper of tightly packed white rice and poured gravy over the mound. Rice and gravy are things I can definitely relate to. Rice and gravy is the great equalizer when you’re talking about third world people...which we both are.

After the meal, she tried to entice me with the offer of a dessert pie. Think of the old school McDonald’s fried apple pies or a Hot Pocket filled with fruit. I wanted to say, “um yea-No.” But instead I said, ‘if you’re buying.”

They were all out so we bussed our table as the next group diners were already putting down their trays and drinks and walked against the current of incoming Asians and hit the street.

Across the street I spotted an OxFam shop and propelled us toward it. OxFam is a charity shop, or thrift store. I was prepared to be in heaven. After a few minutes my excitement ebbed. It was just a thrift store filled with many modern clothes and no real gems (expensive fabrics, or vintage styles, or even just eclectic anything). I walked around and waited while she bought a camel hair jacket. Then we strolled up and down streets of gorgeous terraced houses (row houses if you’re in Maryland). I entertained the idea of living in a few of them...then rolled myself a cigarette in preparation for our trip back on the underground.
Before we made a move I spotted a food co-op. This is a ubiquitous market that peppers the UK. Their logo is big and bold and unmistakable. AND everyone in my favorite soap shops daily at the Co-Op rather than making a big weekly shop at the super market/grocery. I love the aesthetic of the large handled, reusable plastic shopping bags, and I needed to have them. We popped in the CO-Op and I spent 60p on 3 bags.

We hit the tube and patted ourselves on the back for being such seasoned public transport travelers. HA!