Friday, May 15, 2009

Canterbury Checklist

For the past three weeks, I've been doing nothing. Absolutely nothing. And it feels wonderful. I have nowhere to go, no grimy backpack to lug, no train to Potsdam to catch, no impending shower to take (well, maybe yes to the last one).

I've enjoyed getting up at 12:45, lounging in moccasins and a College t-shirt all day, watching endless rounds of The Hills, Gossip Girl and Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2. Add in cheese and crackers and a pot of nutella? Heaven. 

But as my time in Canterbury dwindles, I'm realizing I still have a ton I need to see. Screw The Hills, I have a English checklist to complete.

Here is the checklist, checked and unchecked.

1. Afternoon Tea at Harrods. Check. 

I half expected to run into Queen Elizabeth or Joan Rivers. For a 
21 pound tea (yikes), we
 were served salmon and cucumber finger sandwiches, raison scones and miniature fruit pies. Our waiter introduced our tea like a wine coinoisseur, describing the Georgian tea's "oakey" taste as he elegantly poured it from the sparkling silver kettle. Plus, the meal was all you can eat (I later had to unbutton my pants during the meal).  

Afterwards, we scoured Harrods' bajillion floors, gawked at the glass-caged, 1,000 pound Lady and the Tramp puppies (who are "socialized" every hour), supervised by the Pet Concierge, then checked out
 Armani jackets for two-year-olds and sprayed Harrods perfumes all over our bodies. When at Harrods...

2. Mousetrap. Check

No, we do not have mice in our house (just creepy worm-like creatures with suction cups that like to attach to my computer cord and don't move until my Swedish-Kuridsh-Iranian roommate, who was in the middle of waxing his upper arms, forcefully removed it). 
I'm talking about the play. The longest running play in England. Fifty-seven years. A murder mystery. And it's by Agatha Christie. I thought it had to be good.

Wrong. Unfortunately the Mousetrap's writing seems to be stuck in Pleasantville, 1950. And the suspense? The murder? Letdown. But I can't say more, the murderer told the audience to "intertwine the secret in our hearts." 

3. Camden Market, London. Check.
My roommates and I hit up where People magazine often captures Mischa Barton strolling. The giant market is full of tattoo parlors, leather shops, knock-off Ray Ban sunglass stands, Indian food, and headbands with giant white birds attached to them. 

We grabbed Styrofoam plates of chicken tikka marsala and lay down in nearby Regents Park to settle our hung-over stomachs. Always a good cure. Mischa probably does it too.

4. Run to Whitstable. Check.

Today I ran the five and a half, six or seven miles to Whitstable, a nearby seaside town. All the mile makers and the Internet report different distances from Canterbury to Whitstable, so I'll just go with seven miles.  Along the way, I found convenient excuses to walk, like, "a bug just flew up my nose!" or "my phone just dropped!" or "look at this view!" But I made it, bug and all.

5. Oxford. No check.

This is absolutely necessary. My roommate says if I die on this trip, she'll carry my ashes to Oxford. A little morbid, I know. But I'm longing to see Harry Potter's lunch room, mingle with Dumbledore and feel smart for the day. 

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