i prepare for departure

I’m just typing this before I check out and head to Heathrow. Once I’m there, I might write more, if I can find a plug and a cheap adapter.

I went for another walk this morning. I thought I’d walk to Albert Hall, but I forgot which way was which and wandered around aimlessly for a while. Once I figured out where I was, I decided to just walk back to Baker Street again, since I knew where it was and how to get there and back.

On the way, I witnessed an accident, almost. I was walking along Edgware Street when I heard the squeal of breaks and a crash. I turned around in time to see a cyclist flying up the hood of a car and then rolling down. The windscreen was shattered by the impact. When the cyclist hit the ground, she immediately lifted her face from the pavement, and it looked like she was probably more phazed than injured. Within a couple minutes, she was up on her feet. She hadn’t been wearing a helmet—almost none of the cyclists I’ve seen here do—and I just wanted to go yell at her. She was damn lucky.

I also didn’t manage to see what color the lights had been, although I think the motorist had the right of way. What kind of idiot rides a bike around London against the lights and without a helmet? If she doesn’t learn from this, there’s just something wrong. Even if she had the right of way, I hope she realizes that she needs a helmet. Of course, she might decide that if she can survive once without one…

I didn’t really do anything on my walk, although I tried to buy an apple cider from a cart vendor. She hadn’t opened yet, though, so I was out of luck. I took the tube back to Paddington and got breakfast at Garfunkel’s, where I ate dinner in London last time. I had the “all day breakfast,” which was mushrooms (which I ate with brown sauce), toast, baked beans, hashed browns (they serve them as bricks, here), a very nicely fried egg, a strip of back bacon, and a tasty sausage. I also had some tea. The waitress was very eastern European in appearance, accent, and mannerism. I think her name (it’s on the receipt) was Malchinka or something weird.

I don’t like tipping, here. It’s not because I don’t like the service, but because it’s awkward. Tipping is a pretty recent development, and you don’t generally tip at anything but very classy restaurants, at least in Cardiff. In London, though, it seems more common. The thing that makes it awkward is that you’re expected to give the receipt with gratuitity added to the server. In other words, you’re tipping them (or not tipping them) to their face, which is a little unusual and embarassing. I don’t mind tipping taxi drivers, porters, or most other people directly, but when tipping waitstaff, it’s nice to be able to just leave the right amount. I feel freer to tip nicely or badly. If I’m just handing them the money, I feel more inclined to leave a mediocre tip.

Ok, it’s ten of noon, and I’m going to shut down and check out.

Written on October 20, 2002