22 January 2012

a winter night in London town

Last night's planned events had me reminiscing of my year in the USA. Once my friend, Stephanie, (met her in my year of study in Bendigo in 2006) got to my house and I got myself organised, we caught the tube into the city. We were planning on going to a korean restaurant but with it's 50% off deal the line outside was massive. We found another though and after roaming the streets for a while waiting for the restaurant to open for dinner, we excitedly sat down and scoured the menu. It was a nostalgic meal for both of us. I haven't eaten korean since my year in the USA in 2007 where I ate it lots due to hanging out with mostly koreans. Ah, the memories the smell of this meal, the look, the chopsticks, the spice and the cooking on the table brought back. For Stephanie, her memories aren't so old. She spent a term just last year at a university in South Korea and revisited there on her way to London.

Stephanie ordered our meal in korean--coz she could. A formal 'hello' is still all I know in korean. We ate korean bbq and it was super delicious. I haven't used chopsticks in a while though so the table was garnished by the end of the meal. We finished with a cup of tea. I tried korean root tea which reminded me of a warmed wheat-filled heat bag and Stephanie had Oolong. Mine had more taste but I wasn't that fond of either flavour. It was a great meal but from my American-Korean experience it wasn't Korean sized. Stephanie agreed with that. It didn't fill us all the way up. Satisfied for now though and being on a schedule, we walked down to Somerset House for the main event of the evening.
Outdoor iceskating! What a novelty! Though this is still a set up and not as natural as skating on a frozen lake. Though it was cool it certainly wasn't freezing weather. It had got to about 12 degrees that day. We stored our bags and collected our skates. I was happy to find that these skates didn't dig into my legs or squish my feet like most I've used. I tied them as tight as I could and eagerly waited for our session to begin. Neither of us had been skating for years. Stephanie asked me when I last skated and it took me a while to remember. It was in the USA with my aupair friends. Almost five years ago. We stepped onto the ice with extra care aware that it was going to be very slippery and that it would take us a while to get our ice-legs. We took it easy doing smooth casual loops around the rink as the congo line around the fence inched along. There's something nice about gliding on the ice. To sway slightly and cause yourself to chicane smoothly along the ice. It was also fun to be there with a friend and chat away while doing so. We kept our cool and avoided getting overly confident and managed to stay on our feet the whole time. We watched others fall, daringly let go of the edge, switch between going forwards and going backwards, and one guy in particular seemed completely at home on the ice moving without any hesitation and doing those cool slide stops I can't do. Once we recalled the feel of the ice beneath our feet we were snaking between people avoiding collisions and flailing arms and the cut up bumpy ice towards the end of our session. The highlight of the ice time was when Stephanie pointed out a couple in the middle of the rink. Soon everybody had noticed them and when the guy got up off his knee the whole rink stopped and cheered. That added an unexpected delight to our experience.

When the session ended we wet our socks on the shaven ice speckled floor of the boot hire room while we waited in line to get our shoes back. Then we collected our bags and roamed the town since it was only 9pm.
We walked over one of the bridges crossing the Thames and I saw Big Ben and the "Big Wheel" (so called by the boy I care for) dressed in their night lights. After wandering along the river for a while we decided we both needed some more food. In our search for some open shops we stopped by a phonebooth for a classic memory shot. We ended up going to McDonalds and ate another small meal each before riding the tube home.

It was a fun night and another tick on the mental list of things I want to do while here.

1 comment:

Dave said...

Nice. I weas just looking through my photos from London this week. Would love to go back for a little longer sometime. Good to see you are ticking off "to-do's".