Skip to content

Soho and the West End

I pass bookstore after bookstore and theatre after theatre as I roam around the West End. My kind of place. I restrain myself from getting carried away buying books. I have one small suitcase for checked luggage and my back pack for my lap top. This is not a trip for acquiring things - except new experiences. At the Crime and Mystery Bookstore on

Charing Cross Road
however, discipline breaks down and I leave the store with a signed copy of the latest Dick Francis novel. Not even in paperback – poor bulging suitcase.

Some random observations from today’s walk follow, I noticed an unusual number of young people with spiked black hair, chains and black leather clothing, rings through many visible body parts and I suspect many not visible toot, and the heavy black makeup ringing the eyes like pandas. I thought Gothic was so not in, anymore. I wonder if there is a sci-fi convention on in town or something.

So what is the deal with street signs in London? I walk along a street wondering what the heck it is called, so I can find out where I am on my handy-dandy Streetwise London card, But a map is only useful when you have two cross streets identified. So I keep my eyes peeled for those tiny street names high on the buildings at the corner of the road. Well, nothing. For block after block nothing, and then, almost as if by accident, there is a little sign with the name of the street. Just because a street has been around for several hundred years doesn’t mean a stranger in town will know what it is, right? .

Oh, I forgot to mention when listing odd genetic traits in an earlier posting, that I am almost completely directionally challenged. Now its the almost that presents a problem You see my family and friends know when traveling that when there is some doubt about which way to go they ask me, “left or right” and watch my intuitive reaction. “Right” I’ll say. “Great” they will chorus and everyone will turn left and move off in that direction. The problem is that this works most of the time, significantly more than 50% of the time, but it’s not infallible. So if I was truly 100% directionally challenged, that would be great but not knowing if this is one of times it doesn’t work leaves me, and them nowhere. So I really need street signs.

One good thing I noticed is that many of the streets have huge white letters painted nest to the pavements. LOOK RIGHT or LOOK LEFT. They drive on the left side of the road here of course, and I guess they got tired of sweeping up dead tourists from the gutters every day.

Well I have my theatre tickets sorted out and on the way back to the hotel I stopped at a supermarket and bought some fruit, cheese, charcuterie and bottled water. After £14.00 (that is more than $28.00) bought me a breakfast I would not have paid $ 10.00 for back home, I thought some self catered in-room dining was called for.

By the way the jet-lag thing. Got to sleep round 9 pm and slept beautifully until 4 am. Actually I guess that’s the usual seven hours I get at home. By this afternoon though I confess I needed a nap – something that I never do ordinarily but hey! I’m on holiday, so a couple of hours to ensure I am wide awake for the show tonight is fair. Let’s see if I have any problem sleeping tonight.