Race to Get New Camera Before Leaving London

Written on June 15, 2008, in Tandoori Nights Restaurant, Amesbury, England, United Kingdom

I returned to the hotel last night, then managed to stay awake long enough to go to a gay bar near Kings Cross called Central Station. I ordered a double Bailey’s on the rocks which set me back £3.50 (~US$7). In English bars, one is not expected to tip however. I ended up talking with a fellow who promotes rock bands and stayed long enough to take in a drag show as well. The performer, Lizzie Drip, had elaborate costumes and put on an impressive show. Somehow I managed to sneak in without paying a £2 cover charge. I found a couple of guys quite attractive, but that reminded all the more how much I’m missing Sacrilege. I email him often and even managed to reach him by chat.

On the way out, I asked directions from an Asian guy visiting London from Paris for the weekend. We chatted on the way back to Kings Cross, then went our separate ways. I arrived at the hotel and considered my plight: the camera had broken in the Horniman Library and I had no way to take photos for the rest of my trip. I decided I had to bite the bullet and buy a new camera, even though it would have a European warranty and European plugs for which I’d have to use an adapter. Also, I had to consider the problem of where to buy a good camera on a Sunday with only a couple of hours to spare before catching a bus out of town.

Despite these worries, I slept well, well enough to miss the lackluster hotel breakfast. I showered and packed everything up, checked out of the hotel, leaving my large bags in storage. I tried the Gran Sosso again for food with wifi, and it was closed again. So I went back to Friends House. The Sunday service was just starting, but no one seemed to mind me sitting in the lobby using my laptop with the free wifi. I searched for camera shops and found five, then I called them to see if one was open on Sunday. I was prepared to travel all over London, but the only shop that answered the phone was the closest, a short walk away. A nice salesperson patiently helped me decide on a new Canon compact camera with 12.1 megapixels(!) and amazingly good focus, closeup capability, raw file format, fast powerup, and rapid snaps in succession. I had to purchase a memory card as well, and opted for an 8G card. The whole shebang ran me more than US$500, even with a refund on VAT, for which I’ll have to send in a letter once I pass through customs. I wonder if I have to pay customs duty to export the camera?

In the nick of time, I caught a bus back to Kings Cross after grabbing a whole wheat crust pasty for brunch along the way. I picked up my bags at the hotel. Luckily, I left enough time because the entire Victoria tube line was down and I had to wait awhile for a ride on the Circle line to Victoria station. From there, I walked my bags to the Victoria coach station. I waited through a long ticket line because all I had as a ticket was a text message on my phone, but apparently that is all the bus driver needs to see.

Waiting for the bus, I met a Hungarian woman named Gyongyi, which means “pearl?. She told me about a book she translated from Hungarian to English, about Hungarian runes that apparently have similarities to Egyptian hieroglyphs. She said she had read also about Hungarian shamen. Throughout the ride, I was eying two cute young men. After she got off at Andover to meet the family for whome she was to be an au pair, I started chatting with Peter, a young Czech longhair fellow who also works as a nanny. I gave him my info as well, just before I got off the bus at Amesbury. After walking a mile in the wrong direction, I called the proprietor of the Catkin Lodge and managed to get on the right track. He helped me plan my visit, the I headed back to town to eat. The hotel with the vegetarian lasagna had stopped serving, so I went for an excellent meal at Tandoori Nights restaurant where I had a good chat with the manager. Now I’m off to bed.

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