The above was taken at the New Years Eve dinner Nikki and I attended. Of course, in the morning we went a-sightseeing at Vaux le Vicomte, the chateau that inspired Louis XIV to not only arrest/kill his Chancellor at the time, but also change Versailles from a measly hunting lodge to the grand and decadent palace it is today. And as beautiful as Vaux is, the real event of the night was eating a typical french meal (including, as you may be able to tell above, foie gras) with a lovely and kind family that Nikki knows (not her au pair family). Not only did it include four DELICIOUS courses and lots and lots of fabulous cheese (mmm, cheese), but we had a bottle of wine with each course that was fantastic. The one above? An apertif (sweet/dessert) from 1990. Nearly as old as I am! You can’t see the electric bread warmer, but I totally want one of those, too. The conversation was occasionally stilted as it occurred in both French and English, but it was interested and flowing and mostly unawkward. And also, the couple’s children are adorable.
A fabulous way to ring in 2011. Makes me never want to leave Paris!
Last day in London. I wanted to go to King’s Cross because I’m such a crazy Harry Potter fan, but not only was it under heavy construction, but there totally isn’t a nice, easy brick wall that might potentially make up a Platform 9 3/4s. (I feel like I shouldn’t have been surprised.) However, it did connect to this lovely Underground. The British transportation system is really so quintessentially British. It’s totally fabulous. Mind the Gap indeed.
Nikki and I spent most of the afternoon wandering through the myriad of alleyways and shops that make up the Camden Market, a street-based market that started in the 70s and has gotten even greater and sprawling ever since. (Found a fabulous OWL WATCH NECKLACE that is very steampunk-y and something I’ve wanted ever since The Soozinater (<–clickable) showed me this Etsy site (<—clickable).) There were a lot of things I might have bought if I had an endless supply of money, but as I don’t, I only got the watch and something for my sissy.
We went to the British Museum.
So we only had about an hour-and-a-half because we spent so much time at the Camden Markets, but we did a quick breeze-through of some of the Egyptian, Grecian, and Assyrian exhibits, commenting ironically about the “benefits” of imperialism. Regardless! Everything was fascinating. The above photo is of a remade monument to nereids, greek goddesses and nymphs of the sea. The carving of the female statues purposely mimics soaked clothing, almost transparent. Really cool.
It all made me sad-faced that I don’t remember as much from my European history classes. From high school. ANYWAY. Nikki and I plan on going back tomorrow to see more. That cool, despite the hordes of tourists. (Have I mentioned that British museums are free? The British Museum is no exception.)
After a late-ish start in which I got to read more of my romance novel (huzzah!), we went off for a walk. As it’s Christmas (PS: Merry Christmas!), the tube and most shops were all closed. We walked around for hours. My chin went numb. Eventually we stumbled across a pub that was actually open and went in for some beers and defrosting. (I actually had a cider.) My first English pub! It was fabulous. The few other guests there were kind, and they had a pub cat. Seriously. A cat living in the pub. His name is Henry, and he is 14 years old.
Christmas is a time for taking it easy, apparently. And then eating some super delicious roasted ham. Mmmmmmm….
Today was the last day of Friday Night Curry of 2010! Only Nat-chan and I made it, but the curry still managed to be amazingly delicious. Why is this the last night, do you ask, considering that there are still two more fridays in 2010?
Well! Two reasons, my three readers. First! As one of those fridays is New Years Eve, the restaurant is not open. New Years is the most important holiday in the Japanese calendar, followed quickly by O-bon (a festival for ancestors in August). Second! Why, we are all off traveling. I am going to Paris and London to see my friend Nikki. Nat-chan is flying to Australia to enjoy the summer with Megumi. Christine is attending a wedding in Vancouver. The J-Fresh is already in America, galomphing through the snow, and TANK will have adventures in Thailand–including white water paddling and volunteering with elephants. (There is a reason I call her TANK.)
So adieu, Friday Night Curry! See you next year.
Our new fan dancing dance (name of song: ? I rarely understand the name of the song until about a month before our performance) is a dance for men. So! No longer do we have to keep our knees touching and toes turned inward. Nor do we always need to bend at the knees to show how petite we are. And this song is COOL. We get a fake spear thing, and a big bowl (on TANK’s head) which is “filled with sake” that we consume over the course of the dance. AND a fan.
It’s pretty much fabulous. Also: very, very excited to wear a male kimono! Coming at you in June!
Today, Christine had a Christmas party for some of her younger students (youngest = 2), and she enlisted our help to uhm, stand around? Be white? I dunno. But it was interesting to watch her teach, help when possible, and wear silly costumes, like this. Nat-chan was just being dorky here, he really enjoyed the costume. Seriously!
But this would make the top of a fabulous card. “You got me what for Christmas?” AHAHHAHAAHA. Oh, Nat-chan…