Gilded Serpent presents...
by Justine Merrill
For years I have wanted
to share the wonders of London with my sister: the Tower of London, Westminster
Abbey, the National Gallery and the British Museum. Christina needed to see
it all. When I found a spectacular Internet deal for seven nights in London
at Thanksgiving, I insisted we go.
Our last trip together had been Egypt, and we had an incredible time. Riding
camels around the pyramids, going to Karnak under a full moon, exploring the
Valley of the Kings, and swimming in Hurgada.
trip, Christina started dancing lessons, becoming quite obsessed, going
to Haflas and going out several nights a week to enjoy herself.
When informed that she
was being recruited for a trip to London, her first statement was, "British
museum, here I come", her second was, "I wonder what the Middle Eastern community
is in London?"
That's how after a day
at the Tower of London, I found myself navigating the Edgware district after
dark, in the fog and light rain, looking for dinner. Christina trailed behind
me, feet dragging, whiney and hungry, but hanging on after a full day or
Edgware road is the area
the ME community lives London, while adjusting to life in the UK. It did
feel a bit like Cairo, with only men on the streets and in the shops.
Then we turned
a corner, I looked down a side street, and spotted the ultimate dinner
spot. I have an eye for restaurants, a nose, and a sixth sense that
leads me to good food, and it worked this time.
Pulling the hungry Christina
behind me we entered a very small café, tables crammed together between
the front door and the cooks workstation. I love restaurants where the chef
looks at you and decides what kind of food you get. It's a long way from
The walls were painted a deep orange, Arabic pop music boomed on the music
system. The food was heaped with a generous hand, high on steaming platters,
tasty morsels of meat and vegetables, the spices smelling like Egypt. The grilled
flat bread tempted us to rip it out of the waiter's hands as he went by.
waiter spoke a little English, and it was plain that not many women
came in for dinner. The man sitting next to my elbow, told us what
to order and huge plates of rice, grilled meat and salad came our
way, with fresh grilled bread and hummus.
The best part of this
restaurant was the money system, no cash till, just a big basket on the counter
stuffed full of bills and change. The waiter made change and we left a tip,
dinner was only $6 a person. (I wonder what the UK tax system makes of this).
We were too tired to stay until nightclub hours and watch the dancers, but
I made a note of several clubs that looked like a lot of fun for future trips.
This was a vast improvement
over a grubby fish and chip store. To be fair, UK food has improved from
ten years ago, the night before we had eaten incredible pub grub near our
hotel, and the next night we found an amazing Indian restaurant. It was a
good thing we walked all day, everyday, because we ate out way across London.
Cristina discovered the bakeries, and we were done for, little cakes, meat
pies, and apple tarts.
We loved our entire trip, we talked with the Ravens at the Tower of London,
drank beer in Covent Garden, went out to Henry the VIII's house, Hampton court,
did and saw all we could see in a week. And we wish we were back in an alley
on Edgeware road eating rice and lamb, listening to Arabic pop music.
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Ready for More?
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Artwork of Ginger Royal
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of her skill, ultimately inspiring exuberance and passion in others."
Beach and Mark Bell from an interview with Lynette
A lot of
my getting the jobs was because I was there available when the opportunity
Fest 3 photos by Lynette
Event produced by Ellen Cruz and Kajira, held May 17 and 18, 2003,
in Sebastopol, CA
New Series! Zaharr's Memoirs, Part 1- Washington D.C. and Part 2- New
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I got really excited, and begged to be allowed to sign up. There was only silence
from my family.