Thursday, January 18, 2007

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a day in london

i had 11 hours in london today en route from DIA to EBB. unlike my 20+ hour layover a week ago in the other direction, this time i was in london during daylight hours and rather than waste my time sitting in heathrow i spent a day on the town in central london. without a map, i was somewhat limited but as travel would have it i happened upon all kinds of fun sights that i probably would not have chosen had i planned. i purchased ½ price theater tickets in the airport, so at least i had a neighborhood (westminster) as a destination. the tube is as easy as can be, so i had no problems getting around the city. i killed time in the crazy theater district around the leicester (pronounced “lester”) square tube station, got lucky to find the national portrait gallery which was in the midst of its photographic portrait prize 2006 exhibition (highly recommended!), saw evita at the adelphi theater, and finished off the day by ducking into the national gallery to see the manet to picasso exhibit where i got to see such classics as van gogh’s sunflowers. not such a bad 11 hours, huh?

my theater options were limited to those matinees showing on a thursday afternoon, which included mary poppins, billy elliot, and evita. i’m a sucker for musical theater and not really all that discerning, so i was happy seeing anything. i like getting caught up in the romanticism and dramatic extravagance of musical theater. i liked evita, but i wasn’t blown away by it. maybe because i knew all the songs by heart (i own the soundtrack from madonna’s hollywood version) and no one can replace antonio banderas (although his stage replacement also had good looks to match a good singing voice). maybe because it didn’t add much beyond the songs, which made it more like a visual version of the soundtrack. or maybe because for the first time in all the musicals i’ve ever been to (and i’ve been to a lot) it didn’t end on a grand sing-and-dance finale. of course, my lackluster response could also be attributed to my 4-hour sleep the night before on the plane from DIA, so i wouldn’t not go to evita just because of me.

before this trip, i dreaded the british airways flight thru london because it required long layovers on both ends. now, after seeing the benefits of a full-night sleep in a bed on the “going to” and the day on the town on the “coming from,” i might choose this itinerary home more often.

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