Friday, September 30, 2011

Saturday London Walk - City Walks with Kids, cards 1 and 2!

Walking |tour cards!

My latest purchase was a deck of cards called "City Walks with Kids".  I LOVE it!   Each card contains a small walk, designed with kid interest, kid attention, kid needs in mind.  One side contains the 'map' you need, the other side, a short comment on what to look at, what to see, where to eat, etc.  Perfect.

eros...or anteros?
For our first outing (while Steve and Alex were off at a Rugby game), Duncan and I chose Card #1: "Picadilly Circus."   We got off at the correct tube station, and nodded at the statue of Eros.  According to the National Conservation Centre, the statue is not a tribute to erotic love, but rather to philanthropic friendship (the sculpture apparently claimed that the statue was of Eros’ twin brother Anteros, the god of selfless philanthropic love. ... apparently, the two boys have slightly different wings... who knew?!)
But all the beauties of Eros paled in light of the wonders promised at Hamley's, London's largest (and self-proclaimed "Finest") toy store: it was 7 floors of wonder and delight.  Duncan explored them all!  

Duncan: #1 yoyo!


A store to match my hair!

It was a bit of a surprise to come across a large display of Yoyo's named after Duncan, proclaiming to be "#1 in the world".  He agreed!  :-)    After a full 1.5 hours of exploring, we escaped with minimal damage: magic plastic balloons (matching my hair!), a flying UFO, and a new backgammon board.   I can tell this is one store Duncan will be wanting to return to again and again.

Lights outside Selfridges
 We then wandered off to see the window displays at Selfridges Department store.  The windows are everything promised... it was not always clear to me what each window was asking me to buy:  they were less a display of particular products than an entire experience of the world.  and even the light sconces outside a pleasure to look at!  Paricularly as they are reminiscent of the dream sequence in Cocteau's "Beauty and the Beast"... the very scene that was riffed in Kushner's "Angels in America"... you can see it on Youtube (with Dutch subtitles), if you click here , and go to about 2:15.... i LOVE this is the one where Harper and Prior meet up in a dream/hallucination).

Anyways, the store is a "purveyor of fine foods", and the chocolate display on the first floor was just too much for Duncan to bear!  He claimed it was torture to be made to wander the aisles with a mother who wanted to look, but not buy.  Pure torture!

Duncan in chinatown
Dragon on the wall in Chinatown
So, rather than having an ice cream sunday at Selfridge's, I dragged him over to china town (a few blocks away), where we found a buffet restaurant to eat in.  Though the card suggested just buying a small bun there and continuing, we were in need of greater nourishment (and rest for the feet), so stayed there a while.

crocodile at Rainforest cafe...
We did have a moment of regret a bit later, as we wandered past the Rainforest Cafe (also on the tour).... we had an excellent time wandering past the thousands of stuffed toys (and automated jungle animals) that were inside, but our bellies were still full of delicious chinese food:  not a bit of space left!  But... we have promised ourselves that we will eat there before the year is out!

1 comment:

  1. Now this was a long post. Long because you went many places and each time I wanted to stop and talk with you about what you are seeing. I think Ripley's Believe it or Not Museum is right across from Eros -- or Anteros as you tell us. I didn't ever go in Ripley's, for it seemed a tourist trap -- which, of course, Hamley's is not. Hamley's is real!

    Then I stopped for a while to refresh my memory on the dream sequence from Angels in America. The arm carrying the chandelier is a fascinating metaphor. I wouldn't mind reading more about it.

    Yes, to threshold of revelation (another metaphor played with by Harper and our protagonist in drag)-- and you are right, the sequence has an other-worldly beauty -- the drag is sumptuous; Harper could not be sweeter or more naive, nor open to seeing the world in a new way -- even if she is pretty well stocked up on valium.

    And I have never seen the Cocteau sequence of Beauty and the Beast, one of my favorite fairy tales. Looks like there is another film class right there to be taken. I wonder how I missed that old film.

    I too spent a day (or two) just poking around in Chinatown. It brought back lots of memories of the markets in Guanjhou, oh, not the crawling insets and snakes, but the London China town is rich with the elaborate materiality of the Orient.

    Can hardly wait until you post Card #2's adventure.

    Thanks for taking me along on the virtual trip.



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