A Stopover in London

Between Hua Hin and New York

September 23-26, 2003

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

"A properly designed and well manufactured corkscrew is the only safe device for opening a bottle of wine whose neck has been 'deeply throated' with a stiff and apparently unyielding cork. The use of a knife and hammer is 'right-out'."

- PCC spokespersons, Gift, Amma and Ohmy.

PS: The suitcases are closed ... and we are just waiting for the car to take us to the Bangkok International Airport.

OK, now we are at the new British Airways lounge at BKK's Terminal 2. It's a little after 10PM; but in less than a dozen hours we'll be at London's Heathrow Terminal 4.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Our hotel rooms overlook Hyde Park. And, it is a beautiful day in London ... sunny, cool and with very little humidity; so different from Bangkok.

BEST OF ALL: I have a high speed Internet connection!

Watcharee has gone directly to bed ... even though she slept for most of the 11 hour flight from Bangkok. Yep, it is only 9:45 in the morning here.

We'll probably go to Chungs for lunch ... maybe Nobi for dinner ... that's Chinese followed by sushi.

Paul will be pleased to know that the London telephone kiosks still carry the advertisements for 'special services'.

PS: Holy Yikes! I can see clearly from my hotel suite balcony that the desecrators of the 'tart cards' have already been at work. These fiends must have an early morning shift that sweeps through the kiosks way before the lunch crowd has a chance to 'ring up' for their 'nooners'.

Desecrated Tart Cards

Old time readers will, of course, remember the plight of Mellisa. For those who need 'refreshing' please return with us to The Story of Mellisa.

But, for those of you in a hurry ... well, at least look at her card:

Someone hated her enough to rip her photograph into little pieces.


Tempted to read the whole story? OK, click back ... it's a tale to bring tears.

Still in too much of a rush to 'go back'?

OK! Here is the generally accepted theory of that happened to Mellisa:

Could someone hate her because of her looks ... because of her nationality? In Mellisa's own words: "I'm half English and half Puerto Rican, 19 years old, with beautiful olive skin, long brown hair, 36-24-36 figure, 5'5" height."

Perhaps. Perhaps not. Mellisa is just one of the hundreds of women who niche-market their services in London telephone booths. While mainstream service providers stick to such standard message carriers as billboards and window displays, the Mellisas decorate the otherwise drab interiors of phone kiosks with their tart cards. Some of these invitations to negotiate are vague and only suggest what is on the other end of the line. Others jump right ahead and promise the standard missionary approved sacrament. Further afield: many tart cards unashamedly tender a deep cafeteria of bewildering stimulations that employ tools such as "bondage benches," "internals," "racks," and "chattering dwarfs."

Even though President Clinton, just days ago, dumped a dozen Puerto Rican terrorists back onto the streets of New York, it's not likely that Mellisa's enemy is a distant victim. So, her lineage probably did not get her into this round of nuisance.

That leaves either a dissatisfied customer or the wife of a satisfied customer. The former can be ruled out. The British Trade Descriptions Act gives the British consumer adequate legal redress in the event that the product that he purchases or the services that he pays for are not up to snuff. Enough said there.

So, we are left with an unhappy wife. Either she has sniffed her way back to where her husband started, or she has discovered the offending tart card in his pocket. It's now quite simple. The only thing left in her life is to pass each and every day patrolling West End phone booths doing damage to Mellisa's advertisements.

Luckily for the history of advertising, I found one complete Mellisa.


PPS: By this evening the kiosks had been stripped bare ... save for coin insertion instructions. The wife brigade or clients? I think, the former.

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Last night we 'passed' on both the Chinese and Japanese food options. After a time-warp nap we were only able to wander as far as Al Sultan, a Middle East restaurant that we've been to many times in the past. The puréed hummus and the green beans marinated in chili sauce ... washed down with Evian ... went down 'nicely': it gave me nightmares ... I dreamed that I was the owner of a bankrupt brothel/bakery. Hmmmm, must have been those 'tart cards'.

By the way, that wall of windows that you see is the north face of our hotel. From the upper-right (next to the top) balcony I have an excellent view of the telephone kiosks.

PS: This out-of-the-way kiosk seems to have escaped the wrath of the 'minders'. Perhaps because it is tucked away in a little traveled mews or because it is only used by men without covetous mates, its 'offerings' remained pretty much untouched until, at least, deep into the morning. The one whole card that was seen on the floor probably just accidentally fell from its 'sticky spot'. And the piece of the 'cut' card seems to have been removed from the picture without any malice.

We had lunch at Chungs.

Yes, an old favorite ... going back at least 25 years. And the same owner who dished-me-up my shredded sea weed 'starter' a quarter century ago was at it again this afternoon. He, too, was the hand behind the scallops, the pork with noodles and the steamed sea bass.

After lunch Watcharee found a car not seen on Bangkok roads: it is a sporty variation of the Smart car.

Friday, September 26, 2003

This is our last day in London before we fly to New York.

PS: This morning Watcharee had more than anyone's rightful share of close encounters with some of the world's biggest 'names'. Only in London could this happen ... and only off Baker Street:

* A footnote to future 'history'?:

Sometime in October, 2003:

"Austria-Asia Über Alles"

Watcharee mit Arnold ... und mit dem Führer

Next: New York

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