Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sneak peek: London by bus

On our way to watch Andrew Lloyd Webber's Aspects of Love at the Chocolate Menier Factory (a witty, delicate, wonderfully scaled-down version by the musical's original director, Trevor Nunn), my friend Dan insisted we sit on the upper deck of a London double-decker bus, the better to see the sights.

Since I was new to the city, I usually preferred staying on the lower deck, which had a small ticker-tape screen announcing the successive bus stops, accompanied by a voiceover ("Next stop: Grosvenor Square." Ay, Grovenor pala 'yun, not Gros-ve-nor!) I was navigating London by map, so I needed to keep close tabs on names, directions, places to transfer, etc. Fortunately, the city's public transport system, whether by bus or subway, is amazingly detailed, the information so complete that I didn't have a hard time figuring how to go from one place to the next.

Because Dan was working on weekdays, I'm proud to say I went around London mostly on my own, and didn't get lost once. For this late morning, however, I was in the company of a long-time London resident, so I ditched the map and turned on my Flip videocam instead to capture the part of the city we were traversing.

We passed by Piccadilly Circus and its swarm of tourists, Leicester Square, Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery and the Strand, plus a number of theaters housing productions such as 39 Steps, Sweet Charity, Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera and Love Never Dies, The Prisoner of Second Avenue with Jeff Goldblum and Mercedes Ruehl, the movies-turned-stage-musicals Dirty Dancing and Legally Blonde, Mamma Mia! and, fleetingly, The Lion King (which I would watch a day later).

Along the way, Dan and I were yakking unself-consciously as he pointed out places and talked about the embarrassment of riches offered by this world capital of culture and the arts. Here, you're invited to eavesdrop:

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