Harrods / Secret Garden / The Joggers

A Sphinx in the women's handbag department.
A Sphinx greets you when you come into Harrods in the women’s handbag department.

Harrods

For some mysterious reason, I was eager to visit the luxury department store Harrods. The first time we were in the neighbourhood (the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea) we had just finished walking through Hyde Park and visiting the Victoria & Albert Museum, where Naomi and I got lost from each other for over 30 minutes.

Naomi was bushed and said no. On the way to Harrods, which I excitedly saw in the distance, the Brompton Road shops were impressive enough. I enjoyed the wide sidewalk, the posh boutiques. What really caught my eye were the defiant stares from the Arab women smoking from hookahs at one particular café. Wow, wasn’t expecting that!

So I reluctantly dropped my insistence on visiting the venerable “department store” (funny name, when you think of it) and we took the tube home. We would go another day…

Which eventually came, part of a trip that would include a trip to the Saatchi Museum (sadly, closed to the public for the week).

Upon entering, I immediately pulled out my little I Pod and started taking videos. The rooms were so amazing! I was star-struck, but for some reason Naomi couldn’t muster a smile on her face…

Harrods_Ins_5

We walked from one dazzling room to another. Each one had as much opulent attention put on the design of the room as the high-end way-too-expensive-for-me (and 99% of the population) consumer items, from state of the art toasters and coffee makers, to women’s clothing (fahgettaboudit). For fun, I would look at some of the prices listed, double the amount to get an idea of what it would cost in Canadian dollars, suck in my breath, and move on. For example, I turned over the price tag for a painting in the gallery: £22,000 (over CDN $44,000). It was nice, really pretty, rather small, but…

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The Egyptian motif is popular at Harrods.

These prices were the reason that Naomi couldn’t get excited. As a woman, she actually thought of perhaps picking up something, even a token something, when entering a department store on a vacation. Naomi was upset that she couldn’t even consider getting a coffee ($10)! Hence the scowl.

Here are a couple of videos from people visiting Harrods: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xeuYRLujSLE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FbHuvLqRBtk

Naomi wanted to go. I wanted to wander, gawking, through each room. Guess who won?

It didn’t matter that much; I had taken a number of videos and the experience was, and will forever be, engraved in my mind…

The Gardens

Behind the fence, obviously a beautiful garden, now wait, where’s the entrance? Ah, here, but wait, it’s a private garden! The sign says so, it says you need a key and it also says here that the garden is reserved for the residents of that giant, obviously-reserved-for-the-super-rich condo building across the street.

OSW
Like this place? Want a couple of minutes respite from the sidewalk? Tough!

Oh well.

Lena de Casparis, a writer for The Guardian, writes that it’s time to open up London’s private gardens to the public in this article.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2008/jun/07/gardens.london

The Joggers

There seems to be a lot of joggers in London, yet only a few of them are what we’d call “jogging”. Man, these people are really running!

enter-the-virgin-london-marathon-ballot-11067

I’ve never seen such intensity in runners outside of an official Track & Field event. Signs on the Wapping lamp posts mention an upcoming marathon. I wonder: are these runners all locals preparing for the event?

I’m trying to think of synonym for the word “intense”: the look on the face, in the eyes, that combines pain and desire and determination, along with a need to fulfill a predetermined goal. Impressive, but also scary!

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