travel blogs

Day 3/4ish – I’m Just a Girl, Standing in Front of Store Where Julia Roberts Said She was Just a Girl…

(PS: For those of you keeping score at home, yes, I’m back in the states. Told ya on Day 1 I wouldn’t update this travelogue in any sort of organized fashion. And I am an Oreo of my word).


Attended the largest street party in Europe…and left shortly before it became absolute mob madness. The Notting Hill Carnival is definitely something that would have been a blast if I had companions at moment. When I got there, it felt very much like Halloween in West Hollywood. Everyone in the streets, lots of drinking and both men and women wearing very few clothes. I have never seen so many women’s bottoms in my life!!

Though, great ideas for Halloween costumes.

The English seem to have a different standard of body-shaming than we do in the states, or at least LA. The video above is some of the best of the best looking folks, but there were a good number of people who I’m sure had sparkly personalities, but maybe could have done with bigger sparkly bikinis. To be fair, most people couldn’t pull off the dearth of clothing featured on the street that day. Myself included. There are plenty of things I look lovely in. Floss and carpet swatches are not among those things.

While I’m watching this parade of self-esteem exercises, the imperfect human in me thinks this is great and is glad to know that while I’d never allow someone to stick a sparkly triangle onto my front butt and then parade around the streets, but that if I did, there is a place that would accept me. And that place is Notting Hill, London, UK.

For reals, though. Pasties technology has come a long way! It’s muggy in this city and the fact that none of those ladies’ codpieces got moist and slipped right off is pretty spectacular. I imagine they use similar adhesives on space shuttles.

The English also have a different attitude toward partying. Included in the brochure I was handed at the mouth of the event was a note about how to most effectively get drunk (neat Rum),  a post script saying that the gaggles of scary lads with their sagging pants are just there to have fun and chase girls, so please don’t mind them and an invitation to go ahead and grind up on someone because that’s what Carnival is about–dancing with strangers.

I feel like in the US, the brochure would have pretended that only sluts get drunk and/or dance and that there would be no boys with saggy pants on the grounds because they would have been arrested upon arrival just for good measure.

The only knowledge I’d had of Notting Hill was the movie Notting Hill, so it was nice to see the street alive and real. It would have also been nice to see Hugh Grant, but the samba bands were pretty spectacular.

By the time I left, the crowd was shoulder-to-shoulder and mostly drunk. I can see how this would be an amazing place to be with a group of friends. Alone, though, it started to feel a bit like the one Mardi Gras street fest I went to. I was young then. And willing to get beads. At first it was silly and fun, but by the end, I was being lifted off the ground by strangers. Not okay. I’m sure nothing like that happened in Notting Hill last night, but I felt like I had enjoyed as much as I needed to. So I found the prettiest park I’ve ever seen, I sat there and I wrote a bit.

It’s pretty here.

Now having a cup of tea and I think I understand why I didn’t like tea before. I never drank it with milk. Or actual sugar. Or from leaves. Always bagged tea with no milk and with Splenda.

I’m realizing that it’s very possible that I actually only like milk and sugar; but never mind that. This tea is amazeballs.


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Day 2/3ish – What Happens in the Sky Above London…

You’ll think this picture is sweet until you read the first paragraph of this post.




I’m pretty sure the mother and son who sat next to me on the plane on the way over here were sleeping together. This was days ago, but I know they’re in this city somewhere. I hope I don’t run into them again. Except that I kinda hope I do.



They first sat behind me even though, per their conversation that I overheard, they were meant to sit next to me. About 10 minutes later, a guy told them that they were in his and his husband’s seat. The Mother and Boy moved to the seats next to me and the boy said, loudly enough to be heard over the drone of the engine: “Uhhh, did you hear that guy say ‘husband’? He’s a guy and he called that other guy his husband.” Then he turned around and looked at them.

His attention was stolen, however, by a very tall guy who took the edge seat on the other side of the aisle from me. To be fair, the guy was very tall. Nearly 7 feet. To also be fair, sure, he’s tall. But that’s it. Just tall.

“Wow!” The Boy yelled again. “That’s guy’s tall! Have you ever seen someone so tall? I haven’t seen anyone that tall. He’s so tall.”

And I get it. It’s interesting to see things we haven’t seen before. I myself have been blown away by the number of full body burkas I’ve seen in London. But after your eyes take it in for about a second, it becomes imperative to think: “Yes, there are people who aren’t like me. Ah, well, back to my life.” … Unless those people who are different from you are an incest couple. Then you include them in your travelogue and talk about them at parties. Open incest is interesting. Height is just the luck of the genetic draw.

The Boy then pulled out a gallon-sized bag of Famous Amos cookies and said, “Whatever. As long as I have these, I’ll be happy.” Then he looked in the bag. “They’re all gone already?” Then he kind of started to cry.

Breakfast of champions. And creeps.

It should be noted that by “boy,” I mean a man of maybe 25 to 27 years old.

To console the cookie-less kid, the Mother gave him a hug and offered to tuck him into the seat so he could sleep. The Boy barked orders at her to move his pillow, move his blanket, move his pillow back, take the blanket off, tip his hat the other direction, pull the blanket up by his ear, NO NOT THAT EAR, JESUS! Each time, the mom didn’t punch him in his lazy face. Instead, she just took her orders and cooed at him. Then, right before he fell asleep, the Boy grabbed the Mom’s hand and held it. The way you might if you were, I don’t know, sleeping with that person.

Their hands curled around each other like vines on a post and there they drifted off.

A few hours later, we were all awake and the woman was drinking a gin and tonic. Sure, it was nearing noon where we were landing, but it was like 9 a.m. back in our own time zone. Though, I supposed if I were fucking my son, I’d need a drink at 9 a.m., too. She also had a grip of bruises on both of her arms above the elbow.

Later in the “afternoon” the Boy woke up and said a host of other very pleasant things like: “I know I’m fat, but I only like thin girls. I can’t help it.” And: “Marcie said that if she was 32 and still not married, she wants my sperm. I told her she can come and get it now.” Mom just listened and laughed along. Which was the best course of action because every time she would start to do anything for herself like read or watch TV, the Son would take it from her – rip the book out of her hands or change the language on the TV to Chinese.

All these events were punctuated with odd moments of sweetness. Like when he told her that he was really glad they were all taking this trip together. That it was nice that everyone was at an age where they could enjoy it. They both smiled sweetly like regular people and it was just enough for me to think that I was nothing more than a cynical jerk who can’t appreciate families who are close. But then the Mom teased the Boy by saying: “You know, I should make you and your sister room together.” And in my head, I screamed “YES, YES YOU SHOULD!!” and when the trolley came by, I ordered a glass of red wine to get through this “afternoon” of family love.

Now yes, it’s possible this wasn’t a Mom and Son. They could have been an Aunt and Nephew and the part of their family two rows behind us could have been an Uncle and Niece and not a Father and Daughter. Either way, they shouldn’t have been holding hands that much and the adults should have roomed together.


As uncomfy as listening to them was, it wasn’t nearly as bad as what this woman went through. She woke up to find her seat-mate’s hands in her shirt and fending off a request for a kiss.

I think this is the firs time I’ve ever been unnerved by someone on a plane. I hope it’s the last.

What are your worst airplane stories? Let us know in the comments!


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Watch fun Oreo videos on youtube!