They say Paris is worth a mass. A matter of taste, but I think London is better. For example, marking time in the cold near the British Embassy, filling in the form of various strange issues (such as: "The type of ceremony for your wedding?") And a rather boring interview with the clerks. Then, when the plane landed on the shores of Albion, has yet to be nervous at customs. But all this is minor compared to what you happen to try out, stepped on the streets of London!
Actually, I have been in Venice, in the case. Job I have a fairly rare: I – the artist-puppeteer. Once we have visited in St. Petersburg, Italians watched my show. Dolls they liked, and they offered to show them at Venice, where a grand takes place every winter carnival. And then I decided since I'm going to Europe, why not go together with their English friends? So I was in London.
Mishap began almost immediately. Quite unexpectedly, just before, to my friends descended on some distant relatives with large brood of children. This, of course, not in the English tradition, but it is, and they happen. Therefore, values of komye invited me to stay in a hotel room paid for an apology. "Begin to familiarize themselves with the country – admonished me – hotel – in the classic English style."
Dear Russians! If anyone has by chance been in London, I implore you: do not selites in the "classical" hotel! You can, of course, be tempted to five stars, but those who are not educated from childhood in the English tradition, to live there will be quite uncomfortable. My hotel was a part of the four-storey building with a small hall, designed in a very strict manner, close rooms, and very narrow corridor. To reach the numbers needed to open the door, climb the stairs, turn left, open the other door, proy (and a bit down the hall, down the stairs, turn right and open the door again and again to rise. It turns out that the British are doing such a complex space and They give so many doors to save heat.
However, I'm not going to sit in the room, all the furniture of which consisted of a case, half bed, TV and small refrigerator type of "Jack Frost". The next morning, went for a walk around London. The street on which the hotel was a "restaurant", and here was discovered by an English pub (beer with beer and strong drink, but no snacks), a French restaurant, a Jewish and Italian as much as seventeen! I turned to one of the latter and decided – because booze booze! – Order a dish kakoenibud more and more tasty.
You've got to admit that I do not know English. Absolutely. It happened: at school he studied French, they speak well, but with the language of international communication – strained. However, before leaving St. Petersburg friends have provided me a very useful machine: an electronic pocket translator. Amassed an English word, but in the little window appears translated into Russian. A very useful thing, it is a pity that the car rather silly: can not translate phrases, only single words. And even then, not all, as it turned out.
So, sitting at a table, I began to study the menu. Collate could only analogues of Russian words such as "Whiskey" and "Gin". Finally, my attention was attracted by the title "Huge of mussels". Pulling from his pocket his assistant, got the first word. Appeared translation: "huge." Already well. There would just brutally, on the eve of all the troubles I have not really had time for dinner. I type the second word. Machine squeaked, but in the window did not appear. Bit's thinking, I decided that the word "mussels" is very similar to the Russian "Mosley". Maybe pigs' feet? And much more! Called the waiter, made the order.
It took about half an hour, I had already decided that none other than a pig cut straight to the back yard, when suddenly there was as much as two waiters who ceremoniously placed in front of me a huge pot. I abruptly broke off her cap, and … I saw a bunch of cooked mussels, which I hate since childhood! Dear Russians, going to foreign countries, make sure at least take a special English-Russian dictionary thicker!
Somehow after swallowing a few mussels and washing them down with good coffee, I went to see the town. After wandering through the streets, he decided that the way I see a little bit better start with a well-known attractions, to which it is most convenient to reach by taxi. In London there are two types: black, classic forms of government, and multi-colored rainbow – private. After studying koekakie pamphlets, I knew that private owners take less, so stopped the carriages of the fifties release, which sat behind the wheel of white teeth black. Seated in the back seat (front passenger does not carry, at best, there is placed the luggage), I confidently called the line: "Hyde Park" The negro looked at me with an expression that seemed about to ask, "Where is it?". Then he laid on his knees map of the city, and so pulled his rydvan that I almost drove into the nose to the back of his seat.
We drove for about forty minutes, and the driver looked at the map more than the road. Hyde Park proved to be quite an extensive site with lots of snow-covered lawn of English and very few trees. Despite the cold weather is a lot of fans found out jogging. Of course, I immediately went to look for the famous Speaker Corner. Speakers Corner was deserted, despite the weekend. Only a young man perched on a tank of dog feces (it they are used here as a platform), and put my camera and gestured for him to capture the British bastion of democracy. He somehow imprinted in the pose of Vladimir Lenin, with an outstretched hand away.
The day I visited another near Buckingham Palace, changing of the guard watched. Guardsmen very funny look in his giant bearskin caps and skirts, and funny marching prepoteshno give orders. But all the details you can only see it on TV, as none of the crowds of thousands at the palace is not able to see through each other's backs.
Went back to the hotel by subway. His is called the Underground (subway) or Tube (Pipe). Card for one trip is worth a pound. London Underground – the oldest in the world. By the way, it shows. Stations still around, but the transitions – tunnels eerie appearance, with dirty stains on the walls here and there, however, covered with billboards. Having been in the "pipe", you begin to understand why foreigners are so admired by Moscow or St. Petersburg's metro. Trains are very strange constructions: roof car mowed down markedly at the door, so that even an ordinary person directly from the growth of output is difficult to stand. It is equally difficult to understand the maze of lines and get to the desired station, even more so that the names were never announced. And again, they say, the London Underground thrive robbery and robbery, in any case, this constant reminder of the speaker. I, however, the God of mercy.
By counting their spending for the day, I bumped into a light panic and decided to tie a sprees. Memories of mussels eaten tormented heart, and even more – the stomach, but I decided to confine the evening tea, good in the room attended by an electric kettle, cups, a set of different zavarok and sugar.
Unexpected relatives tortured my friends for three days. Maybe it's for the better, since, to its own devices, I wandered around the British capital, so to speak, without a rudder and without sail. I will not weary the reader with a description of London's attractions – you can find in any guidebook. But some want to share their own experiences.
I decided to visit the Sherlock Holmes. Baker Street was unremarkable-street. It is a small museum Conan Doyle (but it was closed) and the shop where you can buy souvenirs: an old gramophone, a picture with sea views, stick to the face Hound of the Baskervilles, and Coca-Cola. Needless to say, Baker Street Riga I liked it a lot more, like all our film about the famous detective, compared with English.
Madame Tussauds is also not made much impression. First, it is quite small. Second, the dolls, as a rule, very little resemblance to the originals. Gorbachev, for example, I learned only spot on his bald head. The only thing it really makes a big impression – a five-minute ride to the very end of the exposition: you put a small avtomobilchik, who rides the rails a few rooms with moving puppets. Here everything is very nice done.
Most of all, perhaps, remember the different tablets with inscriptions. At the sink in the bathroom of my room, for example, was a cardboard paper, which was written by touching the text: "would like to inform guests that the use of detergent, some of it gets into the oceans, causing dolphins are dying out there. So, if you want to save life of dolphins, leave the paper at this place in a sign that you are requesting does not change the towels in your room every day! " Somehow, turning from Liverpool Street to Cannon, past St. Paul's Cathedral on the Strand and Fleet going to the other side of the Thames by Waterloo Bridge, I found standing under a bridge on a ship laid up our restaurant-type "float". It was a large sign, which I copied in the notebook. As it turned out, was written as follows: "I'm sorry. Do not throw in the water objects, including suitcases and your friends. However, you and themselves, too. Please." English humor, combined with British politeness!
Finally, having collected a numerous offspring, relatives, friends served somewhere in Scotland, and I was able to move from boring rooms "classic" in the hotel at least a classic British private housing. Its architecture and dimensions are quite typical for London. The first floor housed: a narrow corridor at the entrance, living room, the size of fifteen meters (but with a fireplace!) And close kitchen, five meters. On the second floor were two small bedrooms (one of which I was lodged), and a fairly large bathroom. And on the third floor were two tiny rooms. Thus, the total area of this three-story building barely exceeded the size of our "Stalinist" two-bedroom apartment. In the house lived a husband, wife and two children. Where is able to accommodate families with five (!) Tomboy in age from six to fifteen years, always remained a mystery to me.
My British friends were very hospitable people. And it is the hospitality extended not only to me the next day took the next bedroom red-bearded fellow with a face completely covered with freckles. His name was Vic, he was an ethnic German, by profession – musician. And it is not simple: playing the retro instrument, called the al-ud. It's a cross between a guitar and lute, impressive size, stamped, bent at the end of some sophisticated krendebobelem. Tool Arabic, brought by the Moors in the Middle Ages in Spain. The sounds he emits plaintive, but very pleasant.
With Vic, we quickly became friends. It is nice to speak French, so I was even able to explain to him the meaning of the classic Russian question: "Alex, can I ask you as an artist an artist? .." Vic was a great lover of beer (still, after all Germans!), And we had made several exciting excursions to London pubs. And then there was a fateful party.
Actually what it would be fatal, it turned out. In the evening, to put it in the English manner, "we had a very nice time," a crackling fireplace. We talked about the New Year – 2000, which, in the opinion of our hosts, began with the prime meridian at Greenwich. In general, they argued that the best New Year's celebration was in London gun salute at the Museum of the imperialist war, the cruiser "Belfast", the Royal Barracks, the Royal Horse Artillery, the Tower of London and the Royal Arsenal, laser arc, connecting Alexandra and Crystal Palaces, carnival procession and submitted to the London Bridge, the solemn service at Westminster Abbey, Westminster Cathedral, St Paul's Cathedral … Vic defended the honor of "the continent" and sarcastically inquired why the advertised giant Ferris wheel in London, and was not running.
Children were strictly ordered not to descend from the third floor, and adults, to put it in the manner of the domestic, "drew off in full growth" … Dear Russians! From my own experience, I entreat: do not interfere with the whiskey, "Zubrovka", it can change your plans dramatically! What has happened to me.
Waking up the next day, as always, from the cold (the upper rooms in British homes are generally not heated), I stared at the glittering in the morning sun inlay al-oud, painfully trying to figure out how he got into my bedroom. Upon further investigation it became clear that the tool does not hit, and I – in someone else's bedroom, and a bad history. In short, we have plucked from Vick before that mixed up the room. This would not be big trouble if Vick early in the morning, being late for the plane, not dashed off to Heathrow airport and flew from there to an unknown destination. Together with my suitcase. And then I was sorry about the "Iron Curtain". Indeed, how could ten years ago, a suitcase, bought by me in the arcade in St. Petersburg to be like two peas in a pod similar to the one that Vick bought at Stuttgart! And yet what happened. God be with him, with a suitcase, but it has been my dolls – the ones I drove to Venice! And then there was money in the pocket a little secret. I, for my stupidity, still can not understand with all these credit cards, they call me the same jealous suspicion, such as computers. Therefore, and brought with him cash dollars that are now floating somewhere high in the sky.
I was desperate! I wanted to grab a suitcase Wick, running on the embankment and run it into the Thames, in spite of cautionary labels! And at the same time to drown himself.
Friends nazvanivala in Stuttgart the next day, the phone, of course, did not answer. When the night I was, angry and tired, he returned to London's streets, which wandered in full prostration, I was told that Vic himself called.
- He missed his instrument in the plane, – the owner – but to turn his back could not, in contrast to your Prime Minister! Now he made a special trip to Paris, where it will wait for you at the "George V".
- A suitcase? – I almost cried.
- Int is your suitcase. What are you so worried? At the same time in Paris look. On the continent, now is the fun time begins: Winter carnival!
I knew my friend that I have seen not only the capital of France …
"Above the red sun rises Paris …"
Waterloo Station in London is so huge that sneaking suspicion – it is here that Napoleon won the battle. Journey "on the continent," as expressed in English, takes only three hours. First you admire the English landscape, and then going for some time in the dark tunnel under the English Channel, after which the French had already admire the sights and some time you enter a solemn straight to Paris. The only thing that saddened during the trip – the traces of last year's violence of the elements that are easily visible from the window of the car.
Out on the platform, I had thought that the promised carnivals here and start right. Some people in helmets with cardboard models of trains on top of a very loud drumming, dudeli in the pipes, whooped, continuously while drinking and eating. El-ud Vic, which I was carrying on his shoulder, immediately attracted their attention, and I was bombarded with questions: "What is this tool? And how it is played? I do not want a drink? Do not join a demonstration I?" It appeared manifest workers SNCF (French railways), wishing to inform Paris of their intention to connect to the subway workers' strike.
At other times I can be, and expressed the solidarity of the French proletariat, but I immediately had to get to the "George V". Since the metro is not working, I had to go by taxi. I must say that with a daring Parisian drivers and their complete disregard for traffic rules can not be compared or private traders in London or St. Petersburg coolest cabs. Taxi raced at breakneck speed through the narrow streets, nearly every minute of bumping into pedestrians, trays of small traders, and other vehicles and motorcyclists. When I finally said goodbye to life, the car brakes squealed, and the taxi driver announced that we have arrived.
The facade of the hotel seemed strangely familiar. As in Paris, I had never been, it wrote off an impression on the known phenomenon of false memory, referred to as "deja vu". It was only later realized that he had seen the hotel, "George V" at least twenty feature films. I do not know why he was so fond of filmmakers.
Near the counter, I gave the name Vick. Porter snapped his computer keyboard, for some reason, looked into the plump ledger and announced that they have such a guest is not listed.