I have spent three days in London prior to today. Nedim and I connected through London on our way back to the States in 2003 after our trip to Turkey. What I remember most from the trip was the heat, how Nedim just wanted to hang out in the Turkish section and how I wanted to explore and my feet blistered making walking very painful. I remember being outside Buckingham Palace and having to go to the bathroom and not finding any public restrooms. Man, I was so uncomfortable.
Fast forward eight years and I am back. This time I am staying in a tiny furnished apartment in Marylebone in the West End. I'm a little over a mile away from our Embassy. I timed the walk this afternoon and it took me just about twenty minutes. It is a pleasant walk and I think it will be much cooler than the walk from the hotel to the FSI shuttle in DC that I did almost every day for six weeks earlier this summer. For security reasons, I won't be taking pictures of the apartment since it is one of the highly suggested tips from my employer. I did take some pictures of doorways that look like mine, but are not.
I'm grateful for the friendships that Nedim has made over the years. At times, I don't understand his lasting connections he makes with random people. Sometimes I'm even a tad bit irritated when the hospitality offered doesn't seem to fit the relationship. I should learn from him to ease up and be more generous of spirit. Out of his friendship and hospitality when we lived in Portsmouth, I had such a pleasant morning. Had I been on my own, the whole experience would have been difficult. It took over an hour to go through customs this morning. When I stepped out of the baggage area, there was Vinny, waiting to pick me up. He took me to the hotel that had my key and flat instructions/directions. Then he brought me over to the flat, carried my bags up the three flights of stairs and showed me how to dial out on the phone. After that he took me to a big supermarket so that I could stock up on breakfast food, fruit, coffee, tea, sugar and milk. He brought me back and offered to help me find my way to the Embassy and if i was up for it, out to dinner with the family later on. I begged off on the last two, needing to feel like I could navigate on my own.
I spent a few minutes unpacking most of my stuff, grabbed my camera and headed out for a two hour walk about. I found the Embassy no problem. I bought an Oyster Card - the tube/metro frequent user card that provides cheaper fares than a single ticket purchase. You can use it for both bus and tube. I bought a sandwich and chips for lunch. And of course, took pictures of buildings and doorways. I've been thinking about doorways a lot since DC and my apparent fascination with them. I took a time out from packing yesterday and read a few pages of the new Architectural Digest. In the cover story on Will and Jada Pinkett Smith's home, Jada said that she has a thing for doors because they represent new opportunities. I think the doorway into a home can be a reflection of the owner(s). Ours is a Mediterranean blue. It speaks to my fascination with Greece as a little girl, Nedim's cultural heritage since it is the same color as the predominant blue in Turkish tile work, the color of the ocean which is so important to both of us, and Selim's eyes.
Ever since I saw the doorway to the Burmese/Myanmar Embassy, I have been wondering more and more about doors and their meanings. Would you rather be a guest of Burmese government and go through this door?
Or this hotel here in London?
Or this flat?
Granted I haven't been invited into any of these spaces, but I can't help but wonder if the facades are as indicative of the interiors and cultures as they seem to imply? Anyway, I'm sure I will be posting more doorways during my stay as I try to figure out their meaning and what I can divine about the owners.
But for now I'm going to sprawl out on the couch, watch some of the final round of the PGA Championship on Sky TV and sip tea. My goal is not to fall asleep before 7:00 local time. Wish me luck.