Tuesday, June 29, 2010

London Southbank walk

If you've a passion for sumptuous city strolls, it's hard to beat the River Thames south bank. One favorite walk begins at Hungerford Foot Bridge (above) and heads east to famed Tower Bridge.

Apologies in advance for an indulgently long, lovely walk...

First up: gorgeous panoramic views west from Hungerford Foot Bridge to the London Eye (left), Parliament and Big Ben (right).

Sauntering east along the river, the next bridge is view-heaven Waterloo. Look west from Waterloo Bridge and the lines of Hungerford Bridge, the Eye and skyline reflect back.

Looking east from Waterloo Bridge, there's Blackfriars Bridge and all the City (London's biz district & historic centre) ahead, with Blitz-defying St. Paul's Cathedral (left), where royals marry.

The Royal Festival Hall nearby has a public space to hang out (love that). If you're peckish, there's a cafe, plus fun Skylon.

Trot along the wharf towards Oxo Tower, right, for more snacks. Also, that bit of rocky sand? Londoners call it a beach. As a Hawaii expat, I'm not sure what I think of that. Awesome? Weird? Sad?

But, hey, when life gives you lemons, you make...insane sand sculptures! On a warm day, we've seen The Sandman in action.
Nearing Blackfriars Bridge, you can admire St. Paul's dome, plus the distinctly-shaped Gherkin building (right).

St. Paul's again -- there's something magical about cities at night.

The Southbank also teems with wacky, wonderful performers...

...and used book browsers....

...and skilled skateboarders. (Skateboarding was -don't laugh!- a main form of transport in my family, so I've a fixed appreciation).  
By evening, the trees fill with enchanting blue & white fairy lights.

Past Blackfriars Bridge, modern-y pleasures await at wobbly Millennium Bridge, crossing from the Tate Modern to St. Paul's.

For a 2008 show, street artists livened up the Modern's facade.
Pause right in front of the Millennium Bridge for a stunning view.

Continuing on, there's the pretty ironwork of Southwark Bridge.

Under Southwark arches, the Cello Man gives soulful concerts.

Then the path takes a more gruesome turn: overhead is a reminder of old Clink prison. Religious prisoners were held here before being burnt at the stake. (Charming, just charming).

The ruins of Winchester Palace are nearby, founded in the 1140s by the Bishops of Winchester - who controlled the area brothels.

Next up: atmospheric Southwark Cathedral, a church site for over 1000 years, where John Harvard (univ. benefactor) was baptized.

Then feast at amazing Borough Market, also 1000 years old. Scenes from a Harry Potter movie were shot here on Stoney St.

Back by the Cathedral is London Bridge. A bridge has existed here for 2000 years. The original was built of boats by the ancient Romans, then replaced with wood, stone, granite, and concrete.

Un-fun fact: Decapitated heads of prisoners were once displayed on spikes at each end of London Bridge, including the head of Braveheart (William Wallace).

Leaving London Bridge, the path smooshes under riverfront buildings (right). That's the HMS Belfast, a WWII warship-turned-museum, with the Tower Bridge in the distance.

Couldn't resist the Belfast in London fog--no Tower Bridge in sight!

Meander along, under shaded riverside loggias.

You can make a pit stop at the Hay's Galleria shops, installed on the old wharf area and complete with 99p (almost $2) coffee - the most affordable thing in London!

The path opens dramatically to City Hall and the Tower Bridge. 

Here's the Tower Bridge in all its moody daytime glory...

...and all its nighttime glory. Gaze across the river & you'll see...

...the 1000-year old Tower of London, of gory beheading fame.

Ravens live on the Tower grounds.  Legend has it that when the ravens depart the Tower of London, England will fall.   

In all, you'll soak up 3 miles and over a millennium of London life.

For S.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Mark Twain on Hawaii

Aw, Hawaii brought out the mush in (non-mushy) Mark Twain:
No alien land in all the world has any deep strong charm for me but that one, no other land could so longingly and so beseechingly haunt me, sleeping and waking, through half a lifetime, as that one has done. Other things leave me, but it abides; other things change, but it remains the same.

For me its balmy airs are always blowing, its summer seas flashing in the sun; the pulsing of its surfbeat is in my ear; I can see its garlanded crags, its leaping cascades, its plumy palms drowsing by the shore, its remote summits floating like islands above the cloud wrack; I can feel the spirit of its woodland solitudes, I can hear the plash of its brooks; in my nostrils still lives the breath of flowers that perished twenty years ago.
(Photo of Oahu, Hawaii shoreline).

Ode to Jamaican food

In haiku form

Rice and peas beckon,
Why was Mr. Jerk so darn
elusive? Not fair.

I'll be back, I swear.
Meantime, I dream of yams and
ackee and saltfish

With fried/steamed dumplings
and green bananas. (Drool drool)
Oxtail, callaloo...

You're just too yummy.
Bammy, get in my belly!
Mackerel run down,

You make me weep tears
of foodie joy. Curry goat
is food for the gods.

Brown fish stew, I yearn
for you. Bags of pepper shrimp,
a joyful vision.

Oh, jerk chicken! Oh,
coco bread with beef patty!
I wash it all down

With fresh ginger beer.
A sorrel drink thrown back too.
And then, life is good.

(Image from Lucinda's Authentic Jamaican Kitchen, thanks Shelly!, via Amazon).

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Blue lagoon

Just a peaceful moment to end the day.

(Photographed Christmas 2009 on Oahu, Hawaii).

The resident surgeon

Continuing the "They did it!" theme, my sister officially survived her first night on call at the hospital, as a surgery resident!

(Image via Health Education & Learning).

Yoga world record!

My brother & sister-in-law joined 10,000 yogis in Central Park yesterday, setting a new world record for largest yoga gathering!

(Image via Daily Mail).

Lilikoi (Passion Fruit) Iced Tea

In the spirit of summer, a refreshing iced tea! Made with yummy lilikoi (passion fruit) & served at the beautiful Ihilani Resort.

Note: Passion fruit juice concentrate is found in Latino markets

6 Orange Pekoe teabags
6-1/4 cups water
1 cup cranberry juice cocktail
2/3 cup frozen lilikoi (passion fruit) juice concentrate, thawed
1/2 cup honey
Optional: thinly-sliced lemon rounds

Bring water just to boil and steep teabags for 3 minutes, in heat-proof container. Remove teabags & let tea chill in the refrigerator at least 2-3 hours. Then add remaining ingredients, stir well & serve, with or without ice. Optional: Garnish with lemon.

Recipe adapted years ago from now-defunct Gourmet magazine.

(Photo of passion fruit, Hawaii. Image of tea via Recipezaar).

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

County Hall, London

Living in County Hall, a sprawling apartment complex by the London Eye, it's hard not to imagine the political intrigue that might've occurred where you now take out garbage or get mail. The place was once headquarters for local London government, then they opposed Thatcher & she abolished them, just like that.

(Image via About.com).

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Smoky mountains

Pretty, misty morning. This photo was taken from the Pali cliffs - lovely views, but site of an epic bloody battle in old Hawaii, where warriors plunged to death over the cliffs.

(Photo of Koolau mountain range, Oahu, Hawaii).

Hawaii and England

Because of dating a Brit, I'm seeing more England in Hawaii & vice versa. For one, Englishman Captain Cook was the first European to visit Hawaii...

The Hawaii state flag features the British Union Jack!

Both are isles (one's warmer).

Hawaiian rainforest

English garden

Both are wet, rainy places where stuff grows everywhere.

Hawaii's anthem was once, briefly, "God Save the Queen."

And touchingly, Peter Scott (co-founder of the World Wildlife Fund, son of polar explorer Robert Scott) led efforts in 1950s England to save the Nene - the endemic & official Hawaii state bird - from extinction. Today, Nene still live on UK sanctuaries.

(Photo of Hawaiian rainforest taken at Manoa Falls. Image of Captain Cook painting via J. Russell Jinishian, Hawaii flag via Wikipedia Commons, Hawaii map via Kevin Van Aelst, British map via Hipkiss, English gardens via Flickr, Queen Victoria via Wikipedia & Nene via PhotoForum).
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