Tuesday, February 19, 2008

London: Day of the Waffle Dog

Today was the day of walking in the wrong direction repeatedly...and the waffle dog! BREAKING NEWS (I'd scroll this along the bottom if I could): my curling iron is dead. I blew it up (no one was hurt). Damn European outlets and wussy USA adapters. And, I was stood up again by the same reporter for dinner (his pick this time). I also was on my feet for 10 hours and had four meetings. That's a lot for one day.

Anyhoo, I hauled my arse out of bed early this morning to hit the gym. Ran 2.5 miles and was lucky enough to score a treadmill that calculated miles (yes!). A guy near the bench press told me the bar weighed 10 kg (20+ lbs), so thank goodness I double-checked with the front desk because it really weighed 20 kg (40+ lbs), which is a ginormous difference.

Schlepped back to my hotel and worked till 12:30 p.m. A story I've been waiting on from an Associated Press reporter (I met with her Jan. 11) finally hit the wire this morning. I figured it would run while I'm out of the country -- it's like going to the bathroom and then your meal appears...sort of. As of this morning, 123 outlets picked up the story, including outlets like the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Newsday, Forbes.com, etc. Check it out here. This was a double whammy because two clients were mentioned. Yippee!

Next -- the waffle dog. Mind you, the photo is not as pretty as the portrait I initially saw, but it sure was delish!

After scarfing down my dog, I walked five minutes to the Wallace Collection, a private museum in a mansion setting in Manchester Square. This place was the coolest, and it was my first visit. I flew through it since I only had a half hour before I needed to get on the move for my 2 p.m. appointment. There was incredible artwork mixed in with super cool French and Dutch furniture from the 16th century and the best armory I've seen that was really viewable up close. Turns out I'm developing quite a liking for horse armor, and they had some really detailed examples here.

I liked the display of ornate gunpowder flasks (I'm not a gun person, but these were way cool) and amazing armor for Indian and Persian warriors. Even saw a fantastic sword that belonged to a sultan in the 1700s. Oh, and there were a kick ass mace and shield that I really liked.

The rooms were covered in rich, velvet wall coverings and tapestries and featured tremendously high ceilings. There also was a Gone with the Wind-esque staircase. I also enjoyed the angelic portraits of young girls squeezing birds, cats, dogs and lambs. But, my favorite was a hilarious (maybe just to me) marble sculpture on a table in the dining hall of Venus spanking Cupid. The bottom floor featured a display that walked you through the process of gilding furniture...very interesting.

Side note: Before I forget, police cruisers here are BMWs. Nice.

So, got off the tube at St. Paul's station for my meeting at CNBC Europe and ended up with backward walking directions from the Tube to the building from a receptionist. At least I got to walk past St. Paul's Cathedral (designed by Christopher Wren...I remember my art history!). I included a pic I snapped while hurriedly backtracking to get to my meeting. I visited there in 2001. Cool crypt.

As I was trying to confirm my location with passers-by, I mistakenly referred to Holborn Viaduct as Hogan Viaduct. Guess I had the Hulk on my mind, which made me laugh out loud.

I ended up walking an extra 30 minutes (which probably accounts for the huge blister I have), but called the producer in advance to let her know what happened. She was great about it. Finally made it and she showed me around and introduced me to her colleagues. They just got a new set, so I asked her if I could snap a quick no-flash photo to show my colleagues and she suggested instead that I hop up in the anchor seat and she snap a photo of me (fun!). She also was the second person I met to suggest I eat at Borough Market near London Bridge (only open on the weekend), so I was sorry I wasn't able to make it there in time on Saturday (only open till 4 p.m.).

From CNBC, I headed to the Financial Times, where once again, my navigation skills failed me. Mind you, I was walking through tiny alleys and, I actually walked by the Borough Market (slap in the face!). The reporter I met with made me feel better when he said he sometimes gets lost in the area, although I think he was fibbing. Had a great meeting (one hour). Chatted about the usual biz and then of course got on a tangent about our election. He actually wrote a column about it a couple weeks ago that further propelled me into the "undecided" category for the Democratic race. Can't wait for the debate in Cleveland on Tuesday to sway me.

He walked me to the Tube (I must have appeared to be a navigating disaster), and then I headed to meet with a contact at a PR firm in London (we have a mutual client, so I wanted to make introductions). Said hello and chatted for a bit and then walked to the USA Today office (no troubles). I waited for the reporter to finish negotiating with his editor about a story on Cuba that he was refusing to write (they wanted him to start it and it was 7 p.m.). He took me to a nearby pub to take a load off and we talked for 30 minutes and then he walked me to the Tube, which I took to the Piccadilly area for try #2 with my no-show from last night.

Backstory: the reporter e-mailed me this morning to apologize, saying he thought our dinner at Nobu was tonight, not last night. So, he suggested a new joint, Le Meridien, a French restaurant off of Piccadilly Circle (which reminded me of Times Square when I got off the Tube, btw).

When I got dropped off at the Tube, I was running 15 minutes behind, so I e-mailed the reporter to let him know I was on my way. Got there and there was no sign of him. Then got an e-mail back from him that said he had been there but was told there was no reservation under my name, so he went back to his hotel. I e-mailed him that I was at a table and he said he was coming back and would be there in 10 minutes. I waited another hour (ughhh...thank goodness for Blackberries) without word, so I ordered (I had already eaten every ounce of bread on the table). Got scallops with chorizo (presented flattened like pepperoni) and risotto, and the band-aid worked, although I felt really tired. I got there at 7:45 p.m. and left at 10 p.m. Makes for a long day when you figure that I left my hotel 10 hours before.

Got a note on the way back that we were at different locations. He sent a note this morning with a recommendation and then sent another note about the place I mentioned. Here, he meant the original place was near the restaurant I actually went to. Very confusing. It's just not in the cards I guess.

Came back here and did some work and now am about ready to snooze off. Haven't been able to get to bed earlier than 12:30 p.m. since I've been here. Maybe tomorrow...my last night in London.


  1. Freakin' Hilarious

    Your posts make my day. I love hearing about you adventures! Get to Chelsea - King's Road.

  2. If you're having half as much fun as it sounds like from this blog, you're a lucky girl. But you know what they say about luck; the harder you work, the more luck you find. Happy to see you doing so well, Miss Christina. Enjoy!

  3. u should write a sitcom

    dude- you are hilarious! what an adventure you're having out there... i can't wait to read about your time in paris!! venus spanking cupid? waffle dogs? ... i have a whole new respect for you! safe travels

  4. mmmmmm........

    .....waffle dog.

  5. Love the posts! What's with this reporter? Have to say he's coming up with some pretty lame excuses. I cant tell you how much im jonesing for a waffle dog!

    The armor stories are interesting, but im happy we havent seen anymore 'package' shots. One was enough, thanks.

    Keep on keepin on!

  6. BTW...Obama all the way, sista!

  7. I remember Piccadilly! If you have time tomorrow, there's a little 'down unda' version of Filine's across from Herod's main entrance. I forget the name...but they have tons of designer wear and handbags for super cheap. All authentic though. Yah, but not having the name doesn't help much, I realize. Be safe! Waffle dog looked yummy!

  8. Sounds like you are having a great time in Europe -- take lots of picture and can't wait to hear more about your travels over a bottle (or two) of wine.

    Safe travels!