meanwhile, back in la la land...

Ahhhh, L.A., the city that sleeps early and doesn't eat. The Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hahn, says America is a nation of hungry ghosts, but I think no place is this sentiment more starkly felt than in the City of Angels.

Yet, somehow, seeing the video above made me strangely nostalgic for the empire of sprawling freeways. Entitled Lost Among Them, it's an entry from Brand X, the LA film festival's shorts competition - meant to depict what it means to live in "next generation L.A."...whatever that means. This was the short I liked the best by far... though I'm curious how the filmmaker is going to get the music rights (perhaps you remember the track from Garden State?) C'est...



I declare Shunt to be the coolest, least talked about, club in London. It's one part experimental art gallery, one part spooky underground labyrinth, and a liberal dash of dance dance revolution - how could I not have ended up here sooner?

Luckily, I found myself at Shunt on Wednesday for the first time thanks to Chris, the founder of an innovative video company Invisibility, who invited me to come see his film-light-art installation about London's G20 protests on exhibition this week.

I have to say, as I wandered down a deserted tunnel towards Shunt's unmarked entrance, I wondered what exactly I was in for... but once inside, my mouth dropped. Walking into this crypt-like venue is like passing through the gates into London's underworld. The club is located in the miles of twisting catacombs that make up the underbelly of London Bridge (and I do mean, it's literally under the bridge) and there is a whole expansive maze of brick-lined, cathedral-ceiling corridors and rooms. It would be very very easy to get lost in here, left in here... possibly even become fodder for rats in here, but that's also what makes Shunt so amazingly cool.

However, be warned, you must experience this unique club while you can... yet another extraordinary novelty of Shunt is that it was always intended to be a temporary venue... you have till July 18.

Now, go forth and be amazed.

All Good Things...

So the sisters' venture is over. After our country stint we wandered down through Bath, past Stonehenge, and then spent a few remaining days exploring London's "must-sees" (well, according to the guidebooks). It was sad to see my mom and aunt go... I think we'll all cherish the once-in-a-lifetime sisters visit. A few pics of our trip's final leg follow.


The famous Pump Room... where the fashionable of Bath have spent many an afternoon as far back as the 18th Century.

The Pump Room's Main Event: A fish fountain dispensing healthy spa water.

Care for a glass of "Bath" water?

Mmmm.... warm, brimming with minerals, and tastes like fish!

Our glasses of health: only 50p a piece.

The clear-away tray... evidence suggests most people could not bear to finish their glass of warm water with its minerally aftertaste.

Enjoying tea and finger sandwiches - some of The Pump Room's more edible offerings.

Yep... that green pool is the source of our spa water; should have known there'd be a questionable aftertaste!

Jane Austen's street.

Stonehenge...from the fence *again* - I vow that the next time I'm here, it will be before the park has closed!

Mom and LeAnn taking in the mysterious stone vista.

Taking tea in the living room at the Soho Hotel - we got so comfortable, we were here for five hours!

Changing of the Guard formation in front of Buckingham Palace - where I discovered that this rather dull and uneventful charade can actually be enjoyable (tip: arrive around 12:30... by then everybody else has gotten bored and left so it's none-too-crowded, plus there's actually something happening!)

Toy solidiers.

The most stellar department store in London (and best-kept secret from the tourists...)

Laduree Tea Room at Harrods (the least stellar high-end department store in London - and no secret from tourists) - where Mom and Aunt LeAnn had their first experience with bona fide French macaroons (the ones that have aboslutely nothing to do with coconut.)

Inside the Tower of London.

The Tower of London's Yeoman Guards - aka Beefeaters... so-called because a ration of beef from the King's table is part of their salary.

Tudor House inside the Tower of London - built for the unfortuante Ms. Boleyn, who was executed before it was completed.

Scene from our final Duo Sisters Meal in London: decent Thai springrolls (for London) at Busaba Eathai in Soho.

One of the Oldest Pub's in London... and a favourite of Dickens, Twain, Tennyson... not to mention, two random dudes who quized my Mom about religion on her last night in town... need I go on?

Our final outing: we were too late for pudding, so we merely paused to sit where literary royalty (and probably actual royalty) has sat at Ye Olde Chesire Cheese.

Encounters: Both Regal & Benal

It feels like we've driven to the very edge of the world and back during some of our countryside excursions... and mind you, Kasey, our chauffeur, has done so on the wrong side of the road with a sticky manual transition - a far from pleasant task for any driver native to the US.

But the adventure has taken us far afield and down narrow passages and to sites we'd never otherwise see. Enjoy!

Sudeley Castle - former home of one of Henry the Eighth's wives - who survived!

Peacocks roam the grounds like mobile floral sculptures: their regal presence a true mark of the household's level of nobility.

When they start screeching though, it's pretty disconcerting.

Some of Sudeley Castle's ruins... um, apparently the UK had a civil war?

Staircase to nowhere? Or just more ruins?

Tulips - my absolute favourite.

Through the hedges... the Queen's Way!

Knot garden.

The very charming Broadway Delicatessen, which packs an enormously exotic variety of goods in its tiny space.

Even if you seek a very particular sort of spice, they've got it: fennel from Egypt... fennel from Turkey...

Oh! The endless fields of sheep... when we got out and started walking among them, I just went crazy!

Who is she? And what is she looking at?

Little babes taking a romp.

Charming little cottage tucked down a very narrow lane.

The smart way to travel 'round the hills and shires.

LeAnn diving into her first (and rather successful) English pud experience at The Pudding Club: a trio of Banana-Cinnamon, Chocolate, and of course, Sticky Toffee!

Painswick church.

They say there's always just 99 trees here... even when they've tried planting another, the devil always steals it away... and still we dared to tread here.

Bah, bah, black sheep... just had to end here!