Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994

Archive for June, 2010

Guys reading books in the queue at Wimbledon

June 27, 2010 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Places, Tennis, Traveling 10 Comments →

Few things will get me out of bed at 4 am and Wimbledon is one of them. On Saturday morning we stood—sat—lay down—in the queue for tickets for three and a half hours in the blazing sunshine.

Three-and-a-half-hour queues and blazing sunshine are two of my least favorite things, but the experience was strangely fun. For starters this crowd (My number in the queue was 6,169 and I was in the middle) was probably the best-looking, most international one I’ve ever stood in. We figured it was because the people who travel all the way to London to watch Federer and company would tend to be serious tennis fans, probably play tennis themselves, and are therefore sporty/athletic/fit, properly-nourished, with massive doses of Vitamin D and calcium in their diets.

Amber brought up an interesting factoid: One is more likely to meet a potential partner in Wimbledon than on an Internet dating site. I believe that factoid. Warning: These guys are in the full bloom of youth and at the peak of their beauty, but they will pay for all that sun exposure and alcohol consumption eventually and may no longer look like that when they hit 30.

To take my mind off the fact that I was frying in the sun despite slathering on the sunblock and wearing my fabulous hat (When I left the house this morning my skin tone was yellowish cappucino and now I am a Cafe Americano with a teaspoon of milk)

I walked around the grounds and took pictures. A while ago Kermit introduced me to one of my favorite blogs: Hot Guys Reading Books, a site devoted to—hot guys reading books. The mere idea that there are attractive men out there turning pages always cheers me up. So I snapped photos of the guys I spotted reading books in the Wimbledon Queue, and I’m going to submit them to HGRB.

Not only is this guy reading a book, he’s reading in mid-crunch. Mind-blowing.

My favorite: Hot guy in Panama hat reading Cormac McCarthy!

More photos later, plus Fabio Fognini! PPLUN (Pangalan pa lang, ulam na).

Endangered bookstores

June 26, 2010 By: jessicazafra Category: Books 2 Comments →

I didn’t see a bookstore called 84 Charing Cross Road (a movie from the 1980s starring Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins which some of my friends consider the very definition of ‘romantic’ but which I’ve never been able to sit through), but I did see some well-known antiquarian bookshops.


Henry Pordes

Any Amount of Books

Read about the bibliocide on Charing Cross Road in the Guardian.

I had just come from a Fred Perry store and was browsing in the second-hand bookshops when a very old man pointed to my shopping bag and said, “Fred Perry!” I nodded politely and edged sideways out the door. In the next store I was looking at some very old Baedeker travel guides when another ancient pointed to my shopping bag and said, “Fred Perry!” Maybe they were his classmates.

Speaking of that brand, I found out the other day that Jappy who owns the stores in Manila had a seat in the sponsors’ box in Wimbledon. I hate you, Jappy. I hate you with a fury.

Meanwhile we proles must wake up at 5am tomorrow to line up for tickets to the tennis. Good night.

London, 12.58pm

June 25, 2010 By: jessicazafra Category: Places, Shopping, Traveling 6 Comments →

Almost the first words one hears in London:

I am staying in a house with a red door. The building is very old and the residents are forbidden to change the facade in any way.

We started watching the Nadal v. Haase on TV but after Haase won the first set (How dare these lowly-ranked players play so fearlessly against the topseeds, it’s wonderful) my friend got so tense that we had to go out. We ended up at Selfridge’s where there is a massive sale on designer items. (All the stores are having sales, it must be the season). Christian Louboutins are going for 150 pounds, down from 500 or so (Conversion rate: about 67 pesos to the pound, and it used to be 104). They could be going for 150 pesos and I’m still not wearing heels.

The very first hat I tried on fit my head! And it wasn’t at some fancy millinery, it was Uniqlo. My giant head loves London.

Who are these people behind the police barrier, was there a riot?

No, they’re people falling in line for iPhone 4.0. This scene was repeated in every Apple store I saw.

In Soho by the sex shops and gay bars, this group was praying for the souls of the damned, presumably the patrons of the sex shops and gay bars. Funny that they should gather outside a shop called Snog. They look like they’re praying for a snog.

The streets were teeming with people, and it was a Thursday.

Maybe they were celebrating the start of summer, or (still) drinking to England qualifying for the knockout stage of the World Cup, or tourists, or just getting out of the house because it was hot.

London, 3.45pm

June 24, 2010 By: jessicazafra Category: Places, Tennis, Traveling 2 Comments →

I’m glad I wasn’t at Wimbledon for the tennis reenactment of Waiting for Godot starring Nicolas Mahut and John Isner. At the 6-hour mark I’d be ready to kill myself or, more likely, others.

Got off the ship at 9am, made my way to London, and now I’m in Hampstead with Rian and Bo…watching the start of the 11th hour of Waiting for Someone’s Serve to Fail Him Once, but on TV. How can those guys be walking, let alone playing tennis? They should be masses of pain. Their aches should have aches. Amazing.

On the train we spotted this guy.

This is a stolen snapshot using my phone, but you can see the resemblance, right? Right? He looks like Roger Federer. (And this is not a flattering photo. Also, my friend has seen The Fed and says he looks ten times better in person, and my friend is a Rafael Nadal fan.) The longer we stared at him the more he looked like Roger. He and his friend sounded American.

Isner won. Fifth set: 70-68.

Southampton, 3pm-ish

June 24, 2010 By: jessicazafra Category: Places, Traveling 10 Comments →

What is that looming over the arrivals and departures area like Megamall on the water?

It’s the shiny new Norwegian Epic—and by ‘epic’ they mean EPIC—cruise ship on its maiden voyage from Southampton.

This was my stateroom, number 13261

And this was my balcony, where I could sit and gaze at. . .water.

I thought I could liveblog the cruise, which is what bloggers are supposed to do, but that didn’t work out so my report on the Norwegian Epic will appear when I get home. For now let me say that one, the boat redefines all my notions of ginormousness, and two, there’s no drunken revelry like drunken revelry out at sea with 24-hour open bar. All superegos were shut down, it was a shipload of ids. It was insane. And I have evidence.

London, 9.45pm: More information than anyone needs.

June 22, 2010 By: jessicazafra Category: Places, Traveling 7 Comments →

I have decided to be cheerful. My resolve has been tested. At dinner at a noodle place in HK airport, I ordered a deep-fried pancake with red bean paste. A single drop of red bean paste landed on my left pinky and set it on fire. I applied ice to the tiny burn, but every time I took the ice off the pain would start all over again, and let me tell you, between physical pain and emotional pain, I can deal with the latter better. At least it’s poetic, whereas whining about a tiny scald is just infantile. Fortunately the lady from the Bulletin was carrying a full first-aid kit with a gel for bruises. Two applications and the pain went away. I knew someone who got third-degree burns from the filling of a Belgian waffle. Food is dangerous.

Despite the stupid injury dinner turned out to be an excellent idea, because the flight to London was delayed to 3am, and all the shops and restaurants in the airport closed at 11.30pm. After that, sections of the airport turn into international refugee camps—stranded passengers sprawled on the seats, families with small children huddled under jackets. I killed the extra two and a half hours easily enough—free wifi and a long walk.

At 2.30am we boarded the plane and the pilot apologized for the wait—it was an engineering problem. We would take off in 15 minutes. Fifteen minutes later the pilot apologized again because their other plane to London had also developed an engineering problem, and now they were moving as many passengers from that flight onto our flight. Ten minutes later another apology, which now struck me as fake. If the airline were really sorry, they would give us free tickets.

Also they would advise their flight attendants not to throw the food trays at the passengers. Why are they grumpy, we’re the ones who had to wait three hours. At take-off I passed out, was awakened for the dinner I didn’t eat, passed out again, woke up five hours later, then passed out until breakfast. I had to ask for coffee because they didn’t serve it.

We landed in London at 9.15am, cleared immigration in 40 minutes, claimed our luggage and got to the Sheraton Skyline near the airport before 11am. The weather is sunny but a cool 16-22 degrees. Of course our rooms were not ready, check-in was at 2pm. We could look for the other media group, which was doing a day tour of London, or have lunch nearby. Two options: McDonald’s or the local pub.

The local pub is called The Pheasant. It is old-fashioned, picturesque, and popular among the natives, who started arriving for the Portugal-North Korea World Cup match. Two men were explaining to a woman the difference between football and rugby. I suspect she already knew but was making them feel useful. One must do this around Y-chromosomes. The staff at The Pheasant is pleasant, the service efficient, the food. . .well the portions are huge. I ordered a grilled lamb burger, and after ten minutes of chewing I still hadn’t made a dent on the serving.

1pm we returned to the Sheraton Skyline and more waiting. 2pm came, rooms still not ready. The desk gave us complimentary coffees at the bar, which was tended by Ms Clarinda of Batac, Ilocos Norte, who has lived in the UK for 23 years.

Dorski texted that Roger Federer was trailing in his first-round match at Wimbledon, two sets to love. Three other people texted the dire news. I knew what I had to do. When the room key was finally handed over at around 3pm, I told the organizers that I would skip the day tour; I would prefer to meet London when I had showered and brushed my teeth. (We had been in transit for nearly 36 hours. Yucch.)

I dashed to the room, turned on the TV, and saw the Fed about to lose his serve at 4-4 in the third, what the hell was going on. Lately Roger has been losing matches he would usually win without breaking a sweat—I blame it on contentment. Personal happiness is not a great motivator; what a competitor needs is rage and hunger. Otherwise pride will have to do. I watched the game until Roger got out of the pit, and when I figured he was safe I went and showered off the 36-hour journey. (Recycled air. Yucch.)

When I got out, Falla was serving for the match in the fourth set. What! Clearly I would have to sit down and pay attention to every point. Roger was making too many errors but the real problem was Falla, who was playing insanely well. Every time Roger recovered, Falla refused to be demoralized. He wasn’t going away; the Fed would have to show up. The fourth set went to a tiebreak, then Fed finally showed up—3 hours late, but just in time. The fifth set was a bagel.

And that was my first day in London.

* * * * *

Din, the answer is: It’s free.

* * * * *

This just in: The cruise will be delayed for 8 hours. Still strangely cheerful.