Time (Zone) Travel

Fasten your seatbelts kiddies, and ladies get out your gowns. Men pack their polos (shirts, that is) and black ties. We took off on a journey through eight time zones this summer and here we are, reliving it with you, dear readers. From Los Angeles to New York to London, our first stop, New York, welcomed us with 98 degree heat.

We enjoyed the New York Athletic Club for the two days we were there in their grand location in Central Park. The Fourth of July weekend was a slow time in the city that never sleeps. We wandered around, but we couldn’t find a place to eat so we ate in the lobby of the Ritz Carlton, which turned out to be absolutely marvelous. We highly recommend dining there. The next day we went to the musical, “The Fantasticks,” one of the few shows where the theatre experience was available to us.

Since the supersonic Concorde jets are no more, we decided to take a slow boat to England. So on Tuesday, we went to Brooklyn and embarked on the Queen Mary II for our voyage to Southampton. When you’re on board this mother of ocean liners, unpack your prettiest, get fancied up (black tie and all), and enjoy the ride. It was a wonderful voyage except for the fact that the ship is so large and we were at one end and we always wanted to go to the other, and that in itself was a challenge. We thought moving walkways would be a great addition to the ship’s many fine qualities. As with all cruise experiences, you dine, meet people, and then you eat some more. The cuisine and the service and the appointments were lovely and the ambiance was great. We chose a table for seven in the Queen’s Grill and our companions were interesting and we all enjoyed the Grill very much.

One of our new friends was Dutch, who lived in San Francisco. It turned out he had been unable to fly due to the Iceland volcano ash and decided to take the Queen.

Six days later, we disembarked at Southampton and were taken by car to the Sloane in London and enjoyed the great comforts of this fine English club and partook in the glamour of great dining and cuisine.

Harrod’s huge department store in London is a city unto itself. You can absolutely get lost wandering around the departments, all the people are most helpful and all the great fashion designers are present, so we whiled away a lot of hours (and money) there. We had to buy a duffle bag to carry all the Harrod’s goodies.

George Bernard Shaw said America and England are two countries separated by a common language, and we found that very true when it came to the theatre experiences we had. On our first evening, we went to a marvelous rendition of “Sweet Charity,” with an all-American cast that spoke English we could understand.

The following night we had Goldilocks’ luck and got it just right’ in seeing “War Horse,” which we loved. We think it will be the rage of the American theatre, as it is already a smash on the London stage. It was the best anti-war production we’ve ever seen.

We liked that the production did not use any real animals, which is a great plus for all of us animal activists who do not want to see animals used or abused. There are two men disguised as horses in this fabulous play and, boy, you never knew the difference. You had to really look to see four legs dangling down.

Afterwards we went back to the Sloane for our supper and that was the last experience of our time zone tour. Even though we’re home, we feel like we never really left Harrod’s.

If you care to comment about this column, please e-mail me at pattebarham@hotmail.com.

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