Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Oxford Eye Candy

October 8th

It’s 11:43am England time. I put on makeup while waiting for my suitcase to materialize at the baggage claim, exchange money, and pay £26 for a return bus ticket to Oxford – the best deal around. It takes me a while to find the bus and figure out the system. I love traveling, but I’m not a very good traveler. I ask for directions and look lost a lot (though only in safe places like airports – I fake confidence on the street since looking lost in a city is begging for trouble). But, here I am, on the bus, and it is a crisp, crystal clear, bright October day. Not a rain cloud in sight. The bus driver is very funny, every word is sarcastic or understated. I’m enjoying myself immensely and trying very hard not to show it. I don’t want to spook the natives with too much open adoration.

The bus drops me off at the Gloucester Green station an hour earlier than expected. Xander and Miranda, my friends and gracious hosts here, can’t meet me for another hour and a half so I wander around the market square. On Wednesdays the square hosts an antiques market and there is plenty to see. I briefly consider taking pictures of the bizarre, inexplicable 1930s kitchen gadgets for my blog, but opt for a latte and people watching instead. A group of young middle-eastern men are giving me the once-over and seem to be debating whether or not I have been staring at them. I start walking before they can make up their minds.

I walk, hoping to find an internet café, until I discover that my feet know where they are going. I get this feeling a lot in England. Even if I’m in a town or city that I’ve never been in before, I can easily find my way around. This never happens to me in LA. I’ve been to Oxford a total of 3 daytrips over the past 6 years, which isn’t enough for me to have developed a map in my head. My feet, however, lead me straight down George Street and when I stop walking, I find myself staring up at the giant spire of the Martyr’s Memorial – the first structure I remember seeing in Oxford 6 years ago. I find the restaurant my Contiki tour ate in, the church I took pictures of, and I know exactly how to get back to the bus station – which is important because my cell phone doesn’t work here and pay phones baffle me.

I sit on the steps of the spire and fight the urge to take pictures of all the beautiful men here. There are equal numbers of beautiful women, but for obvious reasons, I pay them less attention. I’ve seen around five sexy grownup Harry Potter types, one Cedric type (aka Edward from Twilight), the rebellious intellectual, long-haired types, and my favorite: the tousled brown, curly hair that’s slightly too long type, wearing a long flappy coat. Rawr.

Unfortunately, the only males staring at me are the pigeons parked next to me on the steps. And maybe the guy who just walked by…maybe.

Not that I’m looking for romance. I have the best boyfriend in the world who would fit right in at Oxford. But I haven’t seen this much eye candy since I studied abroad in London 3 years ago, and I plan to enjoy it.

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