Thursday, January 26, 2012

Sleepwalking to Nando's

My internal clock is still off: today I woke at six a.m., stumbled around in the dark for an hour or two, and by nine I'd had breakfast and wanted to go back to bed to sleep for the rest of the day.

However, since I had exactly the same experience every day in Seattle and in Hong Kong, I don't think this is jet lag. It's just inconvenient.

The sky over London is bright and blue today; there's the promise of it being warm - warm! - in January. It's a few degrees cooler than Hong Kong, the unlikely result of it being stupidly cold in the fragrant harbour and unseasonably warm in England.

Yesterday it was a bit chillier, and we'd gone to Nando's, the chicken chain that now has a claw in Beckenham high street. Everything at Nando's comes with peri peri sauce: the chicken, the chips, the houmous. (They don't have hummus at Nando's, but perhaps I should have asked.) You can probably get a milkshake with peri peri stirred into it, if you're very good, and then finish things off with a hot sauce sundae.

Not wanting to boast, but I requested hot, while my wife would only go for medium. This was odd for two reasons: firstly, my wife can eat hot food while if I have anything with even a hint of spice, I lose the power of speech, my face turns purple and I begin to sweat like a madman.

Secondly, I've been hurt before. I went to the Nando's in Islington a few years ago, and ordered something that was hot. Hot? It was thermonuclear. Halfway into it I had to get up, go outside, buy some milk and come back in, weeping, to find that the woman I was with at the time had not only told everyone else in the restaurant that I couldn't handle the heat, but had also eaten all my chips.

Bitter? No, just milk.

However, the spice thermostat must be calibrated differently in Beckenham; apart from a few hiccups and a slight flicker of tingling pain on my lips, nothing. Or I've become an insensate beast, dead to feeling and emotion, capable only of shuddering and roaring as I crash and bang through my existence.

And on that cheery note, we went off to the V&A today.


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