Tag Archives: London

Day 11 – London

In the early early morning I arrived at the Victoria station. I had no idea where I was staying, or if Jo was going to be able to accommodate me. I kind of like that last minute planning. I went to an internet cafe where I got Jo’s number, and made a couple posts to this journal. Called Jo and found that I did not have a place, and that we’d meet at 12:30 at the Bond Street station. Then the phone call ran out. Unfortunately I didn’t remember what specifics of WHERE at the Bond Street station she said. That would come into play later. Anyhow, the phone ate an entire pound of mine, which is 2 dollars US. I then went to Waterloo and reserved a train ticket for Brussels on the 10th. Went to Bond street and hung around. Got a bagel and butter, and some tea, and it was so much more expensive than it should have been. I realized that it was a bit sketchy to be hanging around the station for another hour, so I decided to take the Circle Line all around.

Which I did. I thought it would have been faster, but it wasn’t. As I was getting on, I met this cute stereotypical british grandmother and she said she didn’t know, it might take me as much as three quarters of an hour to go around. But she said it in that great British way. Anyhow, got about halfway through and decided that was enough time wasting and came back. Then met with Jo, and we went to her friend’s place. Her friend had moved out, but the room was still rented so I used the wireless there, reserved a hostel for the night, and we hung out with Jo’s other friend (who’s name I forget).

We then went out walking, and got some fish and chips. Jo got the fish and chips, and I got a meat pie and chips. They didn’t give me a fork! Yeah, anyhow, we went to the London Bridge area and walked around. Reserved tickets at the Globe theater. Walked along the river. Then we got to the Eye of London, which we didn’t go on because it was expensive. Then went to Big Ben and Parliament, which was touristy. Then we walked through miles and miles of park. Saw people skating, saw lots of bird poop, and relaxed. I was having difficulty with my knee, but it was alright after a while.

Then we went to Chinatown, which isn’t anything up to the standards of Chinatowns set by the US. But it was pretty good none the less. Except the food we had wasn’t that great. The meet wasn’t really warm and the sauce was pretty… meh. But it was cheap.

We had some time to kill so we made our way to the hostel and checked me in. That was a little confusing but we made it. After that we went out to meet Jo’s friends at a club in SoHo. That was a bit fun except it was very difficult for me to hear things there. When Jo got up to leave I followed suit and went back to the hostel.

At the hostel I put my stuff down and headed to the bar to meet people. And of course I did. I met a guy named Eric(k) who was from north north Canada, like an island up in the really cold part. He was half Innuit and half Norwegian. Fun guy, and we were joined by Wade and Lisa from Australia. They were pretty drunk, but we wanted to find more alcohol since the bar had closed.

We went out on a trip to find said alcohol, and ran into a 24 hour store where this Indian guy said his brother who owned a store down the street could get us stuff if we told him Roger sent us. I found a great small bottle of Jameson for 9 pounds, which is cheap for London. We hung out in an alleyway, and then went down to find anywhere else open. We found a gambling center and went in. We were the only people there so we hung out with the staff. Eric made a ton of money, but everyone else lost a bunch. I sacrificed 5 pounds for the hell of it. They had free food so I took advantage of that.

Eventually started heading back. We ran into this girl who asked Eric for some money, and he, being innocent and from a place where people don’t get cheated that often, decided to give her some, but he didn’t have change, only a 20. So she followed him to a store where he got some change, and accidentally gave her a lot more money than he meant to. When he asked for it back she said to piss off and some accomplice of hers came along and also joined in telling him off. I wasn’t there, I had continued walking to the hostel trying to avoid all this, and only heard about it later. Ugh, early morning what nots.

Got back and went to sleep

Day 12 – London

Woke up a lot later than I wanted to. But that’s always fine. I got on the internet and checked messages, so I found out where Eileen lived and decided to go there and knock on the door instead of calling her first. Unfortunately she couldn’t hear the buzzer so I called her anyway. The telephones in London always eat a pound.
We hung out, went down the street to the T, and then went to this park area to have a bit of food. I had a Lentil and Bacon soup, with a piece of bread. It was really good actually. Kinda weird. But good.
Then went to Trafalgar Square. Went to the National Gallery and walked around looking at as much as we could, but then we were ushered out because they’re mean, and they close at 5. I just got a glimpse at one of Van Gogh’s Sunflower paintings before an old man creeped up behind me and scared the hell out of me saying “We’re closing! Get out!” (basically).

Then we went to Liecester Square and Covent Gardens. Looked around at the shops. Walked through Malaysia week. That was fun, and we relaxed a bit cause my knee hurt so much. But eventually got up and got some pizza. Then back to her place where we drank Becks and watched TV with her roommates. This show, Big Brother, is just absolutely weird. I don’t really see the appeal. Anyhow, we then decided to go out on the town to find things to do with one of her roommates. We went down this really creepy street and was almost attacked by a homeless person, but thankfully I was there to fend him off! Actually we just walked by him and he stared at us. Eventually found our way back to life, and took a break at McDonalds. Then I walked them home, and quickly went back to the tube station because it was past midnight. I actually got the last last LAST train back to the hostel, which was amazingly lucky since it came just 2 minutes after I got to the station.

I went back to the hostel and hung out at the bar with more people. I think that night I hung out with the Irish kids. They were fun people.

And then night.

Day 13 – London

Up and auuuugh knee. I don’t really know why, but it hurts so much in the mornings. This was probably the worst day of my knee hurting. Anyhow, I got organized and went out to the Tate Modern. I walked around the surrealist artwork and thought a lot about meta artwork and I think about now I understand it. Modern art is something you love to hate. You can act like you understand it, but so often artists are trying to challenge the idea of what art is that the meer act of modern art is so repeated and lame. What I see is people (around my age) walking around the museum making fun of the art. They poke fun at the pieces of art and do things like pretending that gallery furniture are also pieces of art, or claim that they could make artwork like that. But that’s the whole point of the art, it’s to make people joke about it, and talk about it. So in being terrible, it achieves its purpose. Capisce?

Anyhow, got some snacks (forgetting I had bought a cheap plain bagel before getting there) and ate that. Then I remembered hearing from the Irish kids the previous night I should check out the Camden area (I had written in large letters on my arm “CAMDEN”, which helped in remembering…). So I went over there and wow, punk as fuck. Never before have I seen so much black clothing in one area, not even in the Harvard Square Pit. That was kind of cool to walk around, and I bought myself a black patrol hat since my green one was too big and this one was adjustable. I also bought a really really cheap and fun watch with this cartoon football (soccer) guy and he’s kicking a ball. 2 pounds, which was a rip off, but it was alright. They had a nice square with a river going through and a bridge and I chilled there for a bit.

Then I went off to meet Jo for our Shakespeare adventure. We met at Bond Street and left for London Bridge. Walked around looking for cheap good food and found this really amazing middle eastern place. I can’t remember the name of the place, but it was right next to the theater. I got Kiymali? Fantastic, and reasonable pricing. After that we went over to the nearby Gelateria and got some amazing ice cream. So good.

Headed into the Globe Theater, and it was amazing. Everything is rebuilt to look like the original Globe Theater used in Shakespeare time. We were sitting on the very left of the theater, so we watched the whole play horizontally, which was different. Apparently the show was delayed a bit because one of the actors had an accident and they were getting someone to stand in for them. Oh, the show we saw was Merchant of Venice. Basically, I had an amazing time. This was a completely different experience than any other sort of theatrical performance I’ve been to. They did stuff with minimal props, I couldn’t see the background, the actors were so much more lively, two of the actors were reading from scripts (to make up for those that were not there), and it was all just so reliant on the imagination of the viewer that it turned out being great. I wish theater was more like this in fact. Well done.

Ok, so we left, Jo and I parted ways, and I went back to the hostel. That night I believe I hung out with these Estonians, who were very friendly, and we asked all about each others’ cultures.

Day 14 – London

By this day my knee really didn’t hurt as much, which was awesome. That day I went on the Free Tour of London. I had to do something at the hostel, can’t remember exactly what, but I headed off to the meeting place pretty early. But because the Tube was shut down in some places I had to take the long way and just barely made it. Also my camera didn’t have batteries for the first part of the tour so I couldn’t take pictures.

The Free Tour was amazing. The guide knew so much about the place and was so enthusiastic. I feel like this free tour idea is great because the guides have to work that much harder to guilt trip you into giving them a lot of money. So we went from monument to monument talking about each thing. Apparently London is full of fires. Everything has burned to the ground a few times and more. But the weirdest thing about our tour was that EVERYTHING was happening in London that day. We ran into a protest of the Isreal Palestine conflict, which was huge and a bit strange for me. In terms of that thing, I believe too many people don’t realize how absolutely complicated the situation is. Anyhow, after that we had lunch and Malaysia week was going on. There was some good Malaysian music there which I listened in on. Then in Trafalgar Square we ran into the protest again, but right after that we were about to cross the road when a huge parade of nude bicyclists rode by! Hundreds of naked people on bikes passing by us. That was entertaining. But we couldn’t cross. We waited and waited and naked people just kept on riding by without end. Then one guy fell down, so we took that as a chance to get by, as bad as that may have been. A few blocks later we saw a wedding couple getting photos taken, and a block or two later we saw the changing of the horse guards. The queen was in apparently and something was happening there, but we missed that. Then ANOTHER parade was just leaving Westminster Church as we got there. We got to hear the drum club making the exit. So all in all a lot happened on that tour. I gave a good tip.

After that I was a bit tired so I went to Green Park and hung out. Then went back to the hostel after picking up some small souvenirs and meat pastries. I had called Jo and she said she and some friends were going to see a movie that night, but looking at the situation I decided it wouldn’t be easy for me to go. It was out of the zones covered by my pass, and it would have gotten out later than the underground ran, so it would have been a lot of work to get back, and I was also pretty tired already. Oh well. Movies can be seen everywhere.

Back at the hostel I hung out with a guy from Denmark and another from Australia, and we were soon joined by another Australian and a New Zealander. That was a good time where I learned “SkoolforDenmark” which is like Cheers to Denmark, which actually has become a very useful phrase since then…
I also hung out with the Estonians some more that night. Different ones from the same group. And it got late, and we all went to bed.

I’ve gotten the feeling that Europe is made for lovers. Walking around that day, and walking around over the past few days, there have been so many locations, so many events, so many things that are made for couples. Maybe I should bookmark some of these locations in my mind, and maybe someday I’ll go on a world-wide honeymoon.