Random Observation/Comment #147: London is surprisingly similar to Manhattan. I was trying to notice particular differences in dress code, train etiquette, bluntness factor, and humor levels, but I found it very difficult to get a general consensus. I made the mistake of trying to break my stereotypes by forming new, yet slightly more positive and generic stereotypes. Although this was fun within my mind, I felt like I should apologize for my cheap laughs at the city’s expense. Like all major cities, this place is a melting pot of excitement with different personalities at every corner. Besides the differences in pronunciation of words (which can be argued to be more, or less, correct) and odd usage of nouns (which is beyond entertaining to learn), London-ites/-ers/-ies are city-folk. And like all city-folk, we’re absorbed in a work life with all of the common side effects, starting with a nine hour headache and followed by heavy drinking. By the way, Europeans are alcoholics – FACT. Cheers, mate :).
It’s been close to a week and I haven’t posted anything that I’ve written because of the inconsistent internet connections. As I remember from Japan, this occurred during my last month, which included the 2-week tour and remaining two weeks of ridiculous times. In no way did I want to suppress any of my long-winded expressions, so that last month of traveling took the subsequent three months to completely describe. I mentioned in these entries’ conclusion that the writing sessions, written during my “train ride streams of consciousnesses,” teleported me back to each particular experience focused on the entry. This made me feel like I had never left Japan. The extended period of time writing about each random observation/conclusion effectively prolonged my vacation. Whether this continuous flashback of events was productive to my master’s semester is arguable.
Of course, the best part is: if I ever want to go back, all I have to do is read my entries. It’s funny how these sentences flood my mind with vivid memories. Each thought can be pulled as a CG-enhanced strand (like in the new Harry Potter movie – you know what I’m talking about) from these paragraphs. This is why all of my entries are written in one-sitting, and I refrain from using the backspace key. As I read back, this paragraph looks like a mess of green and red swiggley underlines (I can’t believe swiggley is not a word). Although it’s more susceptible to rants and randomness, it maintains my thoughts in raw form – meaning, if I were trying to explain this to you in person before I wrote this, I would probably use the same phrases and metaphors. Anyway…
The bullet-point version of this trip is being maintained in an excel sheet with the columns labeled: day number, date, country, planned event, sleeping in, travel by, hours traveling, actual events, money spent, and money calculations. This is a great way to keep your spending in check and jolt your memory by simply stating what you did for the day. Sometimes the shortest descriptions can bring back entire conversations. Memory works in mysterious ways; the key, however, is to optimize for your personal usage.
I will use this first entry as an overview of what has happened in London so far and then write chronologically. There will be some intermediate side updates depending on my current location, but I will try not to skip around. I will try even harder to be concise, but from previous trends, that doesn’t always work.
Day 0: Wake up at noon; fly from JFK at 9PM for 6 hours.
Day 1: Arrive in London at 9AM; meet up and drop heavy luggage off with couchsurfing buddy*; check-in to St Christopher’s Village Hostel*; walk along South Bank to Tate Modern*; explore Tate Modern with Anca; sleep at 9PM (awake 30 hours*)
Day 2: 11AM free royal tour*; met Iowa State students; Brick Lane for Indian food; Covent Garden window shopping; Piccadilly circus; Regents Ave; Belushi’s pub*; met Norwegian teachers*
Day 3: 10AM Old city London tour*; National gallery*; nap; dinner with Norwegians; drinking at hostel
Day 4: Wake up in afternoon; Borough market for kangaroo burger*; walk all the way to Westminster Abbey service at 5:30PM*; Drinks with Anca; Drinks at hostel
Day 5: Saturday morning check out of hostel; check-in to international student house*; walk for 3 hours for St Paul’s Cathedral service* and best fish and chips*;
Day 6: British Museum*; Regents park; ping pong!*
Planned Day 7: National History Museum, Science Museum, Hyde Park, sleep early
Planned Day 8: Wake up at 7AM to get a 10:30 flight to Hamburg
Since my trip in London is coming to an end in two days, I can form a general closing statement about London. Although the weather can be gloomy, the beautiful scenery from the Thames River and old-style buildings make this an amazing place to feed all of your photography needs. I tend to judge cities by the number of “optimized date trips” I can mentally form (A separate entry will obviously be devoted to my version of these date trips). I must admit that this city has left me impressed. If I got to know this place better, I think it has potential to trump my NYC count ;).
~See Lemons in London
* Details of what I learned throughout these days will be split into other entries. There’s a lot to write about… Good times.