Where Everyone Speaks My Language Dec 7

I arrived in London on November 20th traveling through the English Channel by train. It was dark when I arrived at St. Pancras station in London and very cold. I booked a hotel for the night since all the decent hostels were booked for Saturday night.

I booked a twin room the night before on Expedia. When I arrived, they told me the only room they had left was a double. Fantastic – free upgrade! Sadly, it was a smoker’s room and in the basement. Therefore, I had a nice room but it smelled like old smoke. Nevertheless, I still have my own bathroom! Showering in hostels hasn’t been the greatest of pleasures.

I unpacked quickly and went for a walk. The street near my hotel was filled with restaurants and shops. At one end was a mall, and at the other end was restaurants and gift shops. I decided to walk down the restaurant side to find a fish and chips. I surveyed all the restaurants twice because I couldn’t figure out which restaurant to dine at. After the second trip down the street, I was famished and entered the nearest shop with fish and chips. I ordered the fish and chips plate but it was horrible. I’m not sure what happened to the fish. The fish seemed like it was a week old, and the batter was brittle and over cooked. Everytime I cut into the fish the batter cracked and crumbled. I didn’t order fish and chips again while in London. I’ll stick to the fish and chips from Auckland. After dinner I went back to the hotel and fell asleep.

The second day, I had to pack my bags and head over to my hostel where I booked two more nights. I arrived early at the hostel, but my room wasn’t ready. Instead, I dropped my bags off and went to explore London. The hostel was close to London’s Regent Street – aka the big shopping street. Since Regent St. had global brand stores, I immediately looked for the Apple store. I know, I’m such a geek.

I needed to buy a new pair of iPhone earbuds. One of the earbuds was losing sound, so it felt like I was deaf in one ear when I used them. I also needed to buy a new iPhone adapter since I left the one I had in Florence. Okay, the real reason was I was feeling homesick, and what better way to remind me than to shop at an Apple Store! The Apple Store in London was setup just like San Francisco’s Market St Apple Store except it was 2-3 times as big. There’s a large glass staircase in the middle, all the accessories were on the second floor, and the main attractions on the first floor. Anyways, I walked out with the adapter and new earbuds. Immediately after I exited the store I realized how dumb I was for buying something I can’t fit in my pockets. I have to carry this Apple bag all over London in the cold. Obviously, I could have walked back to the hostel, but I was already too far. Alright, it wasn’t that far, but I couldn’t be bothered to walk back.

After Regent Street, I headed over to some monuments, Big Ben, London’s Eye and South Bank. I know, I know. That was horrendous writing – not that my other sentences were any better, but I wasn’t with a tour guide and I don’t have anything interesting to say about these different sites. So, instead, I’ll just show you some pictures!

Big Ben!

Sun! In London! The natives were running around like chickens with their heads cut off after seeing this sight. I don’t think they knew what the sun looked like.

The Monument for the Bali attacks.

The London Eye. I love the weather, don’t you? That was sarcasm.

On my third day, I visited the old castle and Tower Bridge. Again, my words are worthless compared to my pictures – which are only slightly better than worthless. Have a look!

The old castle

Fun little canons

Tower Bridge

After Tower Bridge I went over the London’s BFI IMAX Theatre to see the latest Harry Potter movie. I didn’t want to miss out on seeing the movie in London where many scenes were shot. In the movie, there’s a scene where Hermoine warps Harry and Ron down to Regent Street! That’s right, the very street I walked on the previous day. How cool am I to have walked down the street the previous day? Alright, not very cool since a billion other people walk down that street everyday. Then again, with my luck, the scene could have been produced at the studio instead of on Regent street. But, I’ll not think of that. After the movie, I hung out at the hotel and prepared for my trip to Dublin the next day.

Overall, London felt very much like the U.S. Maybe it’s because I didn’t interact with the natives too much, but the plethora of ethnic restaurants, malls, big name brand shops, and English speakers left an American taste in my mouth. Or maybe, the American flavor was actually British, and everything American is British! Who am I kidding? America, FUCK YEAH!!

How could I pass up candy on the South Bank?

My thoughts exactly …

This street act was hilarious. The cameleon sits still until someone drops some money down. After the money, he pedals madly and the bike makes some funny noise. That was much more funny in my head than how I described it.

The London Eye at night. It took me fifteen tries to shoot this site. I couldn’t do it manually and I didn’t have a tripod. Luckily, I found a nice spot on the ground on a bridge.

On the opposite side of the Eye, I shot this from the same bridge.

Another angle

Tower Bridge again