Tuesday, March 18, 2008

London: Day 1

London, England

My weekend in London was unbelievable. I had so much fun going out, seeing the sights, and thinking about politics, people, civilization, western democracy, beauty, and the rest of my endless daydream thoughts in London. I think I’ll recap each day in a post with pictures.

I packed everthing the night before and headed to class from 8:30-1, then went home for a quick lunch and took the metro to the Eurostar. I was so impresses with the Eurostar organization and speed. The train through the tunnel only takes 2 hours and the ride is smooth and uninterrupted. By the time I read the Thursday and Friday Financial Times I was already in London. My friend John met me at the train station and helped me navigate the tube back to his place. We dropped my bags and left for an urban hike from Kensington to Picadilie square. As we walked through crowded and capitalized London I felt a little bit of culture shock. We took a few minutes to see the edge of Hyde park, the escape from the noise and confusion of the London streets. Things move so much slower in Brussels, and most American companies don’t find their way into the Belgian economy like in London. McDonalds, KFC, Subway, Hilton, Starbucks….. the list goes on and on. Plus franchises from other courtiers were everywhere to. It was hard for me to find a real indy to buy a cappuccino from in the morning. Even though I miss my occasional Starbucks I refused to go in one. After showing me the Time-Square like part of London we took the tube back to Kensington and got a pint and split a chicken at this Portuguese restaurant (delicious). We met up with some of John's friends and went to Brick Lane. I need to do a bit more research about brick lane, but as I approached it in the dark on Friday night I was met by hundreds of teenagers and twenty-something’s drinking in the streets. Listening to loud music and carrying on. We went into a bar called the Big-Chill. I spent most of my time people watching. So many drunken people having a good time dancing and talking. I was feeling oddly nostalgic for the Bahamas surrounded by so many Brits and ordered a Jamaican Rum Punch (I got made fun of for this several times). Then we went on another wonder, the streets are covered in broken glass and I saw a little fight. It was a side of London I wouldn’t have seen without a guide. Then we went to another place for some more dancing before we caught the night bus home. The bus ride impressed me as we sat in the front row on the top floor of the double decker red bus. We traveled down the Thyms and it was great to see everything lit up at night. All and all it was the perfect first night in London.

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