so it wasn’t until just after i left London that I became aware of the riots, and it seems i just missed it, good thing too, i just found this quote in a Windsor Star news article
“…on Caledonian Road near Kings Cross.
‘Caledonian Road is quite known for that stuff,’ said DesRosiers, 36. ‘It’s middle of summer, they’re bored, the government has cut back. They’re just trashing the place because they’re bored. It’s just senseless crime, thievery.’(Read more: http://www.windsorstar.com/London+riots+gang+thing+like+Detroit/5238853/story.html#ixzz1UhszyfX9)
Caledonian Road is where my hostel was. Thinking back, the building itself I believe to be very safe, but nevertheless, I was in the middle of what sounds like a lot of problems.
My good friend, an Englishman himself, who goes to school with me wrote this very enlightening insiders view of what is going on, it is a very different side to my London. It does not take away from anything I found in London, but adds to the complicated story.
Click through to read it all, you should, its quite good, an insider’s perspective.
Right. Enough is enough. If I don’t put this down in words and express my feelings on the matter then I am probably going to go insane with frustration and disgust.
If you live in America and are reading this, you are probably unaware of the true scale of disaster that has happened in…
okay Mom, i just word vomited all over this blog for you, so you know whats going down. i’m only like a day behind, well now two.
love you and miss you!!! i’ll update as often as i can, i promise.
like i said, assume i am having the time of my life unless i say otherwise.
As I sit at the edge of the fountain outside Buckingham Palace, I am overshadowed by Queen Victoria and the stunning golden angel. When I approached her plaza, I looked up to find her haloed by the only circlet of light peeking through the powerful gray cloud, standing alone amongst the rest of the pure white fluff salting the sky. The statues surrounding are breathtaking, the strength and honesty portrayed in every posture, expression, soft curve. I am grasped by a jealous, wanting the ability to materialize concepts as these artists have so expertly mastered.
It is a warm breezy day in London, so different from the drizzly Frankfurt and blazing Sacramento.
I am happy.
This is my adventure.
I realized that this is like THE palace, or so I’ve heard. Like, where the Queen lives and the royal wedding took place, like the one we saw on TV and read about, looked at pictures of countless times. It could be like the equivalent of visiting the White House. False. the White House brings to mind politics and well… politicians, maybe a little tourism, which is cool for a quick peek at, none of which are very exciting though. While London has its tourism too, it is saturated in a culture. A clash between the ever changing modern thing, and the ever enduring old. Now I am probably overly romanticizing this of course, maybe I miss the beauty of D.C. while I’m sure some Londoners have missed what I have managed to find. Its true, its only day two, and I have fallen quite in love.
My emotions have been stronger, I am brought to the edge of tears and laughter very easily. No, it is not that time of the month, otherwise there would be some serious discontent in the mix as well. I wonder what this is a result of. My new found independence and the richness of my adventure? I doubt I’ve ever been so spontaneous, and well, if it is always this rewarding, I’m in trouble, because this won’t be the end.
I started my day in Covent Gardens in order to visit the Apple Store so I could track down a way to charge my computer in these crazy outlets. It is a lovely little shopping area, with toots of street performers and such traipsing around, performing. It kind of had the feel of a high end cross between Santa Cruz and San Francisco. I don’t have much money to spare, especially with the exchange rate, but I was trying to find a burger shop that Jenny had recommended, failing to only left me with a nasty craving for a burger and a shake. So I found a nice burger shop anyways, it sold “proper burgers” and was all very american. Delicious as it was, not worth the amount I paid, I could get it better at In-N-Out. When I came to the end of my meal I realized I needed to tip my waiter, but I had yet to so so in London, what if there are different standards? After freaking out for like 10 minutes, worrying about offending, I just asked. Wow, that story sounds so lame now, what you should take away is, I am shy, and I didn’t know what to do, it was comical, but maybe you had to be there.
After Buckingham, I passed the gates of Canada to Green Park, grassy and peaceful. I sat with an old man on the bench of “Capt Henry Merchant, Royal Canadian Artillery, Killed In Action.” The old man needed the sit down, he took of shoes and slipped blissfully into sleep. I looked upon a memorial of the alliance between the Canadians and the English, a great angled marble slab, imprinted with maple leaves. It was not the first, moseying towards Hyde Park I came across ones for Australia and New Zealand as well. Australia had names of soldiers which were shaded to form words of power and values with water running down the artfully jagged piece.
Hyde Park is by far my favorite place in all of London. Filled to the brim with gardens and interesting people. There was a fountain depicting Diana, goddess of the hunt, with her bow. It particularly caught my attention because her figure was not so different from mine, yet she was as beautiful as ever. And a heron that could have been part of the statue with his gray coloring and still patrol of the edge.
I found a place to rest, surrounded by the green grass and a large tree, with a row of purple flowers granting me my space, the blue any stretched above. I listened to the entire Mumford & Sons album and napped until evening. When I returned wearily at peace to the hostel.
No wait! I forgot I walked past this group of roller bladers, they had all this little cones lined up that they would move in and out of. It was like magic! Two in particular.
#1 Sex. No shirt, abs for days. Baby blue eyes but dark coloring. Bleached curls, like a black person, but not a fro. Jeans that fit perfectly.
#2 Bigger girl. T-shirt, ill fitting jeans. Big nose, pigtails. Not ugly, but not stylish. But fluid, so fluid, out skated every single one of those boys. It was really incredible to watch.
And they had music playing, really good shit. As I left they played “Big City Life” which I got from, none other than my own English Sex Kitten, embrace the new nickname.
As you may know already, I have found my self on the trip of my life with want of a camera. A story not worth telling. As result, in lieu of pictures, I have been writing down as much as I can, so you can follow along (Mom) and so I will not forget. Much of what I put in this blog is taken directly from notes I have been keeping on my iTouch. Just so you know. The order may be jumbled up with the tense, so I apologize.
Sitting in St. Pancras station waiting for my train to Paris.
Traveling by train is way better than flying. Simply getting through security in like 5 minutes makes it worth it, not to mention be ale to keep my water.
I am really sad to have to leave London, it was the best two weeks of my life without a doubt. My goal now, for like, the rest of my life, is to hold onto and perpetuate whatever it is I managed to capture here. I like London, I would very seriously consider coming back here for an extended period of time.
You can either step into the rush of activity, do something crazy, exciting, or just productive.
Or you can sink back, let it all rush by, removed from it, yet sitting right in the middle.
I don’t have very many exciting stories from this week, after leaving the hostel I got some much needed relaxation and recovery after being so ill. It was ridiculous, my head was fine and clear, but nose, throat, and eyes were a wreck. Coughing and sore throat, eventually filled with our favorite post-nasal drip. A nose like a faucet, I probably went through two tissue boxes. And my stupid eyes would not stop watering!!! Every time some new scent came in the room or a new piece of minuscule dust landed on my face, everything went into a fit. I must have looked like my boyfriend had broken my heart or something. Between the tears and the copious amounts of tissue necessary, it made it difficult to leave the flat for too long. So I had a quiet few days, but went out with a nice little bang yesterday.
I started the morning finishing up my last load of laundry, getting ready slowly per my usual…
Wait of course! I knew I was forgetting something, I managed to get out and go to the British Museum! I didn’t stay for as long as I would have liked, because I was still not feeling well and it was hot as balls in there. Fun Fact about Europe: NO AIR CONDITIONING. It just doesn’t get hot often enough, as my wonderful host Nicole said, I just happened to find myself in London during the like 5 days of the year it would be necessary. The museum was still fun though, its huge and really lovely, but like huge. I would need like three days, three cool, not sick, and not as crowded days to get through it properly.
You should also know that the three highest concentration of asian people are as follows:
2. The British Museum (specifically, The Egyptian Exhibit)
You can quote me on that.
There were too many things to talk about there but I will give you the highlights of the day I suppose.
They had an exhibit of ancient art and tools. A couple of piece were pictures of animals carved into antlers and bones and such, so cool because they looked like drawings I did in like elementary school, junior high. Realistic style without a lot of skill. They could have been taken from modern day classrooms.
The Japanese Exhibit was so relaxing, on the top floor and therefore less crowded and quite cool. It was very comfortable, my mom’s side of the family has always had a collection of Japanese… stuff, so it was familiar and of course very pretty.
The ice cream truck outside said “Often Licked, Never Beaten.” You’re damn straight.
In a tourist shop, lots and lots of t-shirts, all very English inspired, from “I Love London” to “If Found, Please Return to the Pub” and hidden amongst these was a shirt that said “Nobody Knows I’m a Lesbian.” uuuuhhhhhmmmm, what the fuck? haha, but I can think of a few people I could have gotten this shirt for.
A man on the underground, drinking something from a wine glass. Like sitting on the train, drinking out of an open container, a wine glass of all things. Again, what the fuck?
but still having the most AMAZING time
i now have to sort this out
there is so much to say
and you see, its a cycle here
the happier i am
the better things there are happening around me
and the happier i become
and i have to be discrete, some people would talk about are my friends now and could access this, and there are certain stories not be shared…
i think the weather has reflected my mood, it drizzled mostly throughout Germany, but i have arrived in London in probably the hottest, sunniest week it has had in a while, i have not been this happy in a while
what started as a sore throat has been slowly worsening, so it was difficult to go out and be touristy, especially on the weekend, i simply could not be bothered to deal with the underground. i have seen chaos in its true form: King’s Cross on a Saturday.
so instead of being a crazy tourist, i spent most of the day hanging out in the hostel, which in itself was incredibly rewarding
and here is what i have to say about that
what i have found most surprising is he number of people who are not here for traveling, many, if not most, of the people who i met were living in the hostel until they found a job and could afford a flat, and some simply never left, even work at the hostel. Lithuania has worked there for 10 months, he doesn’t pay to live there, but doesn’t make any money for food either. Peru has lived there for 6 months, but works in the city.
I stayed in a 15 person room, there was 2 or 3 other girls at any time, who rarely said anything, and the rest were guys. I managed to reach out to 3 other girls in the hostel, Canada, Amsterdam, and South Africa. And it was dangerous putting us together, because we would swap stories about our experiences, especially those in the hostel, needless to say, our male peers should be a little afraid of what could come up in conversation.
South Africa is here looking for a job teaching English as a foreign language. She has been so interesting to talk to, and a relief, once again, to spend some girl time with. She told me about how different it is here, for her in London. She is accustomed to living in a country still coming very recently out of, primarily racial driven, civil strife. There seems to be a much larger gap between the lower and the upper classes. As a result the service industry is top notch, people being unabashedly helpful everywhere from the supermarket to within the home. Coming to London was a huge culture shock for her, the way things worked was foreign and she did not receive the help she expected, even demanded. She was even having trouble picking up after herself, her laundry and dishes. She said, “I know it makes me a bitch.” I disagree, I think she has shown strength. Leaving behind a country where it is unsafe to walk in the streets to seek out a better life, becoming a first generation citizen. And she has recognized the differences in the way of life, she may still want a certain level of service to her, but recognizes that it is not the way of things here, that there may be a need for change. That is an incredible first step to take.
Canada came before South Africa. She was sitting in the lounge playing her guitar and singing (beautifully) and we managed to start a conversation. Turns out, we had had uncannily similar experiences that had landed our asses in London, so we immediately bonded over stories of frustration and of, well, boys. She had been to this hostel before a few weeks ago, so that was the beginning of swapping resident stories, towards a scandalous direction.
Amsterdam was so full of personality it was impossible to not meet her. We had been there for a few days so we had so much to talk to talk about it was crazy. And her English was perfect, she has family in New York, she could have been mistaken for one of them. On top of that she is our own recording artist in the making, I got to see her music video, and DAMN, its like legit. I hope she gets to go places!
The girls have not been the highlight of my trip though, besides being in the lovely, bustling, but surprisingly relaxing city life, there have been the boys.
Now, I beg you to excuse me as I try and control my rampant ego, which I hardly recognize anymore.
I have gotten more attention from guys this past week, than I have probably ever gotten in my life!!!
I have two possible explanations for this:
-I am foreign. Not only, I am from California.
-I am happy, I know I keep saying that but I really am. I am satisfied and proud of myself for what I have accomplished in coming to London and traveling about on my own. It feels fantastic being able to be solely dependent on myself successfully. Therefore I am happy and confident, I think it shows.
Anyways, I literally have had more male attention than anyone deserves. I don’t know what to do with it, as it has never been this way for me in the U.S. I will probably try and write down many of them, for myself to remember if my ego ever deflates again, but I think I will share a few of my favorites, because some are amusing.
The best so far is this French, black guy, looks like a soccer player, who I found staring at me, and then winked. Then for the next few days would stare at me anytime I was in the room, with this look on his face that was a cross between, “Daaamn” and something like he could eat me or something. It soon became very obvious that he was in some sort of relationship with the girl he was traveling with, especially when they took “Save Water, Shower Together” - the hostel’s sign outside the unisex showers, very seriously. Don’t ask how I accidentally stumbled across that, bad timing I guess.
Mr. Italiano, he’s short but strong, and pretty cute too. The night he got there, I may have been looking at him, you know. He may have caught me once or twice, but no big deal, not like I was blatantly staring and checking him out. Next day, he’s outside smoking with Lithuania, and walk by and say hello. I come back a few minutes later and Lithuania is laughing, so I ask why. He tells me I had missed it, Mr. Italiano has said that was cute and made that very Italian gesture, you know, kissing your finger tips then pulling away and opening your hand. Haha, please tell me that makes sense.
hhmmm, thats all I should probably share as far as funny ones go. It was mostly entertaining as the guys here were so much more forward about things. If they took an interest in me, it was not long before I found out.
Speaking of, another issue I came across was drinks. In America, I am obviously not old enough to drink yet so when I am around people drinking, we usually have a semi communal stash, ya? So a guy gets a drink for me, he’s doing me a favor.
Here however, I can get my own drinks, easily, because it legal. So a guy buys me a drink, he wants to buy me drink, like wants to do something nice for me, wants to get to know me. Had to figure that one out that hard way.
And then there is Italy, there is too many Italians here, but this guy is THE Italy. Long story short, he told Lithuania I was cute and sweet, Lithuania told Italy how excited I was, so he came and sat down on my bed and just kissed me. He’s been mine ever since. He has been wonderful, a little drunk for that first kiss, but in days to come he would kiss me goodbye when he would go job hunting, cuddle with me when I was sick, laugh with me, ask to look at pictures of California. On my last day at the hostel, he went to the store with me, told me I was “what do you call it, when to men are in a relationship?” I know that sounds funny, but he was trying to say we weren’t a couple, obviously, we had known each other for like 4 days, but still a pair. He had his arm around me, kissed me on the sidewalk, held hands, smelled shampoos together, and he carried, well rolled, my bag to Kings Cross with me to say good bye.
My Italiano. With the loveliest, raspy voice.
Okay, that is quite enough for now. I am currently staying at my parent’s friend’s cousin’s flat and they are lovely. So more to come soon!!!
so you know how when the toilet is having difficulty flushing, you hold the handle down until it kicks in
in Germany and England it has been my experience to the contrary, the faster you release the handle, the more efficiently it flushes
its like at the gas station when it tells you to pull your card out really fast, otherwise it doesn’t accept it and you have to do it again, ya
new post soon!!! as in i am working as we speak, well, as you read… kinda
My own spaghetti western, complete with an Italian cowboy.
This guy just walked into the room, craziest looking person I have seen yet. I’ll go bottom up. Blue giant sized children’s sandals, cuffed tight khaki pants, over sized white shirt with a colorful Adidas logo, cuffed sleeves, white bandana around his neck. Mustache gelled to points, round glasses, and hair that looks like he stuck his finger in an electrical socket.
Man capris and I wanted to laugh so hard.