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Eo Ire Itum

London

UNITED KINGDOM | Saturday, 7 February 2009 | Views [720] | Comments [4]

The flight from Bangkok to Dusseldorf and then to Stansted, London was long and boring. I'm sure I don't need to describe it - you know what's involved in a 15hr flight. No sleep, terrible in-flight movies, jet-lag, customs officers asking stupid questions, waiting in lines...etc etc etc.

I arrived at Stansted Airport on the 4th at about 8pm and got a coach into the city and the tube to Russell Square. After finding my poorly sign-posted hostel I checked in and went straight to sleep.

The next day I went walking around the city with an Australian girl I'd met at the hostel - Michelle. She knows the city fairly well after living here for seven months so she showed me Oxford Street, Trafalgar Square, Leicester Square and a few other places. It was nice to have someone to talk to and Michelle is a very friendly and warm person, so I'm glad we met.

That evening I bought an oyster card (a pay as you go card for London transport) and made my way via tube and bus to Umba and Ane's place in Harringey. Umba met me at the bus stop and the evening quickly turned into a blur of laughter, pizza, beers and catching up over the past year and a half since the three of us lived together on Alice Street in Newtown. It was lovely to see them again and it's always nice to see that some things - like the generosity of my former housemates - never change.


The next day Michelle and I had breakfast in a very British canteen style cafe and then we went walking again. This time we walked over Waterloo Bridge, past the London Eye, over Westminster Bridge and past Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. We walked around for a good few hours but Michelle was due to start work at 3pm, so we had a quick drink at Leicester Square and said good bye.


After jumping on the internet to make sure I'd gotten the address correct, I got the tube to Covent Garden and found RULES - the oldest restaurant in London (established in 1798 - only 28 short years after Australia was established!) and where my Australian friend Tara works. She greeted me at the door and told me to wait for her in the upstairs bar. It’s no exaggeration to say that Rules is a feast for the eyes – low Tudor style ceilings, red velvet couches, rose buds carved into dark oak, crystal chandeliers - all bathed in the light of a roaring fire. It is quintessentially British.

I ordered a glass of South African merlot and I sat by the fire to wait for Tara to finish her shift. Hahaha, I'm SO CLASSY! In a few days I went from being a dirty backpacker to drinking merlot in this posh joint! Life is a funny thing. ;)

When Tara finished, she joined me in a few glasses of wine and we were able to chat about our travels and catch up. It was lovely to see her again and although we never had the opportunity to become close when we knew each other in Sydney (Tara is an old friend's sister) it's nice to know that even an acquaintance can be welcoming and friendly when youire on the other side of the world. :)

After a few drinks we caught the tube east and Tara showed me her part of London – Brick Lane, Bethnal Green, Whitechaple High Street etc. We went back to her little apartment for a few more drinks before we headed out to a famous curry house just off Brick Lane. (I can't for the life of me remember the name, but that may be because we'd had quite a few glasses of wine by the time we made it out to eat.)

The food was delicious and it was just wonderful to talk to Tara who is a down-to-earth, happy, warm person and a joy to be around. I got back to the hostel in a cab (my first London cab ride!) and fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.

I've got quite a few more friends to catch up with here in London and I'm very much looking forward to seeing all of them, especially if it means seeing parts of the city I wouldn't normally see as a tourist. 

After four months in Asia - coming to London is almost like coming home. It feels easier and I'm happy I can blend into a crowd again without it being so obvious that I'm a tourist.

Comments

1

So glad you arrived safely. London in winter can be a very depressing place so keep smiling. You are lucky to have someone show you around. Whatever you do, don't miss the opportunity to visit the British Museum - no it's not full of boring old things, on the contrary, it's full of knowledge, insight and is a tribute to human development. I highly recommend it. Stay safe, stay smart and stay warm. Love from all here in ZZ

  Baba Feb 8, 2009 11:46 AM

2

I've actually got loads of people to show me around. I've got quite a few friends from back home who live here and met a lot of people from here during my travels so far.

I would never think a museum was, as you put it, "full of boring things". You should know that I enjoy things like that. You've known me for long enough now!! :D

  mazystar Feb 8, 2009 8:43 PM

3

I always enjoyed going to Soho and the West End :) How long are you there for? We're coming over for Reading Festival at the end of August - but only for 2 weeks.

  Leanne Feb 12, 2009 2:10 PM

4

I haven't really seen much of SOHO yet, I should go there today! :)
I probably will be here in August. I intend on getting a work visa (when I get back from the U.S.) and living here for a while. Although probably out of London.

  mazystar Feb 15, 2009 10:38 PM

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