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I have to use WORDS?!?!

UNITED KINGDOM | Sunday, 18 July 2010 | Views [1065] | Comments [5]

I've been contemplating for three days now how I am going to try and communicate what it was like in London's East End. I have to do this because I was left camera-less after I forgot to charge the battery in my camera, rendering me without any way to capture moments from half an hour into an eight hour cycling tour of London. Now, to be fair, having forgotten to charge for a day is not too bad as I think I'm doing well to not have lost, broken or had the thing stolen by now. The situation could be far, far worse.

The East End was amazing to say the least. Exploring it gives you the ability to look into the heart of the city, at the workers, the poor and the funky who are just too arty to spend the money on rent in a flashy suburb! Built on hard work and resilience, the entire area has charm in its rustic, sometimes crumbling architecture. It's suburbs include failed attempts to make new commercial and professional developments that have even turned over to social welfare or artistic opportunities. It's survived some of the most harsh and difficult times during the war and throughout political and racial instability. Through all of  that, it's got SPUNK. I loved every moment, from the meat market, the disused docks after the fallout of the shipping economy, the failed property developments (a la Dubai) to the arts precincts specifically developed to give the poor and the needy an opportunity to break free from their troubles while remaining on a very tight leash. It's these people that build and hold up a culture and a city. They hold the backbone together, creating all of the necessities of that 'succesful' part of the world. It's the area where people develop, grow together, find their strengths and their weaknesses and make the most of what they've got.

A little facet of this incredible area was Brick Lane. One end is the central part of the Bangladeshi community. Heralding a myriad of curry houses, the smell as you go through tantalises the senses, trying to convince you that you do indeed NEED a curry. As you move further down Brick Lane the atmosphere changes, particularly on a Sunday. The markets bring the crumbling lanes and walkways to life. People fill cafes and restaurants akin to Melbourne's laneways. Art galleries and vintage clothing stores show what talent these people have as a collective, and markets give vendors the opportunity to get ahead, make some cash, and in the case of budding designers, make themselves known. It was a DELIGHT to spend a half hour strolling through and seeing exactly what these people were made of. There was none of the kitsch and crowds of your usual tourist attractions. It was REAL and it had spunk, and it's the kind of thing I love about exploring a new city.

The afternoon portion of the tour was a time when I got very, very lucky. My amazing guide Matthew was being reviewed by the local expat magazine and needed some bums on seats for an extended sightseeing tour for Tuesday the 20th of July. You know some of the most fantastic elements of this? I was going, it was FREE, and I remembered to charge my battery. That is, for now, to be included in another update.



Cycle tour looks like great fun, how long is it? Would someone enjoy it who's not particular fond of bikes but has... say... biked around Rottnest?

  Robert Downey Jnr Jul 21, 2010 1:24 PM


I was thinking of sending one along one morning...Runs from 10.30am to 2.00pm, and someone of the leisurely Rottnest style would enjoy it most heartily. After doing three, I'm probably done though...

  Pepper Potts Jul 21, 2010 3:56 PM


Absolutely love, love London - your photos are amazing as aways and the commentary so very entertaining.

  Jezz Jul 22, 2010 9:55 AM


Dear Kris and Andrew, What a great time you are having - just loved getting all of your news,. AA also loves London!! One thing I must repeat - keep all of this
together - you must write a book!!!!!!!! You have a great turn of phrase.
Keep in touch and remember we love you - take care, Nan & Pop B

  Nanny B Jul 24, 2010 9:20 AM


Thanks Jezz and Nanny :)
I just love keeping a track of all the things I've done!

  princess2802 Jul 28, 2010 7:27 AM



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