One hour before departure:
I sat on my couch and pet my cat. My mother had just made a scrumptious roast chicken with all the trimmings. I had eaten too much, but it was the right thing to do. This was, of course, my last home cooked meal I would eat for months, so it was okay. I was on the phone with my Nana explaining the difference between SMS and iMessage when I got a series of strange texts from my friend Karina: “wanna let me in?,” “or I can throw stones forever.” Confused, I hung up and opened the front door where I saw my favorite Australian literally jump out of the bushes and run up the stairs. My mother gave me a knowing look because she and my friend Karina had obviously organized this. A last goodbye. It was very touching.
Happy, and with the ones I loved, I kissed my dog and cats and headed off to the airport.
My mother and I caught an Air Canada Boeing 787 which was the most lux plane experience of my life. Instead of shutters, the windows dimmed; instead of just water or juice, wine, liquor and Perrier was served (free!); the hot meals were edible; they gave free blankets and headphones, and the media player was very swanky and even had podcasts! I have to say, good job Air Canada. Most importantly, we didn’t crash and burn! We arrived safe and sound, if only a little greasy and tired.
I came to London two years ago after I graduated from high school.
Last time, it was all about the shameless tourism- the big bus, the museums, and the phone box photo. So this time, we wanted to avoid the crowds and tourists and be the “cool,” “alternative,” independent-coffee-shop-seeking Vancouverites we are. Thus, we chose to visit Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, and King’s Cross Station for Platform 9 3/4 (this is a joke, by the way, obviously this is the most touristy itinerary you could do). But I don’t care. Yes, I want to experience the real U.K., but first I needed to get “Iconic London” out of my system.
We did find some good independent coffee close to the hotel though, thank goddess!!
In order to see real London, we had to find a real Londoner. Luckily, my mother’s first-ever-best-friend-from-Kindergarten is a now a funky East-Londonder and gave us a fabulous tour of Hackney, Brick Lane, and Shoreditch. We went for a walk along a canal where I found a lawn beaver (cat) and a glass of fresh pressed apple juice. In London, large markets are a weekly affair- not a once a year occasion like they are in Vancouver, and we visited approximately thirty of them. I bought a beautiful silk scarf and a scotch egg because I am classy, but not really.
If you haven’t been to London, you really must (WestJet is “cheap” now BTW). The museums, for better or for worse, are full of the world’s wonders. The theatre, on and off the main street is fabulous (we saw Kinky Boots and a show right off the Fringe called Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour). The architecture is jaw-dropping, the street art is abundant, and the shopping… well, that’s another post altogether! Treasures and talent are everywhere, you just have to peek below those giant furry black hats.
See you soon, London!