My first re-impressions of London:
-> Everyone smokes!
-> Black and brown people get seriously detained and interrogated by other black and brown people at immigration. (Self hate is deep!)
-> I get easily lost in most places. I blame it on my left-handedness and poor sense of direction. In London, I get ridiculously lost. Despite studying the map and memorizing the streets and asking people for directions, I got lost going to Harvey Nicks department store from my B&B, which is straight along one major road. How on earth did I do that?? It’s the London curse on the directionless.
-> I would starve here.
Welcome to the first world, Baby.
My plane ride from the first world (US) to the firster world (UK) was exhausting. I turned down the economy plus upgrade because it cost $119. Boy, am I sorry I did that. My seat was in the same row as a cranky 6-month old and a wailing 2-year old and big parents who used my seat space… in back of another two small children, and worse, directly in back of a snooty stale-cigarette-smelling young British couple who pushed their seats all the way back and proceeded to bounce around in them so that the seat in front of me actually hit me in the knees and head several times. Try working on your laptop in this situation!
But no medical emergencies on that 11 hour flight. Whew! I had been eyeballing a few elderly folks who didn’t look so good when I boarded. We all made it. Yay!
I am happy to be off the plane and in South Kensington. But unless I eat a sandwich for every meal at the Pret a Manger chain (because they have fresh veggie options), I may starve. My eating adventure tonight was at “Yo! Sushi” a chain of sushi boat restaurants. This one was the hipster one at the Harvey Nichols (or “Harvey Nicks” if you want to sound like you know something about shopping). I spent the equivalent of US$20 on dinner… and one hour later, my stomach is growling angrily at me! So after exploring all five floors of Harvey Nicks and finding absolutely nothing that I like (can someone explain to me why women will spend $600 on Jimmy Choo shoes?), the only thing I bought is a bag of parsnip chips for 75 pence. Apparently they were grown in Field Garden, Devon (the parsnips, that is) and fried by a man (or a manly woman) named Cliff. Parsnip chips are hella good. They are a much better value than the $7 for 3-pieces of stale crayfish and rocket maki that I ate for dinner. Unfortunately, parsnip chips only represent one food group: fats and sugars. Same with the Hob Nob cookies that I so love. So I will need to find something else to supplement my British diet.
If there’s one thing I love about London, it’s the museums. The fact that they’re “free” to the public and well-supported by the government and funders shows how dedicated places like London are to preserving culture and arts. Viva public art support!
In fact, the Victoria and Albert Museum, which is a five-minute walk from my B&B, is featuring a show on “Spectacular Craft.” It’s exactly the type of work I love to see and make: hand-made crafts discussing modern and environmental issues. Whoo hoo… field day for me.
Check it out: