This is my last night here in London, in fact the last night of my vacation...5 weeks - it's been great and I will elaborate on some personal thoughts in another blog once I return. But now - London. First, second, and last, the weather here sucks. I knew it was going to be bad when the local weather lady said "today we'll have some rain in London and showers in the afternoon". Rain and then showers? Great. At least my rain coat that's been idle in my backpack will get some use. I arrived Wednesday night and promptly made it to a pub for a pint of Guiness and a delicious meal of chicken and potatoes...at least the food here is good - especially after trying to find a good meal in Thailand. Thursday morning I hopped on the metro, err Tube, to head to tourist central - Westminster. Since I was heading in during a work day, I quickly discovered that everyone here is a former model - everyone was decked out. So after getting off at Westminster I began to wander around. I walked around for about two hours when I realized that I am never going to see the entire city by foot, so I found an internet cafe, searched for a bike rental store and within 45 minutes I was biking around. I biked around and through Hyde Park, Kensington, Chelsea, Fulham, and finally back home to Hammersmith on the west end.
Later that night I met up with my friend Valerie for dinner near Whitechapel (Val and I met last year - she was doing some research at U Maryland and rented a room from Crick). The food was amazing - indian curry dishes that were just so rich. Afterwards we went to a seedier part of town, just north of Whitechapel...this is where the real fashion took off. Basically, the fashion works like this: find something so crazy, so old, so loud, and so weird and wear them all at the same time...and the funny part is that in their effort to create a uniquie identity everyone ends up looking the same. More on this later with the Hoxton wardrobe.
Friday I biked all around London, from the west end where the hostel is located all the way to London Bridge and the Tower of London, about 8 km one way. Biking is the way to travel around London...the Tube is everywhere, but then your stuck walking. Taxis are crazy pricey, and if you rent your own car, you have to pay a congestion tax to drive into the city. So about mid-day the rain began...and this is when I began to curse the weather. Luckily, the Tate Modern was nearby so I poked my head in to see art from Jackson Pollack, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, and Mark Rothko (who's art is growing on me and come to think of so is Pollack's).
Eventually I made it home and then out to Hoxton to hang out with Keith. Keith is living the dream here in London - working from home, lives near a park (for pick-up football). We (me, Keith, and his roommate Tony and his gf who's name escapes me) made our way to the local pub. Now this is where fashion took a wrong turn. As a guy here's what you have to where in Hoxton: skin tight pants that are especially tight at the calves, white shoes, a button up shirt and a cardigan. Plus the hair has to be going sticking out in every direction. And the girls where black tights, a cotton dress with a belt around the waist and hair cut with the bangs cut just above the eyebrows...all too cool. This thing is - I am the strange one here: "hey look at the American wearing baggy jeans and a striped shirt"...yup, I'm the dork.
So we all tied one on (got drunk to you yanks), partying until a wee bit past 4. Thankfully, we got some exercise the following morning at the local park, playing some footy for a few hours - and, yes, it rained sideways for about 20 minutes. The rest of the day was spent playing xbox where I proceeded to shoot Chinese army people for a few hours (actually, they got me more than I got them.
OK, time for bed...I will wrap this story up once I get home and in the comfort of my living room. Thanks for reading!