23.5.06 14 °C
I can't believe its been almost 3 weeks since I last posted, life has become crazy busy in the last little while. I'm working finally!! I'm temping for a large UK company at the moment. I'm enjoying it, mostly because I've never worked so close to home! It's literally a 5 minute bus ride from my house, right near Southampton Airport. At the same time I'm preparing for a couple interviews this week for marketing jobs. So I can say things are looking up!!
This past weekend Rich and I went to London. We almost didn't make it because the night before, after making our lunches and planning what we were doing we ended up falling asleep late and we forgot to set the alarm! We woke up basically when we were supposed to leave top get to town for the bus to London. I panicked and was running around like a headless chicken and Rich just got dressed and got things together and called a cab. Good thing he's level headed!
We made it to the bus depot on time and nabbed a good seat. The bus wasn't very full, it was only 8:30am on a Saturday! The bus stopped off briefly at Heathrow and we got into central London just in time for a morning rain. of course. We had been pretty ambitous th what we wanted to do for the day so e took off for the tube quickly and headed to Camden Market. I was so looking forward to that!!
Camden was awesome. The streets were lined with stores spilling out onto the sidewalks and there was a market area with stalls and stalls of clothes,jewellery, purses, trinkets and of course tons of yummy food. As we munched on some chinese dumplings and chicken sticks I wondered around the markets checking out the goods. It was hard because so much of what I saw was obviously imported form like Thailand and China and completely marked up. Since I've been there and shopped and know what the prices can be originally it's difficult to justify spending like £30 on a purse that I know was bought for like £2, not to mention the exchange to Canadian!!
Nevertheless, Camden market is definatly amazing for unique items that aren't sold in the high street stores.
After Camden we hopped on the tube again and headed for the Tower of London. As we got out of the station I could hear music playing quite loudly. We headed to the Tower and saw that part of it was covered with a plastic sheet and we were restrcited from walking down to the front area. People were milling about and peeking through the covers. We joined in and soon realized it was The Princes Trust Gala. Well it was the sound check and live on stage doing their check were the Bee Gee's. I'll admit I've never really been a fan or anything, I know who they are though lol. I never would have recognized them, but Rich is a music buff and his mom loves them. Next up was a UK pop group called McFly, man the girls were screaming. I had only heard of them through reading the gossip mags over here and haven't heard their music but apparently they are a big thing for the teeny boppers. man i feel old saying that!! After they palyed a song it was raining pretty heavily so we decided to head to the other side and check out London bridge.
London Bridge was definatly a cool site to see. Especially since I had just watched the UK Apprentice that finished last week and they had done their final big task in the London Bridge. (I'll admit I like Sir Alan Sugar better then the Donald thats for sure!!)
It was raining pretty hard so we decided to keep walking and head to Big Ben, the houses of Parliament and Westminister Abbey, which are all within the same area. We didn't go inside again to see anything, we had decided that Saturday was just going to be a tour of sorts and later on when we have more time we can do things bit by bit. It was difficult trying to cram it all into one day, but I really just wanted to see all the sites rather then just explore 1 or 2 that day.
What I really wanted to see was Buckingham Palace. As chessy as it sounds or as touristy as it is, I grew up watching the royals and their waves from the balcony. It was definatly smaller looking then on tv and the balcony is much closer to the ground and the front gate then I would have thought. Whats interesting is that they have a ramp inside the front gate that apparently is to stop anyone from ramming through the gates with their car! Rich said some guy trie it a few years back and broke the gate! It was quite cool though just standing there looking in and watching the guard stand there looking so official and rigid. The changing of the guard was at 11am so we missed it by hours.
Across the road from Buckingham Palace there's a gate to St James's Park. The gate is called Canada Gate and it has plaques with some provincial flags, no Ontario though! But I had my first Canadian sighting since arriving here exactly 2 months today! A Canadian couple checking out the gate as well, it was nice to hear their accents.
We walked through the park and jumped on the tube again to go to Covent Garden where I wanted to check out the Maple Leaf pub and the Canada shop. When we came out of the station it was manic with tons of people, turned out to be Malaysia festival going on complete with stalls of food, garments, and a fashion show. I love the diversity of London, it reminded me of home a little.
We found the Canada shop which was a combo of Australia, New Zealand and Canada food items that aren't sold in the UK. I got a box of orignal cheerios!! The cheerios they have here, hich they've always had are the multi grain ones at home. weird. Rich hadn't even ever seen the yellow box and plain cheerios! We also got some Swiss Chalet sauce and Denteyne gum. It's funny how you don't really think about some things that aren't available other places.
After we grabbed our stuf we walked a few doors down and I saw the Maple Leaf pub. ahh what a sight for sore eyes...the Canadian flag outside and something I haven't been able to find anywhere since arriving..a Canada paper. Not that I mind too much since I just rea online what's going on anyways. Turns out that the staff in the pub are all Canadian as well! We nibbled on some poutine and chicken fingers and Rich had a Molson Canadian. One thing that wasn't very Canadian was the fact the place was so damn smokey!! I never realized how inconvenient it really is for non smokers to be around smoke.
Belive it or not by the time we finished up at the pub it was about an hour until we caught our bus back, so we head to Oxford street to check out the shopping. I found love standing there outside the station and trying to decide which street to head down first. Shopping....beautiful architecture...no malls....wicked stores!!
Oxford street will definatly get an afternoon out of me in the near future!!
So alas, our day came to an end as we dragged our knackered bodies back to Victoria station to catch the coach home. I stared out the window and admired the tall houses on small streets with tiny little parks in between. London was fantantastic. It rivaled the way I felt about Bangkok before I left Thailand. It made me realze that I truly am just a city girl at heart.
Sorry no pics on this post..uploads take forever and I just wanted to get something down! Click on the link for all the pics on my msn space tinyurl.com/nj2td
And Happy Victoria Day!