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London

November 3, 2008
By Asmodeane in Posts, Travel

London under my wing!

London under my wing!

I suppose I should write something about good old London. Good old dirty chav-infested London. Ah yes, that shining metropolis that birthed an empire, a great repository of knowledge, fashion and power. It makes the decay, the degeneration, of this great City all the sadder… But enough about that. I am sure many would disagree, saying that it still is a great melting pot, vibrant, alive, different… Yeah, sure, alive in a way that a corpse is alive, crawling with parasites and producing noxious fumes. I am perhaps being a bit harsh, spurned on by a wave of burning hatered that’s been eating me from inside for the past couple of weeks, but none the less I think I am mostly fair. London is in a decline. Heck, British culture itself is in a decline!

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South Bank by night.

South Bank by night.

I’ll try to be brief. I arrived in London in a fairly exciting manner, and I guess that deserves special notice. See, I am mortally afraid of flying, in case that failed to become clear from my previous post. I’ve done the Finnair fear of flight course, and it helped, but I was still fairly anxious about the coming flight. So I dealt with it the only way that seemed natural to me. I got roaring drunk. I’d say I had about 6 shots of Green Label prior to boarding the plane, and around 4 or so of Glenfiddich on board. So the flight went great. So great, in fact, that I have no recollection of the landing, and I don’t remember navigating through Heathrow down to the Tube. I did have a few moments of clarity in the Tube, and remember receiving angry phonecalls inquiring as to my whereabouts and ETA from girly dearest, but that’s about it. So after about an hour’s journey I emerged at King’s Cross, all harried and in a hurry, crossed the road where I wasn’t supposed to and was almost run over. There was some swearing and a flurry of sign language before I ran off. But I only managed a couple of steps before a heavy fatherly hand descended on my shoulder. I turned around only to face a friggin Bobby.

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Two British icons...

Two British icons...

To make a long story short he didn’t fine me, nor did he drag me down to the docks as he threatened to at first, but gave me an official warning that came with a pink paper slip that identified the officer as a member of some counter terrorism unit and because of that gave no name. Cool, I thought. It also misstated my height at 5′4″ (I’m 5′7″) and my hair as “blackish”. The document is now gracing the fridge door. That was my first hour in Britain in a nutshell right there. After that came a lot of fighting with the darned girl, and I am not afraid to go on record that it was almost entirely her own fault, and a lonely visit to a few pubs, both of which threw me out eventually. I also got lost somewhere near the hostel but managed to find myself again, to my great relief. Eventually the waves settled, an understandment was reached, and the gray British morning found us slumbering peacefully in each other’s arms…

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Tower Bridge from The Tower of London.

Tower Bridge from The Tower of London.

London was ok, all in all. We met with some of honey’s extended family, a really nice bunch, and spend the day inspecting the obligatory sites. We visited The Tower of London, saw the changing of the guards at the Treasury, then saw the same guards again at the Buckingham Palace half an hour later, walked along the South Bank from Westminster to Tower Bridge, attempted to catch a glimpse of 10 Downing Street (it’s cordonned off by Constables armed with MP5A3’s) and just oggled at the people (mostly other tourists, despite it being “off season”) and the sights (mostly at least partially cocooned in a web of scaffolding). I’ve been to London in -98 or -97 with my Mother, but didn’t see The Tower of London. And frankly I didn’t miss much. As a value for money sort of thing it is much over inflated. 16 squid for entrance alone! And the throngs! The horrible throngs! We did see the family Crown Jewels, after enduring an hour of queuing. It was a most extraordinary thing, not the Jewels, but the three rooms with “labyrinths” to guide the masses built in them, and you shuffle along through each one, until you finally came to the vault housing the jewels. Very pretty were it not so crowded.

The frenzied Piccadilly Square!

The frenzied Piccadilly Square!

An hour in hot, stuffy queues, only to peek at the jewels practically over somebody else’s shoulder… And of course there is no photography allowed.  Still, fairly impressive. One of those “must” places, I guess. The long promenade along the South Bank impressed me the most that day though. Gorgeous scenery, cozy pubs, little markets, crappy artists, and fo course the old lady Thames herself. Muchos recomendád, as long as you wear decent walking shoes, and not heels like my bimbo did. As to the changing of the guard, well, it was boring. We thought it’d be the hairy-hatted ones doing the prancing, but instead got the horsey kind. The horses pissed and shat. Cute and very realistic, but the stench was appaling. We left.

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The view from St.Paul's.

The view from St.Paul's.

That was pretty much it for London, with the omission of the 530 step sleepy (due to a couple of drunk chavs fucking some equally drunk and hideous Norwegian sluts in our 14 person dorm and the general restlessness of the hostel) climb to the top of the St. Paul’s Cathedral and a rainy riverboat trip to Greenwich Village along with a lot of general ambling around in places like The Piccadilly Circus, Chinatown, and Soho. Greenwich Village, while practically a part of Central London, is an enchanting place. Very much a “Village” still, with a charming market and many picteresque places. I straddled the 0 meridian, took the obligatory pictures, and saw the sights, except for the poor old darling Cutty Sark… A curse on the vacuum cleaner that set the flame to her hallowed timbers! I hope they restore her to her former glory, although judging by the photos it’s going to be a brand new ship.

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This is Cambridge. Heart rests...

This is Cambridge. Heart doth rest...

We also visited Kitteh’s friend in Cambridge, a comfortable and scenic 15£, 45 minute ride by rail from London. A beautiful place just oozing history, it was. Such scenery around the canals, at the backs, greenery and water framed by ancient architecture. We wanted to go punting, but didn’t due to some time constrains and the general frigidity of the weather. Besides, it’d probably have been horribly expensive. Oh yes, I liked Cambridge a lot. And after spending the night there it was time to head directly to Heathrow, accompanied by Pumpkin, as she was meeting a friend there that would keep her company for another week. I was nowhere near as nervous about the flight as I was on the way to London, but had a few drinks just in case. Besides, I like having drinks. The flight prooved as pleasant and unevetful as the one I took there, I even enjoyed it. I think it might even be safe to say that my fear of flight is pretty much conquered!

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I will annoy you with some links this time as well… First of all, could BluRay format be dead by 2012? Here’s 5 reasons why. On a completely unrelated subject, meet the faces behind many popular cartoon characters! To continue with the unrelatedness, here’s an article that busts 8 common food myths. Then an article about a moronic New-Age scheme that has Bosnia afire. My mum would so fall for that one… Ok, let’s finish off with some top 10 lists then, why don’t we? First, Top 10 stretch limo’s. Then 10 reasons not to skimp on sleep. Important, that, I guess. And finally Top 10 hand gestures you’d better get right…

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One Response

  1. Ahahahah I had to laugh so much about getting drunk on the flight and having a bit of memory loss :D I am SO scared of flying as well, and the glas of wine I usually take on board does usually not really help.. maybe I try your way ;) but unfortunately my next flight is at 8 am :P on 6 January btw… freaking me out already!!



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