Category Archives: in town

First post of 2009 (finally)

Here it is the end of march and I am finally getting around to updating this thing.  Where does the time go? Well, in fairness, my mom was here for 10 days and then some friends from minneapolis were her for a bit and then the following week Verena had a friend over so this is really like the only “free” weekend I’ve had since the end of January. Also, I have gainful employment for the time being – which is good as that allows to stay here for a bit longer, hooray.

Enough of that, on to the funny stories.  So I don’t have any great revelations regarding British-y things other than cocaine is apparently making a big comeback here.  Let me tell you a little story… At the beginning of March I attend on of the Photowal London get togethers and we basically wander around the east side by Spitalfields (pictures here) and since I was on the east end, when it wrapped up (about 6:00) I figured I’d just wander over to the city and take some more pictures, so I did. By the way Guildhall is deserted at 8:00 on a saturday) and when I got bored doing that I headed home.  As I’m getting into my neighborhood this hipdter guy stops me the following takes place:

“Oi, mate,  can I use your phone? I’m trying to meet up with my friend, but the phone box to ring the flat isn’t working and I need to give him a ring”

I’m a kindly soul, so I give him my phone and he says “Aw, thanks, mate.  Nice dog” (becasue my dog is of course the background on my phone) And then while it is ringing all nonchalant he asks “do you need anything for tonight?”

me: “huh?”

him: “you need anything, coke, weed…”

me:”um, no, I’m good thanks”

Then his friend picked up and he they talked for liike a minute and he hands my phone back, says thanks and we both go our seperate ways.  Then when I get home (bear in mind this is about 12:00) my phone rings and I’m struck that I just made a horrible, horrible mistake so I of course do not answer it.  I look and check the number against the number the guy called and indeed it is the same.  Neat. But nothing ever came of that so that’s the end of the story.

Then next week on thursday right after work, I’m walking out of the corner shop after buying some cigarettes (or fags as the call them here hahahahaha) and this kid comes up to me and asks if I need a light, I say no, he asks if he can “bum a fag” (hahahahahahaha) and I say sure, then he asks “you need any weed?” No, thanks, I’m good.  This takes place directly outside of the building I work in.

And to wrap up the drug offering stories here’s another.  Verena and I go to a club to watch Hot Chip play a DJ set and literally the first person we see upon entering walks up and asks – yep you guessed it – “you need any coke” awesome.  I regret to report that I have had no offers for heroin. ALso at the club I saw Hermoine Granger, wait, I mean Emma Watson.  She could do a lot better than the guy she was with.

I non drug related news, spring has sprung in the capitol and there are now hordes of pasty britons flocking to the lovely parks here.  “The Boat Race” also took place today. A sure sign of spring (Oxford Won by a lot) .

Speaking of winning how about that Brawn GP team?  Amazing.

That’s all for now, I will make a concerted effort to update this every sunday.  or maybe everyother sunday.


Wednesday 15 October

(This shot is from a previous london visit)

So wednesday I was still feeling al little out of it, but I decided to brave the Oxford St. / Regent St. / Piccadilly Circus area in an attempt to find some computery things and change American dollars into British Sterling so I jumped on the train and headed “into Town” as they say here.

I went to the Nike store first, not becasue they have computer things there but because the Nike Store makes me happy. Then it was on to Marks and Spencer to see if they would change my money. However, their rates were not all that great and they didn’t have enough Sterling on hand anyway.

As I was walking back down Oxford I see a Bureau de Change and see that, surprisingly, they have decent rates so I make a note to check them tomorrow. Wandering down Regent Street I see the Mac Store and decide to see if they will have a UK power cord for my laptop. I walk into pandemonium… people everywhere, 10 person queues for each employee… just sheer madness. So I look around on my own and fail to find what I want and so I leave.

I stopped at my favorite london cafe (so far) had a coffee and a sandwich and then decided to call it a day and head home.

Things I have learned so far:

– london is always busy. ALWAYS. it is truly mind boggling how many people live here. seriously.
– the Mac store on regent street is a mad house.
– british people love standing in line
– asian firls wearing tiny tiny miniskirts, kneesocks and interesting shoes is not a stereotype, it’s true.
– Gin is delicious (but I already knew that)
– if you are a polite american, people think you are canadian
– there is an amazing range of rate of exhange between money changers