Change Yourself…Change The World.

Hellooooo London!
May 16, 2009, 8:58 pm
Filed under: England

Well, I hate to be generic here, but the majority of the people in the US that dare travel abroad go to the safe places: Europe. So, let’s safely assume that most of the people reading this have been to London, or have heard many things about London. What I am trying to do therefore, is tackle London from a different perspective- to give you that sense of the ‘road less traveled on’ or some differing perspective of what London holds.

Well, unfortunately I did not travel off the beaten path by any sort today, though I seriously tried. Actually, I accidentally saw all of the ‘best parts of London’ (the most touristy parts). My hostel is situated by the London Bridge. Actually, my hostel is basically a pub, which is pretty tight. Anyway, after spending the past day in FOUR different airports, I somehow miraculously skipped the major jet lag I should have felt, and decided to walk around for a bit and get lost. I ended up crossing the bridge, randomly getting on a double decker bus, and ended up spending the whole afternoon checking out the major sight seeing attractions of London. I crossed and recrossed all of the major bridges over the Thames River, saw Buckingham Palace, Westminister Abbey, Shakespeare’s Globe, Picadilly Circus, stumbled into China Town, ate lunch in Trafalgar Square (where a protest was going on for Palestine- super interesting to check out), etc. etc. I even glimpsed London School of Economics!! (my dream for graduate school.) So while I tried to see the ‘authentic’ part of London, I ended up getting glimpses of all the main attractions- and it was totally worth it.

The wonderful thing about London, the city, is how EASILY accessible everything is. I had no problem making my way from the Heathrow airport to London Bridge, and I had no map or inclination of how to get there (the London tube is a lifesaver. An hour and a half of traveling for 4 pounds). There are countless buses, subways, and the London Underground to get you to wherever you need to go (for reasonably cheap… at least in Europe anyway). Sometimes when I’m in a random city, like Yerevan, I like to just go wandering down alleyways to see where I’ll end up. Many times I end up in the middle of nowhere, and I turn around frustrated. Well, this is not the case with London. There are a million cool things at every turn. I feel like I could spend every day for a month just exploring this city and I STILL wouldn’t know even half of it.

And the bookstores! The food! The ACCENTS! Nothing is better than coming to a new country and seeing signs printed in ENGLISH, restaurant menus in ENGLISH, hearing people only speak the mother tongue– the relief of asking someone a question and knowing that they HAVE to answer you and can’t play dumb because they speak your language and you know it.
One thing that’s really hit me upon immediate arrival, however, is that while these people still speak English, and wear similar clothes, and eat similar foods- this is still a COMPLETELY different culture than America. I made the mistake a few times today of assuming that English people would respond in the same ways I expect Americans to act. Number one rule I learned today: the English people hate it when you waste their time. Number two rule I learned today: for some reason, every single male I’ve met has been extremely disgruntled and rude, while every female has been charming and helpful. Am I being a bit stereotypical? No, truthfully, EVERY one.

Well friends, so far Brittany gives London a huge thumbs up. Tomorrow I plan to go on a FREE walking tour, a FREE river cruise, and hit up some heavily discounted restaurants (being a student is grand, though coming from a developing country to a modern one and having to pay 10 times the amount for something you did yesterday is a bit depressing). I’m sorry I keep saying this, but I always must aknowledge: I have such an amazing life.

Love you guys,

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