Wednesday, April 17, 2013

My First Few Days in London

So I haven't really been doing much writing or documenting over the past two weeks in London. There just hasn't been the time. 
I am now in the backstreets of Soho, next to a Strip Joint and some kinky sex shops, in a quirky little cafe hoping to do a bit of a recap. 

Day One -  day one was spent wrapped up in my bold red coat, white beanie and cream scarf at the football stadium in Chelsea, watching a live Manchester United football match. It was a delightfully vibrant and festive experience that kicked me right into the deep end of local Brit's from the Cornish Pasty I devoured during the interval all the way to the aggressive Man-U supporter who stood behind me who had more 'Fuck's' in her vocabulary than I could have ever imagined possible. Impressive really... 

The cold weather was a shocker, coming from thirty degree temperatures back home. I knew right from the start that it was going to be cold, though I do think that I was quite naive in my choice in outfit!



After Manchester sadly lost the game, I took a stroll around Westminister Abbey. I walked along the Thames and ogled up at the majestic Big Ben and the Eye of London. 
It was Day One and I was already in trouble with a British Guard who shouted at me when I crept too close to some sort of important gates being patrolled!





Day Two - the sun peaked out on the second day, letting me enjoy a few packet of crisps and a cider or three, on a bench outside of a pub called The Red Lion. Even though it was only day two, I realised that the sun sinking into my skin was a luxury best to be enjoyed while I could . . . and that is exactly what I did.


Two days later, after having breakfast at a famous restaurant called The Wolseley, (where the queen used to dine,) and after exploring delectable food markets and shops to find some warmer gear such as thermals and proper winter goodies, it was snowing! It wasn't enough to relive the days of my youth, making snow angels and building snowmen however, it still felt pretty incredible to be dashing through the streets of Shoreditch, (Brick Lane,) getting my less than adequate coat covered in slushy snowflakes while on my way to a local hangout called Full Stop. 




Shoreditch is incredible. I absolutely love it there. Yes, from first impressions as a South African (basically,) it appears to be an intimidating mix between a graffiti covered, litter-ridden, dirty part of town . . . but once settled into the arty, dark surroundings you start to discover how safe and unique it truly is. 
On one occasion I found myself dropped off at the end of Brick Lane at 4am by a very unreliable taxi driver to say the least... it was after a night out with old friends from school. 
In my ginormous Aldo heels I had to wobble up the unfamiliar streets and find my little basement apartment by myself which back home in Knysna, South Africa, would quite literally be the stupidest thing that you could do. 
If it hadn't been my first time experiencing this form of complete isolation and independence I would have been completely anxiety free. The streets are always in a hustle and bustle, even at that hour there are still trendy individuals wondering around - making it completely comfortable for anyone who steps outside.
Of course you do get the drunks and a few cocky people around but as there are so many other people, the chances of something happening to you are very few and far between.

Lost Count of the Days - by now I was in complete holiday mode, oblivious to what day of the week it was, the time, the date . . . although completely refreshing, I wish I had done a better job at documenting my activities as a lot of 'My First Time's' started to take place. 

Being from a small, country-side type town, I am not used to seeing big productions or plays. So when I was taken to see The Phantom of the Opera, I was in awe. It was mesmerising. I adore the story of The Phantom of the Opera, I have done since my brother's ex girlfriend, Claire, watched the film with me a number of years ago. To see it live and to hear the bellowing, powerful voices rise above the phenomenal orchestra, sitting in the best seats in the house; well, it was something beyond special. 
The girl that sat opposite me literally had tears in her eyes by the end of the show, which I found beautiful to have witnessed as she can't have been over seventeen years old. She was clearly on a date and had been completely enraptured by the stunning performance. 
I found it incredible that someone so young could appreciate something like that to such an emotional and overwhelming extent. 

A number of show took place after that, I was completely spoiled by choice and the best part was that I did not need to choose.

The Black Cat Cabaret was next, at Cafe De Paris, complete with a three course meal before the show. At this stage I was becoming familiar with the different types of sparkling wines, broadening my embarrassingly small knowledge of all things food and drink thanks to an incredibly good tutor who took me under his wing and introduced me to a whole new world that I always knew existed but never thought I'd be a part of. He taught me to dream bigger. 
The Black Cat Cabaret was fascinating, even more so than The Phantom of the Opera. It combined the worlds of sex, out-of-this-world talent, temptation, humour and lust into one big magical show that left my jaw hanging open. 



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I really enjoyed exploring all of the different markets in and around London, particularly in Covent Garden. Relaxing up on a balcony overlooking Covent Garden and the incredible street performers while sipping on a glass of divine Persecco. It was all very glam. Bobbing my head along to some majorly talented buskers recreating songs by The Fray, walking along the London Bridges in the middle of the night with the streets lit up in luminous blue colours and slurping up linguine and nibbling on deliciously prepared green chilli's in a Jamie Oliver Restaurant are but some of my amazing adventures. 






It was in the heart of London where I first started to make use of napkins in the proper manner, placing them across my lap while eating as I had never done before. It just isn't a common thing back home! I feel like I am going to return one day a completely changed person. If you look around in a restaurant in London, every single person has a napkin on their laps! Major wake up call . . .

I also goof balled around a lot (naturally) as I learned how to fill up a car with petrol - which back home is done for you by petrol attendants! 


I tasted dozens of different foods that I would usually be far more hesitant towards such as sashimi, raw steak, tongue, jellyfish, haggis etc! Only to find that most of which was absolutely delicious and it is all a mindset that people work themselves up for that truly spoils so many culinary splendours. 
When I return home I fear that my regular monthly food budget is going to have to increase rather drastically with all of these new and exciting things that I wouldn't have normally given a second thought. 
Something as surprising as olives, a food that I used to shudder at the thought of, I found myself nibbling contently around the pip in many bars and restaurants. 



It was then time for me to take a road trip to The Lake District which will be in another post! I hope that you enjoyed my first little snippet from my travel journal. Keep reading - there's plenty more to come!

Signing out for now.

Jade

X

4 comments:

  1. My sister visited London recently too, she had so much fun ^-^ I want to go there too someday!
    I'm hosting a Minkyshop giveaway, make sure to check it out dear :3

    http://mykawaiisecret.blogspot.pt/2013/04/minkyshop-giveaway.html

    xoxo

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  2. Taha gas pumping picture. Loves it!
    So jealous of your travels! =] xx

    http://beautyandlouise.blogspot.co.nz

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  3. I am so jealous! London is my most favorite city in the whole world, I miss it! If you're in the lake district you should totally spend some time in windermere, the the most charming little town! Have fun!

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  4. Welcome to the UK!! Looks like you're having a wonderful time, despite the weather.

    Lx

    www.whatlisawrote.blogspot.co.uk

    ReplyDelete

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Jade