A Travellerspoint blog

Westfield London

shopping day

overcast 21 °C

So I needed to buy a new suitcase for my upcoming Eastern European tour, and took myself off to Westfield London. We have lots of Westfield shopping centres in Sydney, so I thought I knew what I was in for.

WRONG. We do not have Prada, Louis Vuitton, and Jimmy Choo in typical shopping centres in Sydney. I did get the sense that people were looking at me like I had something on my face. I concocted this whole mission where I wanted to try on some Manolo Blahnik's and take a photo of me being all upper class and fashionable... didn't happen. They wouldn't serve me. Kept avoiding my gaze and fixing things on the shelves. Can't say I blame them, I was in jeans and a jumper. Not exactly screaming rich shoe addict.

Once I made my way through the millionaire portion of the mall and found some appropriate (ie affordable) stores, I had a pretty productive day. I bought some Ecco shoes so I don't kill my feet on my big trip, my new suitcase (I realise now I realllly should have got the smaller size, but I AM NOT lugging that bag on the tube again) and a pair of heels.

Good day. Long day. Mission accomplished. Me is tired.

Till next time

Posted by MsKirstieLeigh 12:24 Archived in England Tagged shopping shoes tired westfield Comments (0)

Brick Lane London

Drinks with a friend

So I got a message on couch surfing to meet Andrew for drinks in Sydney. I saw this message very delayed, and he was no longer in Australia. Luckily Andrew is a London local so I said I would meet him here for drinks.

I met up with him in the business district of London near Liverpool St Station. I learned something that I am going to share with you, because it is awesome!

Ok here goes: the business district of London has it's own independent government. It's that crazy!? How did I not know about this?? Sometimes they refer to it as 'the square mile'. It is right in the middle of the city in what is essentially the business district. You walk through a set of bollards and BAM! different government. It operates completely separate and elections are not subjected to a population-based voting system. It kinda reminds me of the Vatican, but based on business and commerce rather than religion. Anyway, I am gonna move on, hopefully I didn't lose too many people with this strange impromptu geography lesson.

So Andrew who I had coffee with. SUCH a nice guy. Super super nice. Buuuuut... we really didn't have a whole lot in common. Ever talk to someone and run out of things to say so end up introducing realllly intense topics of conversations you know next-to-nothing about? No? Just me? well that is what happened.

I ended up coming home feeling strangely enlightened after a couple hours of talking about the United States' military strategies, Chinese politics, Scottish politics (he is Scottish, so he kinda took the reins on that one), Singapore Politics (again, a very one-sided conversation) and taxes. I hope I get a chance to meet up with him again while I am here. He seemed like a fun guy who I could learn a lot from.

We had a cider in brick Lane. They used to make bricks there back in the day. He was telling me all these interesting things about it being a market with lots of cool food during the day. Unfortunately, we met up at about 9pm, so it was all shut. I appreciated seeing it all anyway. I might have to go back when it is up and running. It is a kinda artsy part of London with cool cafes and bars. I think if all of my career ambitions go south, I shall open a brick shop there for old time's sake. I shall strike it rich! The tourists 'll love it!

Till Next time

Posted by MsKirstieLeigh 15:08 Archived in England Tagged night london cider brick_lane square_mile Comments (0)

Notting Hill Carnival

sunny 23 °C

Ok so did you know that London (more specifically Notting Hill) has this carnival every year where they try to mimic Rio's 'Carnival'?

Well I didn't. In fact I was so oblivious that when I showed up I thought I was going to a run-of-the-mill carnival. You know?, with a Ferris wheel and stuff.

Anyway, there was a parade of 'floats' (trucks with DJs and Speakers) that had themed dancers behind them. They were pretty awesome. The dancers were great and the costumes were all pretty impressive. There was a fair bit of wait time between each float, but I think that is just because we were there fairly early in the day.

The food was ... interesting. I had curried goat. It was nice if you disregard the fact that giving someone curry full of bones and rice to eat with a spoon and no seating is not the easiest combination.

As the day went on, it got more and more crowded. Then it got crowded to the point that I could not move or see what was going on. Tip to anyone deciding to run a carnival: if you hand out maps at the start, then change your mind and try to divert a crowd of hundreds to a different location, it gets a littttttle squishy. It started to remind me of a music festival, where I realise that I am right at the height of the elbows and armpits of the tall people of the world. I never enjoy this reminder.

Ok in the scheme of things, I didn't have the best time at the carnival. I was not nearly intoxicated enough, so found it difficult to ignore the trash piling up on the streets, the half naked drunk youths getting increasingly promiscuous and/or aggressive around me, and the standing around for hours waiting for people to decide how they wanted to spend the day. The little voice in my head was complaining so much, I felt... well.... British (little British humour there, sorry England, I love you!)

None of these things were the carnival's fault. Travelling in big groups is always tough for making plans and it is not Notting Hill's fault that I am short. Don't let this throw you off checking out the carnival when you are in London. The music is good, and I am definitely glad that I went to check it out... it just didn't end up being my scene. They also openly sell pot while your walking around, which was not something I am used to experiencing back home.

I did enjoy watching this party that was happening in one of the apartments overlooking the streets of the carnival. There was a group of verrrrrry attractive people in pin-striped suits and dresses laughing, eating cheese and drinking wine and beer. It was so perfectly wonderful and clich├ęd that I am devastated I did not think of an excuse that would get me into that party. Turns out finding alluring formal clothing whilst crammed between hundreds of sweaty British youths is no easy feat.

Hands down the best part of the day was the company. I went with some of the people I met at the couch surfing dinner the day before, and some new people. Kim, Andrew and Kim's best friend (the English primary school teacher who's name I have forgotten.. sorry!) were some of the new people I met. It was fun spending the day with them because I genuinely like them. There were a couple others in the group who... well... I wanted to throttle a little bit. But that is all part of the travel experience right?

Till Next time

Posted by MsKirstieLeigh 14:45 Archived in England Tagged london england fun carnival notting_hill_carnival notting_hill Comments (0)

Night Out in London Town

with Couch Surfing Friends

sunny 22 °C

So I signed up to go to dinner with an online website called 'couch surfing'. The premise of the site is to find people who will let you sleep at their house when you travel to save on money. The site also runs social things for those who (like me) have the accommodation side of things sorted.

It was actually pretty fun. About 12 people showed up. Angelika, Angelique, Rowana, Shay, Carlos, Fernando, and Peter. Ok I know that isn't 12, but I am terrible with names, so that is pretty good for me.

We ate Chinese food and went a club called Zoo Bar where we got half price drinks until 9pm and watched Shay make out with a sexy French guy. There were actually two other French guys there. They smiled at me occasionally with an awkward sort of indifference. I really need to figure out how to flirt with men... urgently. I am so awful that it concerns me.

Overall it was good to get out and talk to people for a change. It had been a while and my own company was driving me a litttttle bit up the wall. I had fun :)

Till next time

Posted by MsKirstieLeigh 14:39 Archived in England Tagged night london england party zoo_bar Comments (1)

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Hilarious west end show

sunny 18 °C

So I treated myself to a West-End show, because, well... I can.

I picked this one on a whim and I am really glad that I did. It was funny! And I mean genuinely funny!

I have learned since that the show is based on a movie that I haven't actually seen. Maybe this worked out better, because I can't imagine the characters being played by anyone else. Robert Lindsay was amazing. He has that type of on-stage natural humour and charisma that someone who used to perform has no shame in being extremely jealous of. I would say he stole the show, but that doesn't really make sense when he WAS the star of the show... hmmmm... he 'owned' the show? Anyway, he was great. Rufus Hound was also a joy to watch. Great costumes, great music, talented cast, great lighting, just GREAT! I feel like I haven't said great enough... great great GREAT!

Wow this went down a bit of a theatre review path. Sorry about that. But seriously, go see this show! It isn't even that expensive.

Back to the less fun run down of my life on the might of the show; I had a great dinner before the show, laughed my butt off during the show, and took myself home through the scenic route of London at night without getting stabbed. A successful evening all round I'd say.

Till next time

Posted by MsKirstieLeigh 14:30 Archived in England Tagged london england theatre fun west_end dirty_rotten_scoundrels Comments (0)

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