Six days in London: Day 1

The first thing that I noticed, on descent into London, was a rich brown haze as far as the eye could see. The second thing that I noticed was that the queue for passport control was over 45 minutes long. 45 minutes later I learned why as I was grilled for 3 minutes by the passport lady who was trying to get me to admit that I was visiting to get an illegal job. The queueing was just a taste of London life, as I discovered in the next long queue, to buy a train tickeet from the airport to the city. For the two of us this cost £50 (AUD120) for the 30 minute trip. On the trip I noticed that there was something weird about the landscape, it was certainly different. It clicked first with Kirsten: it was the hills. England, unlike the Netherlands, has topography.

We arrived at Victoria Station and joined another long queue to buy our weekly train/tube tickets. Another £50 for the two of us, we had spent £100 (AUD240) in the first 45 minutes in England. I should mention at this point that it seems that Londoners love queues, it is the only explanation. For the rest of this post, if I say that we did something, assume that we joined a long queue to do it unless I specifically say otherwise.

We got the tube to Mel and Jem’s local station, South Ealing, and began the short downhill walk to their house. We stopped on the way at a local pub to try the famous English ale. The warm beer had no head and tasted horrible. No wonder that most of the taps were for imported beers. Unlike Australia, every pub in London sold Fosters on tap. The Czech barmaid came over to our table for a chat, turns out that she doesn’t like English beer either.

After our disappointing drink we made it to Mel and Jem’s house and let ourselves in. Since we had risen so early to catch our flight, we made up the futon and had a nice hour nap, with the TV showing the quality movie One Million Years BC.

Refreshed, we caught the tube to Leicester Square, ready to fulfill one of my London goals: to see Revenge of the Sith without subtitles. There was a cinema (the Orion?) that had a 5 story high Star Wars poster, so we paid our £34 (AUD80) for two tickets. As you are probably already aware, the movie was very good, the best since Empire. No need to review it here, suffice to say I will be watching it again.

We met Mel at her office on Trafalgar Square and after hugs she took us to her work-local bar which was a bit yuppified. They did not have any English beers at all, so Mel introduced us to her favourite beer to which she had become addicted whilst living in Vancouver. After the second pint Jem called, he had finished work, and would we like to meet him for a drink?

We got the packed tube to Ealing Broadway, where we met Jem for another of those tasty Canadian beers whoase name I forget. All too soon it was closing time (11PM!). Since none of us had eaten yet we went to A Nepalese (Indian) restaurant. Very good quality food, and in contrast to that in NL, it was actually spicy. The meal was cheap, which is a London word for ridiculously expensive. With our bellies full we got on a double-decker bus back to Mel and Jem’s place, sitting up the top right at the windscreen, pretty cool.

1 comment

  1. Hmm I don’t know if I like the tone of this blog at all. What are you saying, that London was crap? What about all the good stuff like hanging out with Jem and me and our flat etc. Not happy Jan!!!!

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