Published: October 10th 2007October 10th 2007
Paul and me at the game
Hi Australia. Just got back from London... lots of new news!
Left Edinburgh last Wednesday after I was rudely awakened at the ungodly hour of 9am to catch the 1130am bus to London. Had sussed out the bus station so I there were no chances of me getting lost before I even left. The bus ride was a painful 10hour trip on uncomfortable seats... But being unemployed and time not being a consideration in my life at the moment, I took the cheapest option - return for 30 pound - and had a long journey ahead. It wasn't too bad, my iPod and book kept me entertained and as ESTA people would know, I'm quite accustomed to long periods of boredom. (Zoe: I'm reading Anna Karenina - finally! Great book for the trip)
Arrived in London at 9pm and met my uni mate Eue and headed back to his house for something to eat and a quick catch up before sleep. He was starting his first day of work on Thursday which was inconvenient but worked out well. I got up the next morning and had to face my fear of public transport and the city. I wanted to
go shopping on Oxford St so I headed in the direction I believed to be the bus stop as the tube was still too foreign. I had gotten hold of an Oyster card which is just a card that you put credit on and swipe every time you use a bus or the tube. I found a bus that was heading toward Oxford Circus and the bus driver, quite aware that I had no idea was I was doing, offered to tell me when we were at my stop. I showed him my Oyster card, which he just looked at and I later worked out I hadn't paid at all and I needed to swipe it everytime I got on the bus.
So I'm sitting there with my little map, fearful that I'd miss my stop and following the streets on the map as we passed them. I felt like the little thimble from Monopoly, going past Bond St, Regent St and finally to Oxford. I got off the bus and found myself in shopping heaven! I limited my shopping to a jacket - which I didn't have - and one other item before I even stepped foot in
a store. Good move... Dress - 70 pounds = approx 170 Australian dollars. Ouch! ...I needed to find "Go" to collect my 200 pounds...
Whilst I was in the city I wanted to see as much as possible and decided to do the tourist thing. I jumped on another bus and a man sat next to me, and watching me still following the streets on the map, offered to tell me when we needed to stop and proceeded to tell me about the buildings we were passing. We went past the place where Princess Diana was married, and where her funeral was, past the Parliament building etc etc. I got off and went to have a look at Westminster Abbey, a magnificent church. The architecture and detailing of the buildings are amazing. I then went to Big Ben - for you, Ben - and then onto Buckingham Palace. From there I made my way back to Eue's and had tea ready when he got home. I did get a little lost on the way back to his house, but overall the day was a success. I had conquered public transport, purchased new clothing, and seen some pretty amazing things,
all on a solo mission.
That night we headed out to meet up with some of Eue's mates and had a few pints. Got to listen to some local music and enjoy being in London. Had a little trouble with the accents, and found myself having conversations that didn't really make sense to me.
Next day I went and caught up with my cousin Paul. We hadn't seen each other for about 6 years, so I wasn't sure what to expect and packed a bag incase I stayed with him, but also had an escape plan if required. I need not have worried, we got along just great and it was nice to have some family around. We met at Leicester Square and I had my first full size pint. (I'd only been drinking half pints, which was unacceptable and certainly not the Australian way in London!) After a couple we headed to a Japanese restaurant where we had to wait for a seat - it was pretty busy - and didn't stop talking the whole time. We reminisced on childhod memories and caught up on lost years. I've been quite sceptical here in Scotland and quite hesitant
Eating raw salmon in a sushi roll!
in regards to broadening my tastes. Haggis and black pudding have no appeal to me what so ever! And although I love Japanese, I'd always refused to try the Sashimi (or raw fish). But after a few pints I was feeling a little more adventurous and decided to branch out. I was fearful the texture of raw fish would make me vomit, but it was nothing like you would expect and I actually quite liked it. Enough to have a few pieces. And by the time we left, all my reservations about meeting were gone so I stayed at Paul's, just near Wimbledon...
Next day was time for my first rugby game. I went with Paul to a local pub to watch Aus v Eng in some sort of final. It was a great experience... there were quite a few Aussies in the pub and being a close game, everyone was very vocal. It was very disappointing to lose by 2 points and the English went crazy so I decided it was time to leave. We went to catch a movie then headed home. I was quite exhausted so I stayed in that night and had an early night.
Next day Paul and I went to Trafalgar Square and then I headed bck to Eue's house as most of my things were still there and I was leaving the next morning. Back on the bus, back to Edinburgh.
I absolutely loved London, but it was choas. People everywhere, all with somewhere they were supposed to be 10 minutes ago. It was nice to come back to Edinburgh, my little part of Scotland. It made me realise how lucky we are to be living in Edinburgh, and I'm quite happy to be staying here for a while. Edinburgh is hard to explain, but it has this homely, secure and comfortable feel to it and I'm proud to call it home - for the time being!
I only got back 2 days ago and am on the job hunt. I walked into a cute little botique today that was advertising for staff and was asked to come in for an interview tommorrow. So I have to leave you all, I have to make it to the shops to get some things to prepare for tomorrow. Can't wait to start earning some pounds! Love you all and miss you loads
Statue outside the gates
(heaps isn't a word here. No joke, "heaps" is not recognised as a word, its "loads"). Take care, Bye!