Published: June 18th 2009December 15th 2008
I left for Paris and went to London. Now I can say I've been down and out in both Paris and London. Though I guess it wasn't so bad...I just had to watch my money spending really carefully. My first night was going to be my last night in a hostel. I had seen a lot of London and was kind of tired of traveling around by the end of my 3rd month, so when I got to the hostel I planned on just laying around for awhile and doing the tourist things later. Plus I had five days to see what I had not seen last time so I had no rush.
The thing I like about hostels is that everyone is in the same situation. Most people are young, traveling with little money, are scared of being robbed or ripped off and just want to experience new parts of the world peacefully and have some fun. So already they feel like friends, and it becomes really easy to talk to them. Hearing other people's travel stories is also oddly satisfying. Most of the best times I had was imagining people's stories as they told them to me, living
vicariously through them.
I met an Australian man about 25 who had been traveling for 4 months, through Turkey, former Yugoslavia and a handful of other countries only to end up in London before flying to Hong Kong and then home. During his travel he had met a famous sports writer from Australia, and had acquired a position at his magazine when he got back. So even without trying he had manage to secure his future while traveling. He had met Iranian millionaires who wanted him to play poker, ski, and race cars with them. He hitchhiked and picked up enough Turkish to go into podunk places and get around only in Turkish. Needless to say I was sorry my trip was ending so soon after these tales.
No one in my hostel really seemed to be working, so I decided to talk to them while they were sitting around too. One girl had come from Portugal to work and study in London. Her stay was nearly up but she was ready to be home where is was sunnier and mostly warmer. I don't think I ever saw the sun in London.
I also met two girls
from America, one of which had been studying in Paris and the other was her cousin visiting from Indiana. We had drinks and talked about all the interesting times we had had in Paris and what have you.
The next day I walked around Oxford st. to see all the Christmas displays, and I sat in cafes and wrote things in my soon to be ending journal. Then I was to Kirsty, my friend that I traveled with in Ljubljana. She was going to help me find a place for the next 4 days of my stay. I was staying at her friend Vikki's house in Northern London (Thornton-Heath). What I didn't know is that Vikki had four room mates. Two from Brazil and two from Italy, all male. So when I was at her home, it hardly felt like London, but more like Brazil, because Alex (one from Brazil) was the most talkative and had the most time off from work. They made me traditional breakfast and dinners from Brazil and made Kirtsty and I search for Coronas in the small arrodisment that we were in (unfortunately everything was closed except a pool bar, which only sold Sol).
We went to an American party that Kirsty's friend was hosting one night. I dressed as a cowboy and she had an American flag draped around her body, and we also took Vikki's roommate Luciano who also dressed as a cowboy. Most girls were go-go girls but the most impressive were the statue of liberty and stereotypical geek. Once the party ended, we realized the tube (London metro) was closed and had to try and take a bus....but we didn't know which one...luckily people helped us, but by the time we got home we had taken 5 or 6 buses and one train.
The nice thing about London is that most of the museums are free. So it is easy to be a tourist. One day we spent about 4 hours in the science museum.
I got to know all of the people in the house really well and I began to miss them even before I left, but I had to return home, but not before exchanging contact information. I got on my plane the next afternoon and headed back for home...
There are more photos below