London dirty old London
Trip Start Jun 02, 2010
74Trip End Feb 16, 2011
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I begin by staying in a Hostel in Heddon Central called London Backpackers. It has 3 story bunk beds and I get a middle one. There is about 12 people in each room too and it is not the most restful place to stay by any means. I end up here for about 2 weeks before I am rescued by my long lost friend Abalene! I manage to find 2 jobs within the first 2 weeks with catering agencies which is pretty good really. It is rather tricky because I need to get a bank account and to get a bank account I need proof of address which means I need a letter or lease. Anyway I manage so sort it out. I also need a national insurance number from the government which is rumored to take 6 weeks to get. Lucky for me I don't need it to start working, but just need to be in the process. I visit with Abalene's family in the country which is really nice to see them all again. After 16 years it is so amazing to catch up and it feels like nothing has really changed between us at all
The next week I am luck enough to be house sitting in North Greenwich for Abalene and by the following week my contacts have found me a place to live in East Sheen. Kelly is my New Zealand flatmate and she is very wonderful to live with. Now is the serious business of 'real' job hunting and trying to earn some money to live on.
East Sheen is about 25 min by train from Waterloo train station. The appartment is above a shop and the whole area is pretty well to do. The shops are quite nice but a bit on the pricey side and the atmosphere of the shopping strip is pretty community orientated. The best thing about the area by far is the wonderful park. Richmond Park is a very large and reasonably wild nature reserve / park. It has a number of cottages and mansions nestled in it's grounds that are no doubt of historical import. There are grass lands and tall tree forrests as well as scrubby bushy forrests and ponds or lakes with ducks and other bird life on them. The fields have a number of heards of dear in them which are very impressive sights and particulary exciting to be up close to. I wander by hoping I don't pose a theat because I really don't know if they are likely to attack or not with their horns / antlars looking so very threatening.
It has a series of road running through it which actually I don't agree with
London it's self is so wonderful to see at last. After seeing it on the tv and reading books and hearing the news the reality of London is of course different to what I have already pictured. It is actually quite pretty place on the whole. I love all the old streets with tucked away and bent alleys. The brown bricked buildings with slate rooves. There is something very samey about the architecture here, but it has layers and layers of history to it. There are of course some wonderful and grand buildings too in the city. Some are modern and some are not so, but there is a pretty good mixture of both. I take my self on walking tours of the city and a friend of mine also visits so we wander the city likewise. Southbank and Westminister and St James Park and Hyde Park being my favorite destinations. St James Park has about a million squirrels in it. I am totally captivated by them at first and by the end I realise they are everywhere and not really all that special after all. The ducks and geese in St James are very diverse and wonderful. I had no idea geese came in so many different colours and breeds! I still haven't managed to go into many of the tourist attractions but hope to get to see St Pauls at some point. I have however managed to see inside many buildings through my work with the agencies. Including the Inner Temple and the Royal Courts of Justice and The Royal Opera House and the Museum of London and Guildhall and V&A and Wemberly Stadium and Arsenal Stadium and the O2 arena amongst others..
My other favorite journey which also turned out to be my least favorite was to Cheltenham Racecourse. I got to work in a tent that had the most interesting 'tweedy' gathering. I just wanted to take photos of what everyone was wearing, young and old.
You just don't get those kind of people in large gatherings back home. Very entertaining. The drive there and back was what made it my least favorite job, just too long to be tavelling for just 30 pounds.
I do not like working as a waiter at the best of times but I especially don't like it when the pay is rotten and the managers are rude. And boy are there managers, too bloody many of them really. Sometimes I wonder what I am doing being bossed around by someone nearly half my age and definatly less experienced. But then I remember I just don't care about the work enough to want to be a nasty manager that everyone hates.
Not all the managers are mean though, but alot are. But after a while they start to like me because I work hard and do the job right and don't cause trouble and do stupid things like eat the clients food etc...
I have managed to visit the V&A and the Tate Modern and the National Portrait Gallery and the National Gallery
I have also visited Camden Markets the Flower Markets, Spitalfield Market, Petticoat Lane Market and Portabello Rd Market amongst others. I really like them all really and find the area of Camden Markets probably the most interesting though. Most of the stuff on sale is all imported junk and stall after stall looks the same really at most of the markets. So needless to say I have not really purchased anything from them.
I have managed to see just 2 musicals so far. Legally Blonde and Sister Act. I probably should try and get to see a few more but the budget is pretty tight still. The cheap on the day tickets are a hit though. Tickets for just 25 pound is pretty good really and both times I had really good seats too. Why does Australia not do this?
Now this whole story of what I have been up to in London makes it actually sound quite good. But my whole time here has been a bit of a stuggle in fact.
A series of illnesses knocked me around for the first 2 months. I also found that London was full of people who are quite mean. This I think has something to do with the class culture here and the fact that everyone is pushing to 'make it' here