Brick Lane and Chinatown

Trip Start Dec 01, 2008
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Trip End May 21, 2009


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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wednesday, I had a full day off so I made the 50 minute trip into central London.  Historically, East London is a bad place.  People claim there is nothing to see there.  It's full of poor people, crime, and nothing to see.  Once, I accidentally found myself in the middle of it as it's only a 20 minute walk from High Holborn.  Honestly, I don't get what the big deal is.  It's not dangerous like many of the towns in South London and I really really like it!  Stuff is a bit worn down but it's an interesting area.

At first, I headed to Brick Lane in pursuit of the Beigel Shop.  I love bagels and this place is recommended in about every guidebook ever.  I had a salt beef bagel.  It looked a bit shady.  What is salt beef anyways?  But it was pretty tasty.  The bagel place is a hole in the wall and next to the classy restaurants in central London, it was a relief to find such a place.  Not to mention, you can buy fresh delicious plain bagels for 20 pence!!!  So cheap!!

I walked down the whole of Brick Lane and I'll definitely be going back.  It's filled with shady clubs, vintage shops and Bangladeshi (sp?) restaurants as this is where the community has settled.  Brick Lane functions like some areas of New York changing over time and holding whatever new ethnic community has decided to call London home.  Next to all the Bangladesh food, there are a few remaining Pakistani restaurants and the Beigel place which is Jewish.  There's also some hookah bars and kebab places.

From there, I walked to the Museum of London.  It was free, thank god.  Because it sucked.  Half of it was closed, but that doesn't matter.  It was boring.  It traced the history of London from prehistoric through medieval times.  The modern galleries are closed for renovation.  London's history is not boring, therefore, this place really shouldn't be.  Oh, but it is.  So don't waste your time going here.  In fact, many of its most impressive pieces were actually replicas of pieces in the British Museum.  The British Museum is not boring, also free, and is a cool piece of architecture.  Go there.

I walked through in less than an hour.  Surpringly, a museum like this in Denmark was Denmark's most well done museum with the modern exhibits being the most interesting to see what artifacts of the last 50 years a country thinks is worth putting on display.  Not the same for London...

And that was my plan for the day and it was only 1 in the afternoon!  So I headed to Chinatown.  I was hoping to see some New Year's festivities even though the main party would be on Sunday.  Typical, there was nothing going on.

Chinatown is small and compact and located in Soho next to Leicester Square (theater area).  It's the business center of the Chinese population though most don't live there.  There really isn't much to see or do.  But there is plenty to eat.  I will definitely be back here.  It was fun to wander around the few streets.  I ended up at a "cafe."  It looked a bit hokey but they were making dumplings fresh in the window.  I went in and got a plate of dumplings and a bubble juice which is basically like bubble tea.  It was a mango icey juice with big pearls of tapioca balls that you suck up with a huge straw.  The dumplings, also, were very delicious.

Seeing how close it is to Leicester Square, I'm thinking of getting some cheap last minute tickets to Wicked or Avenue Q and heading back here for dinner in the next few weeks.  Basically, all I did was eat all day.  But, I had lots of good food!
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