London, baby!

 |  Lifestyle, Personal

I am … hastily does the maths nearly 29 years old and this weekend I visited London as a tourist and used the underground for the first time. The capital city of my very own country and it’s taken me this long to go and visit it!

On Thursday, Gaz and I went to see Stewart Lee live at The Leicester Square Theatre and we stayed on in London until earlier today, determined to crack some more items off my list of things I’ve never done (which is a surprisingly long list).

Other firsts over this weekend include my first time in a casino (we left with a profit of 25 pence), my first oyster card (genius invention), first time seeing attractions such as the Tower of London and the London Eye, and my first time in a strip club (more about that in a second).

On the Friday we visited the Taste of London 2014 show (another first) and sampled as many alcoholic drinks as possible to try to balance the crazy entrance fee (£25 each just to be sold to by a ton of exhibitors?!) We had a wander around the Tower of London; I saw my first selfie stick on the London Eye and we attempted to photobomb other tourist’s Eye photos with stupid faces; we ate at the first steak restaurant that basically involved cooking my own meat (Steak & Co.) and bar-hopped the night away.

On Saturday we went to Harrods and the British Museum, and I’m not sure which took the longest to get round. I was absolutely flabbergasted at the designer infantwear in Harrods, with Gaz spotting a little leather jacket for babies priced at over £900! I think I’ve spent less than that on clothes for Isabel in the entire 5 years of her life.

Saturday evening we went out for food in Prezzo which, while very tasty, ended up giving me the shits causing me to have to find an available toilet in the middle of Oxford Street on a busy Saturday before Christmas. NOT FUN. (First ever diarrhoea in a public loo.) After that we did the only logical thing that one does with a dicky stomach and filled it full of cocktails. I did manage to stop pooping, thanks for asking.

Cocktails demolished (there’s something fucking hilarious about watching your boyfriend ask the female bar staff for a screaming orgasm) I suggested we head back to Leicester Square to visit a “gentleman’s club” we’d walked past on Thursday night because it seemed like a logical way to end the night.

Weirdest. Place. Ever. Quite apart from the £15 entrance fee (each), the world’s most expensive ATM in the corner (£10 charge for withdrawals!) and the fact that I was the most-dressed woman in the room, I felt overwhelmingly vulnerable in there. I’m not sure what I was expecting exactly, but we were pounced upon by women from the moment we walked in til the moment we left, desperate to sell themselves. At one stage I was being groped by one of the dancers who thought that fondling my boobs would get me agree to a private dance. I was almost tempted, just to see what it would have been like, but Gaz stopped me (by sensibly pointing out that we were going to miss the last train if we didn’t leave). Obviously I checked my feminist card in at the door.

After we left the strip club, we hopped back on the tube and I ended up sharing a fellow drunk passenger’s McDonalds chicken nuggets. It felt slightly odd to be eating McDonalds when it was a Maccy Ds loo I emptied the contents of my stomach into earlier that night, but the woman seemed insistent I help her out with those nuggets.

Daft drunken escapades aside, it was incredibly weird to be walking round London seeing things that I recognised from the TV or films, and actually being there and it all being real. I was oddly fascinated by the red buses (also known as buses, to Londoners) which have always seemed such an iconic London thing but have never really registered as being actual public transport and available everywhere. I realise that this probably sounds incredibly stupid, but I’m from the country: we’re lucky if we get one bus around here a day, let alone anything more frequent or indeed painted red.

I was also blown away by the massive multicultural feel to London, and the fact that 95% of the conversations I overheard as we walked down the street were in languages other than English. Attempting to listen to a conversation between a French family on the Thursday night (because I’m rude like that) made me realise that I remember absolutely no French from school whatsoever. So much for that GCSE.

I’m not even close to covering my whole experience, and I was so busy just doing stuff over the past few days that I took ZERO pictures, which I don’t think has ever happened to me before. Still, the memories I’ve got (what’s left after the effects of too much alcohol) from this weekend: fucking amazing. :)

Jem Turner +44(0)7521056376

7 comments so far

  1. Aisling said:

    I totally get this since… you know… I did not grow up in this country and had never been to London until I was 23 (so I beat you. And I am still really confused as to how/why you haven’t spent time in London because I LOVE it there). A year ago it was a lot of surreal “pinch me” moments seeing the big things I’d always seen on TV, but now it’s the little stuff. Like never in my life did I think that I would one day casually use London transport. But by now I kind of autopilot through a lot of it. I know Victoria station like the back of my hand, obviously. The fact that I have favourite places, can give directions around central London, etc now is a bit mind blowing for the younger me who watched movies like Bridget Jones and lusted after England as a teenager. The fact that I can be in London in less time than it took me to get to work in Canada is just…. insane.

    Anyway, yes, I freaking LOVE London and I’m glad you had fun. And I hope you visit more often and maybe we can meet up for lunch or a drink or something and I can show you some of my favourite bits!

  2. Chantelle said:

    What a weekend! :D I first went to London when I was 14, but I’m older than you and I’ve never visited my country’s capital city, which is definitely a cool place (but it doesn’t have the appeal of a huge city like London).

    London seems painfully expensive though. £10 at an ATM? I don’t even pay that much when I withdraw funds from random ATMs overseas. £900 for baby clothes? Wow.

    Anyway, I hope you have many more amazing weekends and also when you feel they’re old enough, you get to take your children to London and show them its cool sights and sounds (minus the strip club and such, of course).

  3. Cindy said:

    Sounds like you had a fun weekend (glad that you were able to recover from the food poisoning!), packed with interesting tales (the strip club sounds like a riot!) and great memories.

    Also, that ATM withdrawal fee sounds downright absurd.


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