Well, first and foremost: let me state the obvious.
I. Am. In. London. Londond The city I’ve wanted to visit my entire life–home of the accent that makes me so unexplainably happy! I lived as a Brit for 6 nights and 7 days in a tiny but quaint flat in Wapping, right by the River Thems.
The British are quite an intelligent, remarkable, brilliant, strategic group of humans. Although there food isn’t as luxurious in flavor as, say, the Italians, and their skies are quite gray and rainy compared to the sun and heat of the, say, the Italians, and some of their people are so utterly proper and not as expressive as, say, the Italians, the British are pretty genius.
Lets just get the accent category covered–you stick a British accent on anyone and it makes them instantly attractive and smart-sounding.
The greed, power-hunger, and strength of the British empire has rewarded itself so much in its history. They were definitely bloody and savage and often careless and greedy, but they conquered a lot. The city of London is clean, modern, efficient–at least, it seemed like this to me in the brief time I was there. There subways, for one, are superb and very intelligently designed, and there’s always a worker inside the station to help you. The public service is not only very helpful, but it’s always there–there’s always someone to help you. There museums and art galleries are all free and open to the public. One thing I did notice, though, was that many of them are not so well educated–there poor grammar infers that, and I later learned that there public education system is supposedly not very strong. And it’s also an insanely expensive city. I’ve always been very price conscious, and the prices for basic daily neccesities were insane! Plus, the exchange rate between the pound and the dollar is very high; about $1.70 for every £1.00; so not only were the prices higher numerically, they were in pounds, so everything is much much more expensive. So those days when my mom and I would only by a hotdog from a stret vendor in NYC for $1.50, not $2, because saving that fifty cents was oh so important, are gone–after I saw that a £6.00 hotdog in London was cheap. Damn, dahling.
We stayed in a neighborhood that most tourists will never ever step foot in, and our numerous walks around really gave us a good sense of how real British people live. We had our breakfasts at a local grocer, where we would have delicious smoothies and the workers would cut up fruit just for us, and we would never forget our daily bread pudding and bacon roll at PJ & Bakers, a very British, old-fashioned bakery that only opens when it wants too.
My dad has been to London a few times before, and he downed so much on all the typical tourist attractions, but my long obsession with London made me desperately have to see everything, so we decided to take a three hour tour of all the major sights to cram it all in. And we got lucky, because the tour guide was insanely fabulous! He took us all around central London; to Westminster Abby, the Big Ben, Buckingham Palace. And he told stories about each place that so vividly made each one come alive. It made me really happy to learn a little bit about the British history and see all these place, because come on- I couldn’t go to London and not see the Big Ben (which is really just a clock tower basically identical to one we have in Brooklyn, but still).
In addition to all the walking and sightseeing and exploring we did, I also had a very unique experience in London because I got to see my dad doing a photoshot: I saw him in action! He is simply a genius with his camera. He captures moments and scenes and slices of this world that not another soul on this Earth can. His photographs are so original and so gorgeous! (to my many, many readers, -_____- go see his fashion photography at www.marclafia.squarespace.com).
I met the designer who’s clothes he’d been photographing for a little over a year now– Elsa. She is a generous, brave, crazy, creative Korean woman that was a banker but realized in her 30s that her dream job was to be a fashion designer, and after getting accepted to the Royal College in London, she said bye bye to those ugly grey suits of the economical world and pursued her dream! I got to hang out with young designers, models, and explore the hidden streets and graffitied walls of London with an artistic endeavor. We spent a few nights doing a street art campaign, where we glued and hung up my dad’s photographs everywhere- we nearly got arrested, but I was underage so I was okay! It was scary but it felt awesome; it was so much fun to be around such creative, smart, innovative people, and who cared what the police said because we were making art.
Sidenote: Elsa married a banker, so she is living in luxuryyyyy. She took us out for dinner four times, and we didn’t hestitate to order every single thing we wanted! Our dinners included massive spreads of food–from some of the most expensive and high quality restaurants in London– and drinks; wine, beer, espresso-martinis, pina colados, jugs of mango lassi, bottled water (as oppose to the money saving tap water we drink); desserts every night; one night, Roman and I’s meal alone costed nearly 90 POUNDS! It was AWESOME!
In addition to all the plusses and luxuries we got for a few days from Elsa, it was really great to learn about design and art and fashion, and to hang out with real Londoners doing photoshoots, street art, and more–an experience most kids my age–even most people–don’t get.I really loved London, and think it would be a great place to live someday. And when I do, I’m going to be able to buy drinks every time I go out to dinner too!