The girl sleeping in the bunk below me at the hostel told me I sounded "like you're from around here" this morning. But more on that later.
Here are some actual details about the "so far" part of our journey.
We found our way from Heathrow to our hostel, somehow, at around 3pm. After showering, emailing home and eating some really terrible canned beans; we went to sleep at around 6pm.
I woke up twelve hours later feeling terrific, Zoe not so much. I forgot that while I previously went thirty hours without sleep and have the ability to fall asleep anywhere, other people were not necessarily in the same position. The poor girl had been awake from 4:30am. We bought a makeshift lunch from Tescos- where else?- and headed off for the day. In Zoe's words; "we saw sights". We weren't always sure of the importance or beauty of what we were seeing but we enjoyed ourselves nonetheless.
We started with Trafalgar Square and then walked along/through St James Park. Along the way we saw squirrels and horse guards and tall, black hats (not in that order). Then there was Buckingham Palace. I don't think we even took pictures, we were so underwhelmed. We saw Parliament Square, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, walked across le bridge and then just wandered for a while. Past the London Eye and amazing street performers that seemed both unique and a dime-a-dozen.
There was a man in a suit and sunglasses who grabbed a passerby and painstakingly moulded his body so that it looked like he was midway threw throwing a punch. Then the suited man took his pose in front of the man so it looked like he was midway through receiving the punch. They both just stood there for a while, I assume until the quota of coins in the cash hat was reached. There was a Charlie Chaplin impersonator, a blue man playing the electric guitar... it all felt so unique and manufactured, simultaneously. Like the entirety of London, really. This falsified tourist playground that is nonetheless fascinating.
We kept walking along the Thames, saw the Tate Modern (a hideous brick wall of a building) and the Globe Theatre. The theatre didn't look real, just like something that was painted onto the sky. All the pavement bricks had names on them and we weren't quite sure why, or who many of the names were. But the place was brilliant and we resolved to go and stand in the theatre and watch a play the old-fashioned way sometime.
We kept walking and decided to go to the Clink Museum- yes, the jail that proved the namesake for all others. It was fascinating, depressing and warm (after a day of feeling so deliciously cold. Oh, love the cold weather). Just another disgusting reminder of the things people are capable of doing to each other for the most arbitrary and ridiculous reasons. Plaques on the walls of this hell hole of a building said things like "This woman and her five children- she was also believed to be pregnant- entered the jail in ___. There is no record of them leaving." The amount of times I read the words "whore" and "brothel" used in relation to the inmates of this prison made my skin crawl.
After we left, we found a supermarket and finally bought some water after being parched all day. Yeah, that's right, we were cold and thirsty in London. Touristing is such a drag. We could see the Tower Bridge from where we sat, slumped, drank and refused to move from for a while. When we did get up and go and see it, we weren't disappointed. It really is magnificent. After that we headed off to Zoe's family friends' home for dinner and found our way there after only getting mildly lost. The horrible thing about London is that getting the wrong trains or missing one can't actually delay you very much because the damn things run so frequently. You're destined to be on time, unflustered and satisfied with your journey. I think the British people need to come to Melbourne and see how it's really done.
The dinner was lovely, our hosts were the most generous, interesting and passionate people who made us an incredible meal (full of butter and cheese, in spite of which- or perhaps because of- it was perfection) and talked to us about everything under the sun. Our hostess told us about owning bricks and straw at the Globe and that the pavement I was so confuzzled by was in fact partly owned by all of the people engraved on it. She advised us about restaurants, markets and travelling and gave us gifts ... it was amazing. Both husband and wife were so genuine it just, well, it's obviously shone through my usual sarcastic facade that I had a good time so let's just leave it at that. They drove us back to our hostel and wished us well and thus ended Friday.
This morning I ate dry cereal for breakfast washed down with black tea while I wrote this. I think I'm leaving London tomorrow so today is probably going to be a day to see the Museums and perhaps a matinee.
Oh, oh, the accent thing. So at around a quarter to six this morning I was awoken by the world's loudest snorer. Seriously, a more alarming sound cannot be found before dawn, I'm certain. I lay there, awake, for a while before exclaiming "Oh my God!" and before I knew it the person in the bed below me said exactly the same thing. I eventually gave up on sleep and got up but when I went back to pack my bag later the girl who had shared my frustration started talking to me and we must have spent minutes just blasting the guy sleeping in the bunk next to us who was, of course, still snoring. At this point she said "you sound like you're from around here". It's a sad day when Aussie twang can pass for British accent. All I can say is; sorry, Professor Higgins.
It's not a perfect metaphor.