Archives for posts with tag: london

Some pics from the last few days:

Chinatown in London. This was a great evening where we did some barhopping in SoHo and Leicester Square. Randomly enough, I bumped into a bunch of people who were from Detroit.

Neato sushi place with conveyer belt. Price is dictated by color of the plate.

Absolut Ice Bar – Walls, furniture, and glasses all made of ice and room was -5C. More interesting than good.

They still call them “Carphones” here and use the hectare. It’s like living in a time warp.

I’ve been riding the tube for about 2hrs a day and initially I found it a very interesting slice of life, but now I just am mad when I forget something to read and curse tourists. Mind the gap.

Some are spicy, some are not.

Went for full on English Afternoon Tea at the Landmark Hotel. Very elaborate and proper. They have something called clotted cream which tastes like butter but is clearly very bad for you. Also has a terrible name.

Yep.

I’ve been out getting stuff for starting a normal office job and began to pay attention to what people are wearing around London. Since I last checked, more people are wearing things that would typically be seen in America, including sweat pants, tennis shoes, stuff with logos on it, and baseball hats. As far back as I can remember, people in England dressed like adults for the most part, slacks, shoes, topcoat, etc on the level of business casual at least. However there is definitely a creeping cultural change here in the UK toward all-things American.

The movie place where we went a few nights ago was surrounded by a bowling alley (didn’t exist here more than a few years ago) an “On the Border” type of chain Mexican place, and a Burger King. People no longer have milkmen that bring you what you want in the morning. The mail only comes once a day now. Everyone seems to have a NY Yankees hat or jacket and apparently no one has any idea what sport the team plays. Television now has British versions of everything from “Beauty and the Geek” to “Pimp My Ride”, the latter of which is apparently hilariously hosted by a white guy who says “bling” all the time, but I haven’t found the listings.

You see this sort of thing going on all around Europe as well. This phenomenon of more Americanization also comes with an increasing amount of diversity in the public sphere – the train could be full of women with hijabs, African guys with African-guy hats, Polish construction workers, Sikh businessmen, and the occasional white English guy. It leads to people here calling for more restrictions on immigration, but it also makes for an amazing city. This evening I had dinner with an Indian-American cousin and her German husband. You see this globalization in major cities in America also and it makes you wonder exactly what it will mean to be from a country or race in the next 50 years. Until we figure that out, they’re trying to look American and I’m trying to look English. Well, sort of.

The part of being abroad that really sucks is when people start to ask you what is going on with the government. “People must realize what a tyrant Bush is, right? People must see that he’s only inciting more violence against the US, right? Who exactly is voting for him?” These questions are difficult to answer as a representative and citizen of the United States of America.

My uncle and I were discussing the administration after my cousin and I saw Syriana (It sucked. No plot. Could have been much much better. Stupid liberals always fucking up the right story…..) and he started in with the Katrina business. I agreed with what he said, probably even before he said anything. The worst part was when he compared the American public to that of the USSR or China.

He said “In communist countries, it was obvious that if you spoke out or questioned the actions of the government, you would be hurt or killed. No one had any allusions about that. However in America, questioning the government seems to be grounds for being called un-American and thusly the people seem to be cowed into complacency. No one seems to care about national issues or vote in your country at all. It is actually a much worse situation than a populace under a dictator when the people censor themselves.”

Fuck, man. What am I supposed to say to that?


I’ve arrived here in London at my relatives house, my first visit since 2000, for which I blame graduate school. They’re still great and hilarious and I’m glad to have them in my family. Tomorrow is the only real city day I get this week, as I’m leaving for Holland on Thursday to visit with friends from graduate school. I’m going to hit up some museums, which thanks to socialism are all free, and wander around some in the foul weather they have a patent on here.

In case you can’t see a timestamp, it’s the middle of the night and I’m jetlagged. In an effort to stay awake after arriving in the mid-morning, I had my cousin drag me to town to run errands, one of which was a stop at the Argos store. By way of explanation, Argos is a retailer more famous for their catalog than anything else, and as a result their storefront is a lobby with lots of these catalogs bolted to the walls, some cashiers and a pickup window. That’s it. They cut out all the displays entirely. So you pick out what you like, pay for it, then wait in this area (comprised of a bunch of chairs in the middle of the store) where you watch a rectangle with your order number on a TV navigate the cryptic queue algorithm to figure out when your space heater will be ready. If this isn’t a dystopian future already, I’m not sure what is. Again, that much better when you can barely keep your head upright.

Ideally, something more interesting to see tomorrow. I’m going to go back to bed and stare at the ceiling for another four hours.