Saturday, June 21, 2008

I have to admit...

It took me a while to get used to London.

See, there was a time when I could relax. When my head didn’t ache, and when I had nothing to worry about aside from what to wear for the night. But times have changed.

This was my first real vacation after 4 years of using days off for flights home. It dawned on me upon arrival how I’ve forgotten how to relax. When was the last time I didn’t think this much? When was the last time I felt calm?

To be fair, the city itself hasn’t changed from when I left in 2004. My memories of London were none other than fond ones. As a child, I loved that a pound could buy me candy, comics, and even more candy. It was like a SUPER dollar. Studying abroad there was one of the best decisions I ever made. I had a good mix of BU dorm mates who frequented the hole-in-the-wall bars openly discussing politics with the locals, and friends at London Universities who took me to the fanciest of clubs and other secret places known only to Londoners. With the former, I saved many a pound and learned just enough to pass PolySci. The latter? Indulgent and delicious to put it simply. I remember drinking mojitos made with freshly crushed raspberries at GBP13 (hardly ever paid for by us girls) and going straight to work the next day with a cardigan over my clubbing gear. What else could a college kid ask for?

I was in heaven.

Now 4 years later, as Suen and I hit the same bars and even fancier restaurants, I wonder what it is about me that isn’t so impressed anymore. Is the air more polluted since I was last here? Or did I just not notice it then? Did the quality of the cocktails go down? Or have I just gotten used to the ones I still complain about in SF? Bourbon & Branch didn’t seem as good as the London cocktails I had before, yet I longed for their signature elderflower martini. People seemed impolite and the service was lacking – big time. Was I really standing in line for 10 minutes on a Fast Check Out lane? How long more to go before I pay for This Water?

Have I grown out of London?

It took me 2 full days and a few $0.35 text messages to the bf to realize how silly I was being. 2 FULL days before I actually let myself enjoy London for what it was. As a friend once said (and received hell from me) "Chillax Danielle."

Now I know where he was coming from.

Down nostalgia lane:

This was the dorm I stayed at while studying abroad

It was located on Queen's Gate to my friends' surprise and right smack in South Kensington, one of the poshest areas in London. If BU was good at anything, it was real estate

London Bridge Station was where I used to stop for work. Each day I'd take in a waft of freshly baked pastry crust and cooked meats. And when I couldn't resist...

...I'd get myself a cornish pasty

This was the PR firm building I used to work at on Holyrood St. They've relocated to Sterling St but I thought I'd stop by to see it anyway

This was where I used to have hour-long lunches. With a view of Tower Bridge and the Thames, it was always hard to leave each time. Now I can't believe I had the luxury of taking hour-long lunches!

My favorite lunch from M&S: a chocolate flapjack and fruit salad with passion fruit. Not surprisingly they still have both items exactly as they did before

I walked by this building near Carnaby St and noticed how vaguely familiar it was. Then it hit me that this was Kingly Club, one of the many clubs we visited in 2004. Funny how the slightest things can strike a memory

Day 3:

That same day, I made a trip to Harrod's

...and managed to sneak a picture of Ladurée for your pleasure. That was before the lady at the counter yelled, "No pictures Madam!" I don't know if I was more shocked at the warning, or the fact that she called me "Madam." Ech

Pretty candy at Liberty London

Milk chocolate tiffin from EAT before dinner. In all honesty, I got it cause it said "tiffin"

After dinner at Nobu, I worked on my laptop while Suen...

...slept soundly

At least for an hour before she woke up and started working herself :)


Taylor said...

so much fun! were you there for work too? maybe that's the reason why you were stressed

Danielle Bumblebee said...

taylor: i did work a lil while i was there.. but that prob wasn't it ;) i blame my neurotic self..