Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Day 01:London Bridge is falling down - and I'm falling...into a funk??

Yeah well, not quite. As I was way too tired to write my first entry immediately, I'll have to make up for it today.

So the day of my departure had come. As my mind was filled with different things before, I didn't really have enough time to prepare myself so it kinda hit me like a suckerpunch. Packing was a bitch as usual, so I had to pay for overweight (well, you always gotta pay for THAT one). Lovely start. My plane took off at 6.50 am so getting up at 4 would have been okay, if I had managed to sleep at all – what I didn't. Blegh.

The flight itself was actually alright. There was supposed to be a transfer waiting for me to get me from London-Stansted to Streatham since taking the train, tube and bus with all my stuff seemed not only risky to me, but also pretty stressful – on a day that was quite stressful already. Which of course... wasn't. Tired, pissed and exhausted I waited for about half an hour before I started to fumble around for a paper with the so called „Emergency Number“ on, Just when I hit the call button, a boy – 16 I guess and obviously of Slavic origin – tipped me on the shoulder showing me a sign with what seems to be my new name around here (the last vowel of my last name has always been an O so far no matter with whom I have had contact to in Britain). Hello transfer boy whose name he never told me. Bring me to my destination, please. The „transfer“ itself was actually a real junker with an air refreshener that had „merry christmas“ on it in the back and the driver was a man with a grey, big, bushy beard in his mid-fifties probably. Dobře, Santa. Did I mention that the plate wasn't even British? Shady shady, I thought. But this odd couple actually turned out to be two cordial, funny Russians who told me a bit about London, living here and their habits. They also told me that if I don't want to get in trouble in LDN, I won't get in trouble. Good to know, honestly.

Due to rush hour traffic, it took us two hours to finally get to my new „home“ which turned out to be... a real dump. Seriously, I was shocked.

The old lady seemed nice (still does), but a bit went to rack and ruin – so is the place. It's dirty, stuffed with bibelot and what else and my room is really what I would call „versifft“. When I saw the dresser, I decided to leave my stuff in the suitcase. The wardrobe. Well, you can find hangers – a nice collection from the last 5 decades I assume – but also residues from who knows who, including – and by far the most delightfil object – a sheet of some random pills I am definetely never going to investigate any further.

De Fucking licious
Hello pills on the floor. Stay where yoe are, would you.
That was the moment I decided that couldn't live here. Two hours later, I came to terms with it. Now, I actually kinda like it. Feels just like home (well, somebody's at least who is not me, but nevermind...).

As I kinda knew that I would fall into a little bit of a funk on my first day, I purposely left my toothbrush and paste (just like shower gel, shampoo and deodorant – but that had something to do with trying to stay below the allowed weight of my luggage) at home so that I had to force myself out no matter what. The area seems to be a nice multicultural working class quarter – ugly and shabby, but in a peaceful way with decent people (as far as I can judge by now). There are shops right around the corner, good and cheap. After getting everything I needed, I decided to go somewhere, so I hopped pretty much onto a random bus, that took me to a random station, which turned out to be Tooting Broadway.

Lively place with shops and stuff, including what everybody I know who had been to London (or Bremen for that matter) loves: Primarck. And I got myself: Fancy-shmancy 5 Pound shoes with space invaders on the inside. SPACE INVADERS!
Space. Invaders.
Afterwards, I went on with my „mystery-marching“: I got into the tube and off on a place that sounded to be of interest – the London Bridge Area.

After walking around for a while, I realized that I had not eaten all day. Being the cheap fucker that I am (not having a lot money could have a certain influence on that), I settled on the first low priced restaurant that crossed my path: Pret-á-Manger. About 2.50 for a tuna-cucumber sandwich (with rocket, that I am slightly allergic to since this year...) and 2.35 or so for a „strong“ latte: First thing I ate on British soil.

London: The only place you consider this cheap...

After walking around in this area for a while, it was time to go „home“. Too bad I am still not good with the bus stations, so I got off too early and had to to what I actually planned not to: walking along the park at night. I had checked out the area already via google earth and considered it potentially dangerous, but anyway, seemed like it really isn't. As I told that to the lady I'm staying with, she too asured me that it isn't, but well, „some gentlemen like to meet there at night“. Well well, I can handle THAT.

Oh yeah, the walls in this house seem to be made out of paper that clairaudiant it is, the little Czech girl – maybe 19 years old and a stay of 3 weeks for a language course, ending on Sunday – who is staying here as well agreed on that. She also told me that we are actually lucky to be here, other people had it worse with their hosts.

So far for day one.