Thursday, September 2, 2010

Day 02: Did you know they have traffic lights for trespassers in Germany? (02.09.2010)

In the morning, P called and we decided on a time and place to meet. We already made plans for hooking up today but still had to settle on a time and place. Brixton Station. 12.30 pm. Fun! So I got down, said good morning to my host who made me some nightmarish swill what she dared to call coffee (instant) but I'd rather call BÄH. It kinda tasted like burned toast, no other flavour, no real coffee. But maybe I was supposed to dip my actual toast into that stuff as this one really could have used some heat. I wasn't sure whether the jam actually contained strawberries but it does - though it really is pretty much at the end of the list of ingredients. hm Compared to German no-name products, British ones really really look as cheap as they are and well the quality; oh the quality...

Nevermind. Excited to meet P I got to Brixton which is really not too far away from my place. Thing was... my mobile screwed me over; it set itself back to German time in a magical process I only can assume - or maybe it just hates me for treating it that badly... Anyway. When P called I thought it was 11 already but it wasn't. I only realized that because I saw another watch at the tube station. Dayum. But hey, I had to keep myself busy so far and probably have to for a longer time here as I still don't know anybody and Brixton is awesome. It's very multicultural and especially influenced by African-Caribbean culture (excuse me if I'm wrong). So I took a short stroll around the outside market with reggae blasting from one side and dancehall from another. Germans would compare the atmosphere with a bazaar, but that's of a different cultural origin.

Afterwards, I chilled for a little while in front of the Ritzy, an old cinema with a story to tell (which I don't know...). Just there is a park with a not mentionworthy size having something on the ground which I would not really call a well or fountain, but rather a waterspraying play on the ground. I found it a bit odd that there were actually mothers with their children (I assume) meeting there, sitting on the little green areas having a picnic, their children wearing swimming clothes, playing in the water. You wouldn't find something alike in Germany, I assume.

Only after a little while, I returned back to Brixton Station, still waiting for P to arrive (who was on time, btw). Lucky for me, there was a little Starbucks (they are EVERYWHERE, seemingly squeezed into whatever small room is there) with a woman sporadically coming out offering free samples so I was able to mooch off some vanilla latte and a lemon frappucino of her - keeping me hydrated and saving me maybe 3Pounds or whatever that would have cost me (not that I was going to buy some, anyway).

When she finally emerged from the station - sporting an AWESOME do which unfortunately will be gone when she's back teaching - she showed me around Brixton Market, telling me what has changed around there, at the same time searching for a place to have authentic West Indian (/Caribbean) food for lunch (thank you for the invite again!). After dismissing two places, hungry and slightly impatient we settled on a small restaurant what she remembered to have been a nice Caribbean bakery, but is now a rather corny place resembling a hut, whith the most prominent colors being the ones of the Jamaican flag and palm trees painted onto the walls etc. (and little plates with proverbs - "Puss gaan, Rats tek ova", was is?). The music was not less corny, but nice consisting of disco music, early hip hop an so on - black artists, naturally.

Anyway, everything on the menu was authentic so P told me and turned out to be reeeaaally delicious! Both of us had some guinness punch (guinness beer, sweetened condensed milk and spice) she had jerk lamb w/ yam, a dumpling and banana (not sweet and rather dry and solid in its consistency, just like the other two - I got to try it, yeah! ) and I myself had jerk chicken with plantain (from the same family as bananas, tasting like a cross between them and potatoes). We both had rice and beans again, which is exactly that, rice and beans, duh. Leckerschmecker, and I will definitely eat in Brixton again. Oh, I had the decency to not wildly take pictures of everything while I was with her like a dumb tourist, so no pictures here, my bad. Maybe some other time.

After our great meal, we took a stroll over Brixton Market again, meeting one Jamaican shop-owner who lived in Germany for a while with her husband! As I had no definite plans for the afternoon, I took the tube to Greenwich over Canary Wharf, so we could still spend some time together before we both went our own ways. When we were in the tube, I was telling her about my encounter with an old lady in Sarstedt at a red traffic light which ended with me pretending not to be German so I don't have to listen to her nagging as I passed a red one (no car insight!). Alas, I mixed up the word "pedestrian" (Fußgänger) with "trespasser"(Eindringling, jemand, der unbefugt ein/dein Haus betritt) so everybody had a good laugh while I humiliated my stupid foreign me (just kidding).

After we said goodbye, I continued to Canary Wharf, a modern business and economy area with skyscrapers that don't scrape that much, but are quite impressive, nevertheless (too much stone, steel and glass for me, though.) After not too much time having passed, I finally took the DLR revisiting Greenwich, as I have been there on a school trip 3 years ago.

I was in two bookstores, looking for a certain book that I imagined I'd buy from one of these cute little ones rather than Barnes & Nobles which would not have that romantic cling to it, but nevermind. The One Pound Bookstore by the way turned into an ordinary one. :(
I also saw the playhouse we saw Romeo and Juliette in 3 years ago (the one which is actually a pub with just one little room for the play in the back) and had a Café au Lait dans Café Rouge just like we had then (do you remember, Mary?).

Money Shot - This is what everybody was wating for. ;)

 At the end of the day, I saw the Palace of Westminster, lingering in its small park for a little while.