Waking up at the butt crack of dawn, taking a couple wake & bake puffs of unknown haze mixtures set us lazily on our way, trodding to the curb with our heavy bags. We were smart enough to leave a giant bag of tourist souveniers & extra warm clothes at our next Amsterdam hotel: Winston Hotel. We wanted to make this as easy as possible on our tired bodies.
Transportation is so easy & effortless jumping from our hotel room to the confines of an Easy Jet taking off from Schipol & landing at Gatwick Airport in 45 minutes. By the time the flight attendants hands you a beverage, the plane was already beginning decent. My kind of commute.
We get on the Gatwick Express bound for Victoria Station in Central London. After a quick 20 minute jaunt through the countryside, we snap these shots:
We got into our first London cab and we were whisked away to Gloucester Place where our hotel, Regent's Park Hotel, was located.
After checking in, we bust a move and start walking towards the shopping mayhem, which is Oxford Street. You see...its the day after Boxing Day, and the sales have the fashion conscious Londoners in a tizzy. We walked into Marks & Spencer to exchange our AMEX Traveler's Cheques, only to be bombarded by more shoppers I have ever seen in my life. We specifically chose London as a destination to see what Christmas (or the aftermath of Christmas) would be like. I was imagining Tiny Tim or Ebeneezer Scrooge to greet me on a snow strewn street with Oliver Twist, but we had no such luck. Just Londoners looking to get those 40 Quid designer jeans on the sale rack.
We decided to remove ourselves from the throngs of people, and find a side street to explore. We walked down Old Bond Street, passing Gucci & Versace boutiques which had lines outside to enter the store. We window shopped & saw purses that will probably never make it to our shores.
We walked towards Piccadilly Circus & called my friend (whom I will refer to as Zanf). I met Zanf on this site EM411, and he happens to be a bad ass electronic music producer (like myself...ahem!) He explained that he would be unavailable for a moment but that he would be down for meeting us at a pub close to Trafalgar Square later on in the evening. YAY!!! My first London Pub!!! I could feel my mouth frothing with anticipation.
Here are some shots as we walked along the way to Trafalgar Square:
We hang out in Trafalgar Square for a bit. Seems to be some sort of a tourist cesspool, with everyone just hanging around, snapping shots. Here are some of our shots taken in Trafalgar Square...
It was about that time to go meet Zanf at a pub called Sammy Smits. We met him on the street and ducked into the pub closeby. We proceed to shoot the shit & talk about an assorted range of topics. It was about 6 Quid for 3 draft beers...not bad at 'tall. Picture time - smile for the camera
After we work up a healthy buzz, Zanf proceeds to take us on an unforgetable voyage over the river Thames (on the Millenium Bridge), & through London's historical Southwark district along the river. We see restored replicas of Sir Francis Drake's warship & a restored version of Shakespeare's infamous Globe Theater. Seen here:
Keep in mind that we had a buzz going, so most of these night pictures fell victim to "shaky hand syndrome" which made London look like a Monet impressionist painting...with a beautiful array of colors reflecting off the water. Ch-Check it out!!!
We ducked into another pub in Southwark, to get outta the wintry wind, but ended up closing that place down. Since it was still technically the Christmas holiday, they closed up shop early. We crossed the London Bridge & ended our voyage at the Monument, which is said to be built within the vicinity of the Great Fire of London. It was news to me...I never knew London burnt to the ground in 1666. Guess I shoulda paid more attention in history class.
At that time, our old decrepit bodies were beginning to slow down. I fancied a smoke...so Zanf, our gracious host, escorted us to our hotel, enjoyed a few Stellas (in a can!!! a tallboy at that) rolled up a few handrolled fags with hash :) (cigarettes to us Yankees)...
After more good conversation, Zanf wished us a goodnight and he was on his way. We passed out, trying to get ready to go see Kings Road in Chelsea & go shopping the next day. Perhaps we may ride on a double decker bus...& go clubbing at night...that would be most excellent. Good night London! Peace out!