Saturday, June 18, 2005

Part 3: Getting Lost in London

(OK. Logistically this entrance jumps over one or two yet to be written, but it's one I feel obliged to get down while it's still in my head. Missing bits to follow).

7:03am local time: Net cafe in Leicester Square. A surprisingly fantastic night of discovering Gay London. I arrive at Ku Bar where the median age of the patrons is probably 22 at most, and commence sitting on my own in the hope of some nice London chappies making my acquaintance. After a while that got boring, so I acquainted myself. And then my new posse and I are off to Heaven, apparently London's biggest and best.

Flash forward to dancing, debauchery and mutual making fun of accents with my new London playmates, and I arrive to my base at 4:30am, only to find I cannot work the locker combination to open the pub's (I'm staying in residence above one) security grills. My cousin anticipated I would have troubles, but not keen to awake him and his lovely lady friend I contemplated other moves. It was already very bright and any body clock I may have had ran out of batteries days ago, so, after a failed attempt at sleeping in a nearby park (did I mention I'm a bit tired, having now not slept in over three nights)? I decided to walk. And walk. Get myself lost in London. It seemed like a romantic notion at the time and with brain nerve functions barely operational.

So I did manage to get myself lost in the stinky part of London - literally, the area where you have to step over garbage bags on the sidewalks. Suddenly I understood why people sometimes call London an ugly city. Of all the places in which to lose myself this was especially heinous. After nearly an hour of walking without a Tube station in sight I started to get a bit panicky (which, it my current state means I raised an eyebrow, possibly bit a fingernail). Then, one appears - and bloody hell, it's one down from Liverpool Street station where I began my journey!

Anyway, a few tube rides later and here I am at this dingy cafe, too exhausted to sleep but somehow full of hitherto untapped energy, fuelled only by a strong cafe latte from a dodgy 24-hour Italian cafe.

Feeling very strange, unsettled, and yet undeniably liberated. I have never enjoyed walking with no idea of where to turn so much. London cannot not impress, even its dark sides.

Some more general observations: Can't shake the fact it feels like an oversized Melbourne. Might be the long single-decker trains, its housing commission areas uncannily reminiscent of (Melbourne's) South Kensington, its unusual shapes on the skyline, the Thames being a lot like Southbank on the other side of Westminster Bridge etc. Still yet to come across a genuinely unpleasant, unhelpful Londoner too (short maybe, crabby sure, but not pro-actively resisting any kind of information or assistance Sydney workers can, particularly their rail folk who have provided small pleasures along the way).

Now maybe my cousin will be up and I can go home now.

6 Comments:

At 18/6/05 6:18 pm, Anonymous Bazza ( Crows Masseur?) said...

Sam. Do watch yourself on the London Tube, as I had the enjoyable experience of being picked up on one. Trouble was, it took away two days of my London visit. We Aussies are just to generous.

 
At 19/6/05 10:44 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Take care mate !!! Check out Soho -had lots of fun there

 
At 19/6/05 11:35 pm, Anonymous miss p said...

Oh, I love wandering around a strange city. :) Sounds like you're having a ball!

 
At 21/6/05 9:43 am, Blogger Susoz said...

To those of us who've lived in London, Melbourne feels like an undersized version!
London can be ugly and grim, but it is truly an amazing city with more than you can ever discover. the gay scene is enormous. have fun!

 
At 22/6/05 2:27 pm, Blogger Dawei said...

Actually, I found the gay scene in London rather vile. The city itself is nice for a visit, but really. Gay wise? Seen one, seem em all.

But I sympathise on the wandering thing. I got abandonned by my then-friend who was meant to be showing me around the London party scene, so I had to wander around Soho until the tubes opened at 7. In freezing winter! With scary people propositioning me for sex. Yuck.

 
At 24/6/05 3:56 am, Blogger Sam said...

I didnĀ“t think vile daw, just a little overrated. But it would seem I went to all the wrong places.

 

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