Monday, June 20, 2005

Part 4: I Will, I Won´t

2:45pm local times, Gatwick Airport, 20 June

London was many things I didn´t expect it to be and not always what I assumed it would.

Upon leaving from Gatwick airport I already feel a sentimentality for the old girl.

I will miss:

The Tube system, where the longest I ever had to wait for a train was four minutes. But I´m sure City Rail has been totally fixed up in my absence, right?

Soho, the gay al fresco village. What more could a gay boy ask for?

Big Ben, St James´ Park, A&V Museum, Harrod´s and other classic London cliches whose universal knowledge somewhat dimishes the reasons why they are famous - that is, that they´re magnificent. Especially BB. You can only appreciate this gentle beast when you´re right at the bottom gawping up.

Londoners: Maybe it was just because I was mostly dealing with the tourist customer service folk, but the prediction I heard in Brunei airport that London would make Sydney seem friendly by comparison just didn´t happen for me. You have to wonder how a city of 15m people can still manage the odd joke and smile amidst the chaos, while one of 4m cannot.

London bouquet: No matter where I was in London - shopping, pub, clubbing, tourist trap etc- there was a je ne sais crois scent, a bouquet, to quote Tom Baker. There was something wonderfully reassuring about this bouquet. It was the constant reminder of where I was, which sometimes was not always a given, eg on my first night when dancing shirtless at Heaven surrounded by a bunch of tattoed muscle maries to handbag pop, the scent would lean over, tap me on the shoulder and assure me this was not in fact Arq or the Shift.

It was perhaps the clubs that were the only disappointment for my London experience. Saturday night at G.A.Y club I was dancing to music that cast me back to Mars Bar in Adelaide all over again. ABBA, Irene Cara, Spice Girls, you name it, and if it was bad it was there. Granted, the theme to team with that night was songs from movies, but for a venue that was so huge it really was unexpectedly tacky. It was only the night next at G.A.Y pub (there is a difference) that I met a Polish fellow (a "local" as hé´d lived in London for 5 years) who listed all the clubs in London I should have gone to. It would appear I have been provided with misleading and deceptive information from my English friends in Sydney. Still, this didn´t stop me having a good time. I was in London after all, ffs.

I won´t miss:

Queues - 30 mins for the Eye and 45 for Madame Tussaud´s.

Pounds - initially getting excited when seeing prices and for the briefest of moments marvelling at how damn cheap everything is, then becoming extremely depressed as I automatically multiply the figures by 2.5.

Part 5 to come: Barthelona.


At 25/6/05 7:41 pm, Blogger bee-eric said...

I can't believe I didnt even get a mention in your blog! Was my dancing in GAY that bad??
And for the record, yes, the Londoners were nice that weekend, but I can assure you that is purely because of the sunny weather. Any European city is 100x friendlier in the summer (read: three days a year) as everyone gets all excited that they can actually see the sun. When the sun goes, they will go back to being their usual grumpy selves...

At 27/6/05 1:02 pm, Anonymous -Phil of Armidale said...

My most recent experience in London when it came to Tubes was their non-existance. While there are ample during the day in the city, Cityrail seems to outdo them on the hours that they run.
Owing to the lack of any service before 7.40 on a Sunday morning I ended up taking the last Tube at 12.30 to Heathrow for a lovely (ha!) nights sleep on a heater, ready for my 7am checkin.
Still, I can now say I've slept in an airport/ choice

At 29/6/05 3:34 am, Blogger Sam said...

Sorry Liz, you were fabulous company for London and your dancing was adorable. I promise when I see you again Ill devote an entire post to you...if I remember. (You know what a dizzy bitch I can be when I try!) xoxo


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