Sunday, October 23, 2011

London Calling

The first time I travelled by myself and the second time I was ever on a plane I flew to the UK and then did a couch tour of Europe. One of those 18 - 35 year old party tours where you see 10 countries in 14 days. I was 19 and my parents didn't like the idea of me backpacking alone, they thought hostels were dirty crack houses, so I signed up for the tour. I visited relatives in Scotland first then took a bus from Glasgow to London and arrived to Victoria Station in the busy cosmopolitan city. I felt so out of place and timid. My Dad insisted I get a taxi even though the tube is quite manageable. I had to have a local help me hail the taxi as they whizzed past me, I wasn’t aggressive enough. The taxi driver rush about the city driving like crazy while talking on his mobile phone to someone he called kitten in a thick gay Londoner accent. The city was huge, busy, full of people and action which was a bit much for 19 year old me from a city in middle of nowhere country Canada.

Since then I have travelled all over the world and have been to London several more times. I became confident and assertive and was able to get to know and love this city, which still remains one of my favourite cities in the world.

The last time I was here was New Years 2005 and its seems my arrival then and my arrival this time aren't too different; from flight to pub.

In 2005 I came with two girlfriends, we had been up all night and were tired, hungry and jetlagged but when we arrived the restaurant in our hostel was closed but the bar was open and there was an iron man drinking contest going on. We gave up food for alcohol and joined in on the fun.

Fast forward to 2011 I arrive to Gatwick airport where my English friend was waiting for me. I was so excited to be in this country again and a little nervous for various reasons (one being I quite fancied this English boy) so I had a bit of garbage mouth and wouldn't shut up about nonsense. We arrived to his house in Ealing London where we decided to go out for lunch. We ended up at a pub called the Grove where we saw a friend of his on the patio. I thought it would be funny to walk up and pretend to know him and he actually went along with it afraid we had met but he forgot.

This friend of his has outsourced a lot of his work so he spends quite a bit of time in pubs drinking bottles of wine. I however found him quite entertaining with a plethora of crazy hilarious stories. So after my sparkling water finished I joined in and had a beer. One beer turned into many and many beers turned into tequila shots.

Tequila has a way of ruining the best laid plans. I had planned on playing it cool hanging out with English boy for the day then staying with my Hungarian friend until English boy and I went to Germany together. I was going to take things nice and slowly so we could get to know each other and see where things went.

That all seemed like a nice idea…


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