I’ve been in London a little over a week and I was wondering just what the noise I kept hearing was. I now realize that it is, indeed, noises of consternation and impatience coming from across the pond at my delinquency in apprising everyone of my goings on in London. Well! Fear no more – I shall enlighten you below. (Being this close to Jane Austen’s home, and contemplating a visit to it, has affected my writing somewhat. Please, do be patient with me.) ;D
After a rather harrowing coach tour of downtown London on Saturday, July 7, (air conditioning works differently here, that’s all I’m saying), a group of us walked along the banks of the Thames from the London Eye to the London Bridge. There are festivals and events all over London and along our route we saw so many different buskers – some fascinating, some creepy – that it was difficult walking and not running into them or other passersby because of all the gawping. My favorite busker was the guy playing the fire-shooting tuba. Music and fire – what’s not to love? (It’s best viewed at full screen since I shot it vertical rather than horizontal.)
Diverging from the Thames at London Bridge, we walked south of the river and eventually found the Borough Market. I love this market! I’ve never seen so many different food stuffs in one concentrated area. It’s food carts, restaurants, farmers, cheese mongers, butchers, candy purveyors, flower stalls, patisseries, goat’s milk ice cream makers, and more. I need to go back several times (and I’m oh-so-happy to do so) just to take it all in. The goat’s milk ice cream is, hand’s down, the most amazing ice cream I’ve ever had. Since I’m an admitted chocolate fiend, I chose black forest (chocolate and cherries) which was so smooth and creamy I had to stop and take a personal moment to enjoy it before I could continue walking through the market. It was well worth the £2.50 per small cup. More on pricing in a little bit.
I also found an exotic meat vendor offering some unusual fare. Here’s pictures of kangaroo meatballs, camel burgers, and llama burgers. They, of course, had ostrich meat and eggs, but these are raised in the states, as well, so I wasn’t as surprised to see that. I’ve only seen llamas in the states raised for harvesting fiber and wasn’t aware that some people raise them for meat, too. I love llamas and don’t think I could eat one. To me, it’d be like eating a horse or a dog.
What I have discovered about changing money is it takes some getting used to, but not in the sense everyone thinks it does. London prices oftentimes seem comparable to Chattanooga prices (except for mobile phone plans – they’re much cheaper) because once here you start thinking in pounds. Unfortunately, if you’re getting paid in dollars and not pounds, everything is much more expensive, but it’s easy to forget that crucial point. For instance, I went to a pub and bought a pint of Guinness, which I can get in Chattanooga for $5 at Nightfall. My pub Guinness was £4 and I tipped £1 because that’s all I had left. I ended up spending $8.25 (based on $1.65/£ when I bought money) for what I would normally pay $5 for in Chattanooga. Then I have to remember that items at Poundland or the 99P store are really $1.65 and not $1. Were I paid in pounds, the prices would seem much more reasonable.
One of the things that’s hard to remember is I usually have enough in coins to pay for anything under £5 because £1 and £2 coins have replaced the paper bills. I keep reaching for my wallet when I need to be looking in my pocket. This pile of coins, which I removed from my pocket last night, is actually £9.54. If I had that in change in my pocket at home I’d be listing to one side, I’m sure.
Look for more posts almost immediately. I’ve got several posts to catch up on in the next couple of days, so check back often. Or better yet, subscribe and let the system tell you when there’s newness to read. :)