13 November 2010

"You're freaking out my energy"

One of these days I will actually post when I say I will. One day. Soon. Perhaps. (Clearly my language indicates that I am an extremely decisive person.)

I will freely admit that I am not a city girl. Whilst St. Mary's was a bit too small for my tastes, London and DC are rather too large. I dislike crowds since I am very easily annoyed by people who walk slow/on the wrong side of the sidewalk, and so have decided that big city living is simply not for me. That said, there are some days when living in a major city does have its perks. Take today, for instance.

It started off much like any other day in that I woke up, ate breakfast, and ran to the gym. This in itself is one of the perks of the city: there are gyms everywhere. Back home in Laurel - not so much. (But Laurel has TurboJam, which London does not...so I feel that it balances out nicely.) I specifically joined the KCLSU gym off Stanford Street because: a) it's cheap, and b) it is 2 miles from my flat. This makes it far enough that I can feel justified in not going when it is raining or cold (on these days I usually go for a run on the Thames Path...go figure), but close enough that I can run or walk there within a reasonable amount of time. After the gym and a shower, it was time to head to Oxford Street to run a few errands.

For those who are not aware, Oxford Street is THE shopping mecca (besides Westfield's mega-mall outside of the city) for London. All of the major high street names have shops on the Street or one of the small streets off it. It boasts no less than 3 H&M stores as far as I can tell (and since I have never successfully made it down the entirety of Oxford Street, there could be several more) and the world's largest Primark. This in itself is enough to guarantee that the street will always be crowded. And crowded it is. I consider Oxford Street my own personal version of hell. Not only do you have massive amounts of people crammed on the sidewalks, but they often are laden down with enormous shopping bags, baby prams, or suitcases. Add to this the slow walkers, the window shoppers, and the awe-stricken tourists, and you end up with a virtual gridlock situation. It can take five minutes to move the distance that I could walk, unimpeded, in a minute. As a result of my upbringing, I am a naturally fast walker. So having my ambulatory progress impeded by the movements (or lack thereof) of others frustrates me immensely. I can usually last no more than 20 minutes in these crowds before I lose patience with humanity entirely and stalk off down a side street to regain my composure. As I result, I only go to Oxford Street when I absolutely have to and even then I try hard to avoid the weekends. Unfortunately, today's errands required me to visit a store only found on Oxford Street. But that is not the point of this story.

The start of the parade: army marching band

Hamley's Toy Store display

Worshipful Society of Basketweavers

The Redcoats are coming!!!

The new Lord Mayor of London, Michael Bear

Swingin' Carnaby Street (off Oxford Street). No Christmas is complete without OuterSpace!Santa


On my walk across the city to Oxford Street, I happened to come across the Lord Mayor's Show (when the new Lord Mayor is sworn in). I had seen advertisements for it plastered on telephone boxes, but had not actually realized that it was being held today. So it came as a bit of a surprise when I began to notice a decided lack of traffic in the city centre and eventually came upon the actual parade itself. It was very good and got me into a better mood than I had started the day in. (See a selection of photos of the parade below). I believed that it helped fortify me against the unpleasantness of Oxford Street, which was still a miserable experience. But this was negated by the fact that I got to see the Lord Mayor's Fireworks show along the Thames at Victoria/Temple as I was walking back home.

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