Tag Archives: London

Photos of Tourists Taking Photos

Tourists are the worst.

Over the last few years I’ve gotten into the terrible habit of finding a silly idea, creating a blog around it, updating it furiously for a couple of weeks, and then abandoning it. One purpose of this blog/website is to consolidate everything- from book reviews, to procrastination, to life updates- into one source.

One of those silly ideas, which I actually quite liked, was dedicated to photos of tourists taking photos. Having lived in Notting Hill for over a year, one of London’s most touristy locations, I had to deal with these horrible pests on a daily basis. The worst would be on Saturday mornings, when I’d be running late (of course) to my Japanese class. I’d constantly have to fight my way to the Tube stop against throngs of semi-confused Belgians, Dutch, Americans, and- worst of all- Spanish, French, and Italians due to the weekly Portobello Road Market.

There’s nothing quite like exiting your home to immediately be asked the question, “Excuse. Julia Roberts library. Where?” In case you’re confused, remember that movie called Notting Hill with Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant that happened to feature a travel book shop? The one that came out over 10 years ago? Well, it turns out that people are still determined to find not only the book shop, but also the blue door Hugh Grant’s character lived behind. Thrilling.

So, determined not to become overwhelmed by feelings of rage (I used to have a blog called Rageoline & Co. too), I decided to deal with tourists in another manner- by creating a little game. Perhaps if I found tourists funny enough, I could accept the fact that I couldn’t escape them. Ever.

I quickly noticed that tourists, more than anyone else, pose for photos in the most ridiculous ways possible. Also, the person taking the photo usually stretches him or herself into the strangest shapes in order to either appear more professional or to maximize awesome photo potential. My brain decided that taking photos of tourists taking photos would not only be meta in the most hipster of fashions, but would also be quite hilarious.

I’ve taken some pictures of Swedes at a World Cup game, a couple doing crazy maneuvers at Versailles, Indian families at the Taj Mahal, and even managed to get into someone’s photo, while taking a photo, at Northern Ireland’s Giant Causeway. A few of my faves are featured in the photo gallery above. It may be a while, but I plan to either feature more photos regularly or upload a new gallery in a couple months. I’ll do my best to provide better quality photos the next time around.

Tourists are funny.

You Can Take the Girl out of Britain but…

You certainly can’t squeeze those last drops of Britishness out of her all at once. No Writing Adventure Group post from me this week, nor book review. Forgive me, I’ve just moved continents. If you’re confused, this should catch you up to speed. There’s not too much point to this entry other than to keep the blogging up since I have a tendency to drift after a while. I’ll have to be especially persistent because I’ll no longer be writing for Londonist, not that I wrote all that much for them over the last few months.

I’ve been back in the States for a whopping 4 or 5 days and my brain is still incredibly confused. It would be hard to find two places more different than London and San Francisco. London is the place of kings and queens, tea, history, finance, double decker buses, twisty streets, queues, and nicely trimmed hedges. San Francisco is the place of America’s rebels and outcasts, hipsters, coffee, grids, burritos, start-ups, eucalyptus, and wild agave. Both cities attract me to them but abandoning one for the other is not the easiest task.

Having primarily grown up in the States, I supposed that adjusting back to American life wouldn’t be too difficult. For the most part it’s not but I’ve gradually realized just how much living in the UK over the last couple of years has affected me. It’s not the big things that get me (is it ever?) but the smaller stuff. Here everyone expects a tip but you’re expected to clear your table at a cafe- in London tips are reserved for certain situations and coffee cups can be left behind for staff to clear up. I was driving through the city yesterday, signaled to switch lanes, and someone actually let me in. That never happened to me in London, although I suppose it didn’t happen much on the East Coast either. The majority of the people I follow on Twitter are UK based so my feed goes almost dead by about 4pm. People in London actually know what the London School of Economics is. No one here is afraid to ask anyone a question and strangers are generally more considerate. Granted I haven’t gone downtown yet this trip, but I haven’t laid eyes on a single tourist (YES!). The roughest thing is hoping people aren’t offended by my fairly dry sense of humor.

It may take a little while, but I think San Francisco will one day feel like home (or at least a part time home. Dolores Park may not hold the same charm as Kensington Gardens but I’ve got the Pacific Ocean a short bike ride away. Being in a laid back city should be good for me. But please, if I ever start writing about saving the earth or not eating meat, send a virtual slap in my direction.

Chewy Comes to London

Over the past week I’ve had a visitor come to town all the way from Massachusetts. He’s not very tall, rather furry, and his speech is not entirely coherent.

Who is he? A little guy named Chewy. One of my former classmates from Japanese class in Boston decided to send Chewy to some of his buddies around the world. He has his picture taken in different places, a bit of that country’s currency added to his little bag, and some sort of trinket added to his person (wookie?). I believe the adventures began on a roof deck but I don’t know the full story. He’s also been down to Mexico.

I think it’s a pretty neat idea and I’d definitely be interested in doing something similar for my friends from the LSE. They’re all spread out over the globe (Pakistan, India, Singapore, Brazil, Canada, and different parts of Europe and the US to name a few places) so visiting everyone would take a very long time (and get pretty expensive). Perhaps a cute little flash drive could do the job nicely.

Anyways, back to Chewy. He happened to be lucky enough to get to London in time for Elephant Parade, which is similar to Cow Parade, but with elephants (go figure!). He’s hopped on a couple of trunks, swung by Borough Market, checked out an old telephone box, and even visited Queen Victoria (and Princess Di)’s old pad, Kensington Palace. Wish I could have taken him more places, but I’m moving tomorrow!

I’ve posted pictures above but you can also see them on Flickr.

He’s off to India next and should head to Vietnam and Nepal after that. Wish I could join him!

Heading West (and not coming back)

This post has absolutely nothing to do with books, although it may explain why the number of books I read will drop quite a bit over the next couple of months. After a tough couple of months, I have made one giant life decision: I am leaving London and moving to San Francisco.

The move will be incredibly difficult. I love London and think it’s pretty much the best city there is. Also, moving back to the States is not something I had planned on doing for many years to come-I always fear that once I’m there I’ll never be able to leave again. But the job hunt is proving to not be going all that smoothly. Yes I’ve had interviews but I always seem to be reminded that though I do hold British citizenship and have British family, I am just not British enough. I’ve made some great friends here and have gotten involved in fun activities and I’m not quite sure how I’m going to cope with giving it all up.

However, if I stay in London I must also stay at my parents’ house until I find a job. Don’t get me wrong, I love my parents, but I’ve been here for over a year and a half and I am going a bit crazy. It’s nice having the security of having somewhere to come home to, to have fresh food every day, and have people that love me around, but at this point it’s become all too easy to develop bad habits and settle into the lackluster routines of being unemployed. If I’m on my own, I’ll have to push myself harder to find a job because that security will no longer be available.

If I’m going to venture out on my own and try something new it might as well be somewhere I love. Although I have spent a fair bit of time there over the last couple of years, it’s still relatively new and exciting to me. I’ll be able to go wine tasting, learn how to sail, eat burritos every day, get into trouble with some of my best friends from all walks of life, and will have a much easier time visiting my American friends and family. My recent realization that I do, in fact, like American literature is making this all a bit easier. After a bit of time away, I think I may finally be ready to go back-not necessarily for good, but at least for now.

21 days remain until the big move. I plan to see as much of London as possible over the three weeks and to hopefully not freak myself out over all I have to get done!

Volcanically Clear Skies and a Change of Pace

I’ve decided to switch things up and make a few changes to the blog. Yes, I’m still reading and will mainly continue to post about books, but figure I might add some other musings from time to time. Sometimes thoughts need a place to go and I’ve become a fan of this blog so it might as well be here.

As far as books go, I’m about 70 pages away from finishing my 13th book-I should be finishing my 16th! Oh well, I have done fairly well in my catch up efforts considering I was 8, 9, or 10 books behind at one point. It’s been fairly hard spending time reading lately mainly because I’ve been a bit busy and it has been GORGEOUS outside! Sunny and warm weather combined with a volcanic ash cloud has made for perfect skies. That may sound odd but we really haven’t had all that much ash land in the city (at least not from what I can tell). A few days after Mt. Pinatubo erupted in June 1991, (I was 6 years old and living in Singapore at the time), ash rained down onto our family car so heavily that we could have written our names in it. Imagine gray snow, if you will. What we’ve had in London is nothing in comparison. Instead, the flight ban has led to the clearest skies London has seen for centuries and wonderfully red sunsets.

Today I ventured to the Design Museum, which is fantastic BTW, and made the crazy brilliant decision to walk home. The journey from the Tower Bridge area to Notting Hill is roughly six miles, or ten kilometers, and I had left home in a pair of new(ish) sandals. I’m pretty sure they’re broken in now!

The journey home began with an intensely blue sky over Tower Bridge and a couple of tourists who sneakily tried to take a picture with me in the background. I wound my way through Shad Thames, along the Thames walk, cut past Parliament, dived into St. James’s Park, and carried on through the parks until I made my way home. You can see a whole mess of photos onĀ Flickr and a few thrown in at the top of this post for fun. Fortunately for those who wish to travel, and sadly for those of us who love these skies, the flight ban looks to be lightening up shortly.