in and out again

As is tradition, when you return from one trip you must immediately book the next. We’re going back to Ireland! More on that later, though – here’s all about London.

I had a great time, even though I was sick and had to work and was very cold and had many internet issues. Still, London. All of those things are minor annoyances when you’re in your favourite place in the world.

That being said, next time I think “hey I should go somewhere in January”, please remind me that most people would go someplace WARM, as opposed to some place colder than the place they left. London was surprisingly frosty, and in my delirium (I was so sick) I kinda forgot to bring a coat. I don’t wear a coat in Vancouver (mostly because I do not go outside), so I should be fiiiiiiine in London. And I wasn’t, at all! The first day I went outside (still sick), I had on 5 layers of cardigans (because that’s all I brought) and I froze my vagina right off. It was cold. Luckily, I had internet and money, so I bought a coat and arranged for it to be delivered the next day. It wasn’t the warmest thing I’d ever put on, but it did the trick and I spent the rest of my time in London delightfully warm-ish and also plaid.

The last time I did London solo, I was gone for over three weeks and found that to be too long a time to spend inside my own head. This time I was gone for just two weeks, and it was perfect – I missed Ed and the cats and general human contact, but I wasn’t despondent in my lonely despair. This is good information to have, because now I know I can be all “lol bored going to Germany now bye” yet retain the majority of my sanity.

So, what’d I do in my two weeks of me time?

  • Wandered Brick Lane for hours, taking pictures of graffiti and finding my favourite piece again to test my location memory
  • Visited Spitalfields Market
  • Watched the sunset from Sky Garden
  • Attended the Women’s March on London
  • Took a canal boat from Little Venice to Camden Lock, wandered the market, drank SO MUCH orange juice
  • Did nothing (was sick)
  • Went to the V&A (three times)
  • Visited the Saatchi Gallery
  • Explored the area around my flat, which included squares Sloane and Duke of York
  • Saw many Sloane Rangers (hah!)
  • Went to the Natural History Museum and spent a lot of time in the earthquake simulator as practice for Japan
  • Met up with Jen of Oxford and had Lobster Rolls!
  • Bought every damn pair of leggings from Primark – sorry, everyone else
  • Went to the waterfront by the Tower of London and took several thousand photos of Tower Bridge all lit up at night
  • The V&A is open late on Friday nights; discovered it turns into a bizarre nightclub with live acts and fancy people going WOOOOOOO
  • Got locked in the V&A courtyard and had to literally scratch at the door to be let back in (aka stand and wave at people until someone made eye contact, then played charades until they realized I was trapped) – luckily, that courtyard is one of my favourite places on the planet (albeit much more so when it’s warm and I’m not locked outside) so I didn’t mind all THAT much
  • Discovered that eating grilled pieces of halloumi cheese with a spicy-fruity sauce is fucking amazing and that’s all I’m going to eat from here on in
  • Had many adventures with the Travelling T-Rex
  • Portobello Market! Love this place. Wandered. Did not buy boots, but did buy pearls. I am so fance.
  • ASTRONAUTALIS SHOW WOOOOOO I’d been wanting to see Astronautalis in London for some time and it just so happened that he was playing London while I was there so I went to the show and remembered to stand on stage right and it was so awesome and YAY
  • Chinese New Year! Went to Chinatown and watched dragons and crowds and got totally soaked in the rain.
  • Seven Dials. Accidentally bought four boots.
  • Covent Garden! London Transport Museum is awesome! Also, Shake Shack. So good. Missed Ed.
  • Finally visited Tate Britain!
  • Waterfront, this time by the London Eye. Took many photos of Big Ben, the parliament buildings, and the Eye.
  • Science Museum! No cosmonauts this time, though. Still cool.
  • Ate fish and chips (but only once, on my last night there)
  • Had an amazing fucking time
  • Finally shook off my terrible flu/cold thing
  • Rekindled my need to live in London for a while

.. I did a lot of things. I walked a terrific amount, so much so that my watch and ring were both very proud of me. Had some fun shopping, which caused issues bringing stuff back even though I tried really very hard to be good. Honestly, I didn’t want to come home: I wanted home to come to me. I missed Ed and the cats and having hot water and water pressure and loads of internet, but dammit .. I want to be in London. Especially now that Vancouver is fucking covered in frozen white bullshit. Yes, the UK gets winter too, but some things are easier to manage when you’re where you need to be.

Half of my pictures can be viewed here. The other half will be uploaded shortly, but I experimented with not hauling a camera around with me and looking like a tourist, but using my phone instead. I have some extremely good iPhone lenses that extend the abilities of the already-amazing iPhone 7 Plus camera, and it was nice to be able to wander around with fewer things to carry. I don’t think I’m going to repeat this in Japan because I’m going to want to capture every damn thing ever, but for a place I know very well, it was nice to have options.

It was a really good trip, yo.

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i love this place.

out tonight (meow)

Tonight I am going Out. It doesn’t really matter where, and it likely isn’t what you’re picturing – but I will be Outside and it will be dark and cold and probably pretty awesome because I’m in London, and almost everything is awesome here.

I’ve been working remotely (err, even more remotely) this week, which basically means I’ve been keeping some pretty strange hours. I’ll usually wake up in the morning, work for a couple hours, go out for a bunch of exploring and museuming, then come back and work in the evening so I can get some hours in while the NA peeps are around. It’s not a bad arrangement, but I am really looking forward to closing my laptop as soon as my 8am meeting is done and heading to the waterfront so I can gaze lovingly at some fancy structures while dodging Aggressive Shrek and tourists with poor (selfie) stick control.

Since I decided I was going out tonight, I’ve had Out Tonight stuck in my head. I do want to hit the street, but I will refrain from wailing at the moon like a cat in heat because who does that (certainly not this Canadian with severe social anxiety – plz do not look at me unless I am on stage with my boobs out, thx). Other things I will probably not do even though my body’s talking to me, it says “time for danger”:

  • Commit a crime
  • Be the cause of a fight
  • Put on a tight skirt
  • Flirt with a stranger
  • Go some place sick
  • Refer to myself as “chick”; dance in the flames
  • Prowl
  • Be a night owl
  • Take your hand, we’re gonna howl

In retrospect, I have less in common with an HIV-positive Hispanic-American club dancer and drug addict than I thought.

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brick lane street art by @lorazombie

some things are bigger than your fear

I woke up this morning in pretty rough shape*, but I forced myself outside for one (historic, epic, vast) reason. I don’t think the marches outside of Washington DC had been planned when I booked my trip, but that’s the glorious thing about so many people coming together in solidarity – it’s global. Hundreds of thousands (millions?) of women and men marched around the world today to demand women’s rights and protest against Trump and all he stands for, and it was a powerful thing to see. I’ve been on the verge of awed tears all day long (which is kind of exhausting, to be honest), and I wish that I could have been more evolved in the event .. but there are limits to what you can expect from yourself when you’re a) still sick but powering through as best you can, b) terrified of crowds, and c) traveling from afar with no room in your bag for poster board. I’m happy that I made it out, though.

*: I forget to eat when I’m on my own. Forgetting to eat when you’re sick (or, you know, ever) is a bad idea. I promise to be better to myself from here on out. Myself is pretty neat. Myself deserves at least a whole meal per day.

Pictures from today coming soon! In the meantime, enjoy this brilliant drawing by Shing Yin Kor:

llra

role model. (art by shing yin kor)

the comforts of home

I’m here and in one piece! I have internet access! I’m trapped in my flat!

The flight to London was uneventful and kind of dull, but I did manage to sleep a little. My ride was waiting for me when I finally made it through customs, and I was in my room by 5pm local time. Hooray!

The room is beyond tiny, but it’s perfect for my stay. I haven’t had a chance to explore the area yet (beyond the Sainsbury’s down the road), and while I’m relatively well-rested and ready to explore, I can’t leave my room because my hair is wet.

When I booked this trip, I was kind of in a rush and didn’t do all the research I normally do. If I had, I would have realized that the place I’m staying is missing two things: free wifi, and a hair dryer.

The place charges £10 a day for wi-fi. I’m already paying $10 a day to use my Rogers plan while in the UK, so I wasn’t about to pay an extra £140 to have computer internet during my stay. However, I do have to work next week, so I need internet access. Unable to sleep three nights ago, I googled upon these guys and for £61 (£30 of which is a refundable deposit), I get 6GB of wi-fi for my stay. I arranged to have it delivered this morning, and it just arrived. Problem 1: solved!

The second problem is why I’m currently writing from my room instead of being outside: there’s no hair dryer in the room. My hair takes 3-4 hours to dry on its own (more if it’s at all humid), and it’s freezing outside. I can’t leave my room until my hair is completely dry, which may happen just before dark at this rate. The front desk has promised me that housekeeping can lend me a hair dryer, but they haven’t shown up yet – so here I sit, damply. I want to go outside. I’m hungry. It’s gorgeous and sunny and I have things to do. My hair is stupid.

As I was typing that last sentence, housekeeping showed up with a hairdryer! Problem 2: solved! k, I gotta dry my head and go outside. BYE!

lonely in advance

I’m going to London next week, for two weeks. I’ll be working for half the trip, and exploring the city/revisiting favourites the rest of the time. As you can probably imagine, I am excited. I may already be packed, even. I could leave now!

As excited as I am (don’t let the lack of exclamation points fool you), I am presently allowing myself to wallow in the sads. I figure if I can get the sads out of the way now, when I’m in London I’ll have nothing but happy excited silly times because frankly that is what I do best.

Here’s why the sads: I’m going to be lonely in London. I’ve realized that while I love exploring and seeing things and experiencing Diet Coke in different time zones, it’s a thousand times better to do those things (and more) with someone else. I asked Ed if he would come with me for even part of this trip, and he didn’t want to – rumour has it he wants the alone time so he can have affairs – so I’m going to be all by my lonesome and that is making me sad. I am a selfish creature: I want to have excellent adventures, but I want to have someone to share them with. I have the “someone” part down, but he’s not interested in accompanying me (for a variety of reasons). I reluctantly get it – not everyone is cut out to hop on a plane for 9 hours to go to a repeat destination just because they weren’t kidding when they said they didn’t want to be in North America on inauguration day – but I’m still sad about it.

Clearly I’m just going to have to save more money between trips, and pay someone to be my travel friend.

Okay, off to be sad for a bit. I’ve got a few more days to be sad, and then I will make a list of Things I want to Do while Adventuring.

happy place

happy place

 

2778 words about ireland

I KNEW there was something I was forgetting to do – write about the trip. I’ve been incredibly scattered (more so than usual) since we got home, for reasons I am vaguebooking about. All will become clear soon, but in the meantime: hey, we went to Ireland!

Our flight(s) there were long but uneventful, with the exception of some EXTREME TURBULENCE between Toronto and St. John’s. Seriously, I have never experienced turbulence like that. It was fucking terrifying. People screamed, like in movies! Me, I almost ripped the back off the seat in front of me because I was gripping it so hard. Scary stuff. F——, would not turbule again.

We arrived into the Dublin airport just after 7am local time on Friday morning, and made our way through customs. Because of the early hour it was easy to grab a cab – lucky for us, since there was a bus strike going on and options into the city were limited. We were at the door of our AirBnB around 8:20am, perfectly on time.

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