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Amanda Goes to England, Vol. 2: 2 November, 2012

Somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean

They say, “People who need people are the luckiest people in the world.” They would be wrong. People who can sleep on overnight flights are the luckiest people in the world. And I am not one of those people!

I finally arrived at London Heathrow, feeling like a hot mess since my allergies were attacking me and since I was nearly delirious from sleep deprivation. But, I had arrived safely, and I was grateful for that.

Welcomed to London by a giant poster of a Beefeater

I know I’m being dramatic, but I remember thinking I was going to DIE when I had to get through immigration/border patrol at Gatwick in 2006. The line was so long and I was so exhausted. Happily, the process has become much more efficient since then, and the feeling of impending death wasn’t quite so strong in 2012.

I turned around to take a picture of this huge Yoda ad and saw this awesome little boy doing “fight” moves in front of it – of course, he noticed that he had an on-looker and ran away before I could snap a photo the awesome scene before my eyes! 

Once I got through border patrol, I had to make my way to my hostel. This meant a journey from Heathrow to my hostel’s stop on the Tube, Elephant and Castle (I dropped my camera as soon as I got on the train and the back popped open, hence the light leaks in the photos from the airport… ) It felt like a very looooong journey from point A to point B. But there was lots of people watching to do, so there’s that. Especially since I was sitting across from some Americans who had been out clubbing on their first night in London, flirted with many guys, and one of them had lost her passport in da club!

Pictures taken outside the Elephant and Castle subway (subways are pedestrian walkways in England)

I had been worried that the knowledge I gained about navigating the London Underground system in ’06 had since vanished from my silly little head, but thankfully it all came back to me! I had a hard time finding the hostel, however, because directions given on their website were not clear. I just tried to consider it a little stroll through an interesting neighbourhood though.  I found it to be a very culturally diverse neighbourhood, unlike the posh part of London where I’d stayed in 2006. I was informed later that this was a dodgy part of town. I think being from Memphis, it takes a bit more than cultural diversity to make me think a neighbourhood is sketchy!

Once I arrived at the hostel, it was too early to check in, so I paid for a locker in which I could stow my luggage and went for a walk around the neighbourhood. Mainly a photo expedition, of course. But I did get to pick up a few essentials at this little shopping mall down the road. I HAD to find myself some Jaffa Cakes, STAT! And I fell in love with the 99p store! Which is the British equivalent of Dollar Tree. But waaaaaay better. I even got some free Kleenex there!

My hostel!

Happily, I was able to use my phone to connect to wi-fi at the hostel, so I could email my family to let them know I was safe and sound, as well as upload photos and such. Thank you for progressing so much in the past 6 years, technology! None of this was possible with a mobile phone when I was in England in 2006. I had to pay for internet time on computers back then.

Interior shots of the hostel

View from my room

The rest of that first day was divided up between taking little walks, sitting in my hostel room trying not to fall asleep, and getting a curry takeaway from a restaurant down the street. And then, sleep. Sweet, sweet sleep.

Walkin’ in the Elephant and Castle ‘hood

Pretty details on my room’s windows, and the blue lights behind the hostel

Goodnight, London!

Photos taken with Ricoh FF-1, Nikon EM, Lomography Diana F+, Lomography La Sardina , except the last two, which were taken with my Canon SX230 HS digital camera

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