London Tour 2

So, more of London. I just couldn’t stay away and although I mentioned it on another place I’ll cover some sections in more detail here.  One in particular is China Town.  I just love visiting ethnic communities within the confines of a major city.  It provides the uninitiated the opportunity to at least get a feel for another culture. I had my trusty map of London out (I had stopped in a cafe where I could inspect it and not appear as  lost tourist.  I noticed the words China Town and immediately said to myself, “Oh, I just gotta to go there”.  After some coffee, I hopped on The Tube (subway for Americans) and off I went.  It didn’t take long to locate it as there are enormous gates you can walk through to enter.

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Ah, China Town it is quite an attraction and filled with trinkets and items tourists just can’t seem to live without.  I walked through the gates to the town and of course stopped to have my picture taken. I was immediately fascinated by the Chinese signs, lights, pagodas (I think that is what they’re called), traditional dress, and everything Chinese.  I of course, walked through many of the stores to see what was available as I’d never been to China and was curious.  There were indeed items that could very well have been authentic Chinese items but the stores were also jam packed with local items, trinkets and tourist magnets.

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I took a bunch of pictures as I wandered around trying to soak it all up. I was also with a bunch of friends and we got sucked into store after store as everyone just had to see what was in each.  For the most part you can tell from the outside what lies within but we went in anyhow.  I located a Pagoda watched what looked like one of those dragons you see streaming down the street during holidays in China.  A fascinating time and I plan on returning in the future if I get the chance.

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Although it was summer I was thinking ahead and felt it would be a great idea to purchase something for Christmas and bring it home.  And where do you go for this?  I thought about it for a minute and a name popped in … Herrods.   Aha, why not visit a world famous department store and make a Christmas purchase thus accomplishing two goals simultaneously.  Now, I’ve been in some big malls in my day but this place is absolutely huge, and appears to contain basically some of everything on earth.  Are you looking for extremely high end dining ware?  Got it.  Clothing? Yep. A tribute to Diana?

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You better believe it.  I finally found my way through the labyrinth, climbed some stairs and with the help of a map found it.  Yes you need a map, this place is ungodly huge. It is Christmas year round here and it actually felt festive as I wandered around. I located the perfect item, a Christmas bulb for my tree and was off to make my way back to street level.

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I’m not sure where I saw the sign but I remember suddenly having the desire to stand on the Prime Meridian.  Yes, I stood in two time zones in Greenwich (it’s pronounced Grehnich not Green wich by the way). This took a subway ride and quite a walk through the town as I recall.  I was quite excited and as I passed people I asked which direction it was, and discussed my plans.  My excitement must have been contagious as I had a following by the time I arrived.  But at long last I was able to straddle the Prime Meridian and have my picture taken.  Goal accomplished. There is actually quite a bit to do in Greenwich and I did have a bite and look around the park leading up to the Prime and there were a remarkable number of people there.  It took a bit to make my way in as the line was quite long but it moved along nicely and I was in and out in short order.  I made my way back to the train station and found out the hard way that there are two stations with the same name.

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One is connected to the train into London, the other is heading out.  I wasn’t paying attention and jumped on the first one I saw.  Fortunately I was watching the signs and comparing them with my train map.  It just wasn’t matching up so I got off and caught the train heading back.  I got off where I had initially been and there was a woman sitting on the bench so I told her I may be lost and asked for help. She was quite nice and actually rode the train back in to where I should actually be. One thing I like about the Brits is that if you apologize they are quick to help.  I arrived at the turn-style and after telling the guard of my mistake and apologizing, he just lifted the gate and let me in free.  What a great bunch of people.  Well, it was getting late so I headed back to my station and jumped on the train back to Huntingdon.  After an hour or so I was back at my place another set of sites checked off my list.

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