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London + Paris part 1

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Jun. 14th, 2011 | 06:54 am

I should be asleep right now, but I caught some kind of plague that made me tired as hell. Couldn't get up at all for about 6 hours even though I tried! I really wanted to eat dinner, just not at 2 AM. Oh well.

Anyway, I'm slowly going through all of the photos I took (over 1000, though I've ended up deleting a bunch of them since lots were re-takes or just extra shots in case the first one turned out poorly). Here's a bunch of photos from our first day in London:







This was the street our hostel (Astor Hyde park) was on. As the name implies, it was indeed very close to Hyde Park!



An example of the weird forced politeness/direction I saw in London: Lots of the crosswalks told you which way to look for cars. Helpful to me, as a tourist, which I assume is why they're there because I can't imagine anyone living in London would actually need to take note of this.











Lots of pictures on this day that were mostly just "oh my god THINGS" since I was excited about being in another country. The same happened my first full day in Paris, haha.



The first place we went to eat! While we were looking at the menu, a Scottish dude around our ages came up and started talking to us. We had a pretty decent conversation with him (and he even joined us for lunch later).



Courtney and I got falafel burgers while Rudy got steak and ale pie at the suggestion of our new acquaintance. He said it was delicious, though I didn't actually try any to confirm that for myself, haha.



Still amazed at how different the architecture in general is there. Everything here seems really ugly in comparison (this goes for the people, too, though I think part of that is just a fact of living in rural midwestern America).



CCTV IS WATCHING YOU PEE. Well, I didn't see any cameras in any bathrooms. But I wouldn't be surprised given how many cameras there are everywhere else.



The view out the window from Astor Hyde Park. Staying here was a bit awkward since we assumed we'd all be staying in the same room (we tried to book a private room), but they split us up anyway. Courtney and I ended up staying with an American girl and some dudes from Australia (eventually some other people rotated in and out of the room, too).

The Australians were kind of awkward. There was one day where Courtney said one of them took his jeans off to change and the smell of rancid moldy fart hit the room like a ton of bricks (which was hilarious to me, not being awake at the time it happened). We figured they'd leave and that'd be the end of it, but the day they left I woke up to that same guy sniffing his pants and going, "I'm not taking those back with me." Yeah. No idea what he ended up doing with them since the pants were gone when he was. Here's hoping he burned them.



More architecture. I can't imagine living here and walking by something like this every day.



Rudy's main "goal" for the trip was Disco, so obviously when he saw this sign it was like magic happening everywhere.



These bikes were pretty awesome - you could rent them for free for half an hour, but after that it would cost a pound just to have it for the entire day or something. They had tons of these bike stations all over London and you could return the bikes to any station you wanted. Apparently they were added to help keep traffic moving on the sidewalks and stuff. It's a really smart idea! More places should have that.



Prince Albert memorial! This thing was pretty neat.



And right across from it was the Royal Albert Hall.















My camera was having trouble reconciling the cloudiness with the fact that it was still light outside, which is why the sky is blown out/the colors are off in a lot of these.







yeah lens distortion!!







The only possible evidence of homeless people I saw in London.





Imagine going up and down these long tubes of escalators multiple times a day! Because that's totally what we did. Usually just to get in or out of the underground you had to get on two sets of these, and occasionally you'd have to get on one set just to switch trains.



Piccadilly Circus. We had no idea what we were doing at this point and just wandered to a place that sounded cool. Clearly we made the right choice.







Break dancing in London!



I had no idea they had a giant Ripley's here. I didn't really care about going inside it since I've been to smaller ones elsewhere, but the building itself is pretty interesting.



So glad I got a new camera before I left. This one performs great in low light! I doubt I would have been able to get these shots with my old camera. Yes, I realize I wrote this under a really crappy photo, but I didn't have anything to say about it, so... there you go!





We ended up wandering into this weird mall thing after getting snacks.





I love that logo. Mostly because I remember it from old RCA ads, though I guess that dog's been used for a lot of recording arts stuff.



So remember when I said we got snacks? Finding a place to put the trash leftover from said snacks was the most trying thing ever. What is up with the lack of wastebaskets in London? I saw them out on the streets fairly often, but there were never any indoors.

At one point I was buying an umbrella from Boots at the King's Cross train station because I left my good one in a bathroom somewhere on accident, then bought a crappy 3 pound one for temporary use. Apparently it was extremely temporary since it broke on me after about 20 minutes. All it took was a slightly stronger gust of wind than usual. I asked the cashier if there were any trash cans so I could throw the broken umbrella away, and she said there weren't any outside the store, but she could throw it away for me in the trash can behind the register. NO TRASH CANS. IN THE ENTIRE TRAIN STATION. I didn't get any photos of King's Cross, but it's such a massive station that I can't believe there wouldn't be ANY trash cans. I didn't see any, though, so I guess she was telling the truth.

That was a huge paragraph about trash cans, but it explains exactly why I had to take this photo of what is probably the only indoor trash can in London. And it was hidden inside an arcade, where no one who actually needed it would ever hope to find it.



VIDEO GAME



No fun: CCTV watching you suck at DDR!



...which is called "Dancing Stage Supernova" over there for some reason. I love the little green exit signs with the dude running, by the way. It encapsulates a person's need to leave a building RIGHT AWAY.

While Erik was playing DDR/Dancing Stage Superlongname, some little girl was mesmerized by the fact that he didn't suck at it and got all excited. It was pretty funny.



ELEVATOR ACTION DEATH PARADE. The machine even had elevator doors that opened and closed. So would have played this if I had time/change.



I don't think I need to explain why I took this photo.



The inside of the mall thing.





We kind of wandered into the British version of Chinatown.



Yep, that's Chinatown, alright.











There were public urinals outside of this place (I think they were here. Or around here. Or somewhere). The dudes took great pride in using them. Obviously there are no photos of this, but I figured I should mention it for their sake.



This was before we got to have a proper look around Soho. If only I had known.



Eventually the rest of the photos will go up, probably in small chunks since posting all of them at once might kill me or break LJ or something.

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Comments {11}

My arm is numb. Numb arm! Numarm! Narm! NARM!

(no subject)

from: fridge_buzz_now
date: Jun. 15th, 2011 02:28 am (UTC)
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Wow, great photos. The lack of trashcans thing is weird. USA! USA! WE LOVE TRASH! USA!

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King O Frod

(no subject)

from: silvertiger
date: Jun. 19th, 2011 03:11 am (UTC)
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WE SURE DO. And thanks!

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pantygeist

(no subject)

from: pantygeist
date: Jun. 19th, 2011 01:07 pm (UTC)
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_terrorist_incidents_in_London read this, it should give you a pretty good insight into why stations don't have bins anymore. there is a limit to how many times it takes being bombed before you realise bins are a bad idea!

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King O Frod

(no subject)

from: silvertiger
date: Jun. 19th, 2011 01:52 pm (UTC)
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You know what, I honestly didn't realize that there were so many bombings on the underground. Makes total sense now!

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My arm is numb. Numb arm! Numarm! Narm! NARM!

(no subject)

from: fridge_buzz_now
date: Jun. 19th, 2011 06:24 pm (UTC)
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That's sad! It makes total sense now. Thanks.

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Chesh

(no subject)

from: cheshcan
date: Jun. 15th, 2011 11:11 am (UTC)
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Omnomnom delicious falafel

Okay seriously I do not know WHERE all the homeless people in London are! I've seen exactly one. I don't know if it's a testament to their excellent social services, or if even the most down-and-out British people are too shy to ask for money, or if they just round them up at night and have them discreetly killed or WHAT. Maybe that's what they make their awful sausages out of. I have seen trash receptacles on tube platforms, though--they're always clear plastic bags hanging on the wall so any sticks of dynamite will be clearly visible.

If American cities had architecture that awesome and youth that bored and destructive, they'd probably be blanketed by CCTV, too. Gotta protect those gargoyles!

Damn, that Prince Albert memorial is pretty sweet.

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King O Frod

(no subject)

from: silvertiger
date: Jun. 19th, 2011 03:12 am (UTC)
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Yeah I thought the lack of homeless people was really weird since everywhere else has them. Where do they all go?

yeah, the trash cans in Paris are just plastic bags hanging off of a metal circle thing. I didn't see any like that in London, though! Or maybe I just wasn't looking hard enough.

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pantygeist

(no subject)

from: pantygeist
date: Jun. 19th, 2011 12:12 pm (UTC)
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there are loads in croydon. its kinda disturbing sometimes as you get used to where they hang out all the time. over winter you see them reduce in numbers one by one as they die. its pretty sad. but yeah, they dont really end up in the centre of the city very much

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UNDER-ESTIMATE THE GIRL

OMG STONE CAMEL

from: rocknrollpsycho
date: Jun. 16th, 2011 05:01 am (UTC)
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YAY LONDON PIX. I KNEW YOU'D TAKE GREAT PIX. I think I mainly took crappy cell phone pictures while I was running around at night and so it'd be all THIS IS PROBABLY A BUS. THIS MIGHT BE THE RAH. I THINK THAT'S THE THAMES. I'm glad you got a nice picture of the RAH in the daytime--I was too busy slouching in line with Suede fans feeling ill and OH YEAH TALKING TO SIMON GILBERT AND GAZING AT BRETT ANDERSON AND BEING TOO AWED TO TALK TO HIM to bother and then I took one pic at night after the gig. I love when you take those pictures where it's all REALLY CRISP CLOSEUP OBJECT and kind of blurry far away object! I'm so smrt.

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UNDER-ESTIMATE THE GIRL

Re: OMG STONE CAMEL

from: rocknrollpsycho
date: Jun. 16th, 2011 05:03 am (UTC)
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Oh yeah and London people are all so hot and well dressed and shit. I felt UNDERDRESSED there because every girl was all SEXY SHOES AND COLORED TIGHTS and I'm like GODDAMN IT, I LOOK FLY IN AMERICA AND SHITTY HERE. Portland is of course overburdened with homeless people and hipsters so nice-looking people are rarer here. Chicago always had tons of nice-looking people around. I think you just have to go to a big enough city and people start to think about what they're wearing.

Did you see any famous people wandering around? I swear I saw Peaches Geldof coming off the Tube with me one day. She stared at me while I was staring at her trying to figure out if she was a Geldof and then walked off ahead.

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King O Frod

Re: OMG STONE CAMEL

from: silvertiger
date: Jun. 19th, 2011 03:20 am (UTC)
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Haha Europeans dress so crazy. I saw so many people rocking the shorts with tights look, which I always sort of liked but wouldn't ever do because doing that here would make everyone think I was too dumb to dress myself that day.

I don't know if it's that people here don't care, necessarily. People in bigger cities have easier access to more fashionable clothing, for one thing, and even if certain stores exist outside of those cities, they're not all going to carry the same stuff a store in the cities would. And obviously you have to make a decent wage to live in or near a city that big - people around here could barely afford really fashionable stuff even if they had easy access to it. There's not as much pressure to look good when everyone around you looks like crap. You get used to a lifestyle that isn't really demanding when it comes to fashion and you don't really think about it anymore other than, "yeah this looks ok" after throwing on a t-shirt and jeans.

I did not see any famous people, unfortunately! Or if I did, I didn't recognize them.

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