Sunday, March 14, 2010


Though it took two different planes and three take-off attempts to get there, and then a cancelled flight home and an extra night in the Gatwick airport Hilton, I had a great time in London last weekend.

The first plane that was supposed to take us there had a problem, forcing us to turn around 15 minutes into the flight and return to the airport. Many people got off that plane rather than wait to see if the problem could be fixed. Many others stood in the aisle, cigarettes dangling off their bottom lips, waiting to see if we'd be allowed off the plane long enough for a smoke. My friends and I sat in our seats formulating our Plan B for a night out in Barcelona in the event we didn't make it to London. We did make it to London, just six hours late.

Big Ben

We saw many of the big sites in London and I enjoyed hearing English spoken on the street, particularly in British accents. It was strange not having to mentally rehearse what I'd say before speaking to someone and feeling confident that I was definitely speaking in the correct tense.

Westminster Abbey

I did, however, get a little mixed up language-wise when we went to get shawarmas on our way back from the bar Saturday night. I ordered my usual- it's so usual for me to get this in Barcelona that I ordered it in Spanish. My friends kept trying to tell me that the guy behind the counter spoke English and didn't understand me. So ingrained in me is my standard shawarma order, though that I couldn't keep it in my head to just ask in English and our time in the shop was punctuated by my shouts of "Sin picante!" and "Ternera!!" Somehow I ended up with what I was looking for so it was all good.
Buckingham Palace

In Kensington Garden

That wasn't the end of the language confusion. We met some French people who didn't really speak any English. I've been taking French classes but unless they were asking for directions or numbers I couldn't really converse. My friend who is from Argentina tried to make introductions in her limited French. She said "Je m'appelle Sofi." Great. Then she tried to ask their names and said, "Y tu? Como te je m'appelles?" We didn't talk to them for long. I actually spent most of the time in their company sipping water trying to relieve myself of the hiccups. At least you hiccup the same in every language.

Tower Bridge

London is a really cool place and I hope to get back to check it out a little more thoroughly in the future. It's a big city and we definitely didn't get to explore too much in the short time we had, although I am now quite familiar with the layout of Gatwick airport.

Houses of Parliament and a glimpse of the Thames

Kensington Palace

Icy Statue in Trafalgar Square Fountain

The National Gallery in Trafalgar Square

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