First impressions

London from the sky.
It looks different. Lots of little terrace houses and narrow streets. The tar on the road is dark...wet. The sky grey...drizzly. For some reason so many cars are red. I'm in the little land of Noddy.
A slight hiccup upon arrival. I exit the gates sans baggage (such the independent traveller). Fear not, the backpack and I reunite and off we go. Following Brie's instructions I take the tube headed for Cockfosters and change at Earls Court. By the time I arrive at Fulham Broadway I'm already so over backpacking.

I meet her at Starbucks. I spotted my funky little sister with her punk do, long and spiky on top. Donning excess blue eye make up, jeans and a blazer, "repulsive", she calls herself. She passes the burden of me over to her friend Carla and runs after a double decker bus, jumping on the back gripping the pole with one hand and turning to wave with the other and disappears into the life she's created for herself.

Come night, she adds her pointed elfin shoes and the 5 Aussies she shares with house with head out looking 'so London'. Rolled up jeans, pointy boots, hair and attitudes. I feel like a just-stepped-off-the-plane-ignorant-hippie in jeans, beaded thongs and dark pools sinking into my cheeks. I’m still so tired. I remind myself it’s good to remember what lack-of-sleep tired feels like. The kind that closing your eyes fixes as opposed to the incurable exhaustion I’ve been harbouring.

It's like another world. After dinner we descend past huge carved doors into a Turkish/Moroccan bar trying not to drown beneath the haze of jet lag, cocktails, apple and watermelon hookah smoke.

I took a Big Red Bus tour the nest day and disembarked at Covent Garden. It reminded me of Pacific Fair shopping centre on the Gold Coast, and the streets and lanes, street performers and never ending strips of shops and cafes reminded me of Melbourne. And well, that’s all I can liken it to. Melbourne. Different trains but easy enough to follow and cool shops in cool areas. I could live here, yeah, but that’s not why I’m here. It’s not different enough. I had a terrible coffee from CaffĂ© Nero and sat in a comfy leather chair and wished I were alone so I could write and think and be and absorb.
Then to Knightsbridge and Harrods. Not that different to David Jones, the seafood display was something else in the food court though, mermaids and real fish on the wall and waterfalls. A Vie en Rose cocktail followed at the Mandarin Hotel Bar and a bowl of crisp coated peanuts. I'm currently unemployed so I take note for bar snacks.

Come Sunday, the Aussie householders drag me along to Camden market. What a fabulous place. Cool fashion and fantastic food. A canal, a barn and African food galore (Moroccan tajines, stuffed peppers, black eyed bean & potato stews) and UFO sized pans of saffron stained potatoes. There was Asian food, Lebanese pocket breads with roasted veges and chilli chicken and carts stuffed with creamy donuts, chocolate covered pastries and cream filled buns. Whoever said the food in London was crap was going to all the wrong places. It's there it just isn’t cheap. Admittedly the fresh fruit and veges are wrinkled and old looking and what they have on display is what would never make it onto a Sydney shelf. But what would I know? I’m just a tourist.
Oh, yeah..there was cool vintage clothing and the usual market stuff too. A Pimms at The Westbourne, Notting Hill on the way home and happy days are ours. People spill onto the pavement and it's the trendiest place I am yet to know.

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