Tag Archives: sight seeing

My growing agoraphobia and other stories

I’ve never been all that fond of groups of humans. I love individuals. That’s why although herds of people give me the willies, I’m happy to observe them. Just as long as I’m not thrown in the throng of the quivering masses, all is well. But as soon as I have to subject myself to being surrounded by them… not so good.

Which is why there was so much donkey-ball-sucking about this weekend.

First, Friday. 

Bonfire Night, also known as Guy Fawkes Day. Where the British celebrate thwarting the Gunpowder Treason by blowing shit up. How appropriate.

Tyran had the grand idea that we go watch the best display of fireworks from what was supposed to be the best vantage point in the city – Battersea Park. Idiotically, I agreed, never thinking that a bajillion other people in the city were planning the same thing.

The first part of the trip being balls was partially my fault. I assumed we were meeting at Clapham Junction. So I hop a busy train at London Bridge and cruise to Waterloo East. Bust through to Waterloo and… what a clusterfuck. So many trains are delayed, the station’s packed, and everyone is looking at the departure boards instead of where they are walking.

Fortunately there was one (already severely delayed) train going to Clapham Junction waiting at a platform. I haul ass to get myself on it as there was no way of knowing when it would depart. Well, it sat there for another 10 minutes while more and more people shoved their way on.  Finally, when the train was busting at the seams, it left.

As soon as it started moving, a light bulb went off: There are a handful of stations that begin with “Clapham”. Was I sure, positively and 100% SURE, that I needed to go to Clapham Junction?

Turns out I’m retarded. We were meeting at Clapham Common, which isn’t the same thing as Clapham Junction at all. So I get off the sweaty, packed train at Vauxhall, and take the Victoria Line to Stockwell where I could catch the Northern Line going south just two sweaty stops to Clapham Common. Not as easy as getting on that same damned line directly at London Bridge, but doable.

Until I tried to get on the Northern Line.

The platform was so packed that people were backed up all the to the escalators. Instead of joining the queue I left the station and caught me a bus. So far, so good –  the right bus came right away and I even got a seat. It was fabulous and I was feeling pretty smug about my decision.  Until the bus started rolling.

Turns out I’m retarded. There was so much traffic – vehicles and people – that the bus crawled. Crrraaaaawwwwllled. It was painful. And because I wasn’t familiar with the burough I was in, I was reluctant to get out of the bus and walk. So I stuck with it.

To cut a long, whiny story short: By the time I got off the bus at Clapham Common I was beginning to daydream about an apocalyptic future where I was the only survivor. People were swarming about and getting in my way. There was no mobile signal as every twat in London was on their phone in a two square mile radius, so I couldn’t even contact my people to try and find them.

And while I was standing at the station, the fireworks started. I could see the odd little spark above the tree line, and that was about it. So with an audible “fuck this shit” I turned from the station and, upstream from the human turds all floating down towards the river to watch the fireworks, I headed as far from the crowds as I could get, angry and miserable.

But all is well that ends well, and Friday ended well. It ended in a quiet pub with lovely ales on tap and a great dinner with two of my friends. I swore I would never toss myself into a crowd like that again. Sadly, that was an oath I couldn’t keep.

On Saturday…

I went with Tyran to Camden. The busiest tube line and station (or at least, it felt that way) to walk along the busiest street and into the busiest market. And it is full of tourists, which is even worse. But despite the crowds, we had a lot of fun (and I got a lampshade with pirates! WIN.)

Because I apparently can’t get enough of people (yarg) or the TFL (fuuuuu….) we headed back home for a brief reprise and then back out to go to a house party. This meant hauling ass across the entire city from southwest to northeast. Most of it was okay… except the bus. I never, ever want to ride a bus in northeast bloody London again. I swear I overheard the bus driver call another bus driver a “cunt”. Loudly. I wouldn’t have been surprised to find out that he was armed. Never again.

The party was fun though and got to have some nice chats. We may have missed our bus stop on the way home but the trip – relatively sans people – was quiet and nice even though we got home late.

I thought I would be safe on Sunday. 

Sure, I had a gig to go to… but gig-goers are more my kind of people. I mean: I am a gig-goer myself, and I’m (mostly) okay. So why wouldn’t they be?  Fuck me.

The bus was another shit-show in a weekend of TFL shit-shows. We sat perfectly still in traffic for a good 30 minutes. Fucking awesome, TFL. Do that. Do exactly that. Despite the best efforts of the traffic of Hammersmith trying to fuck us over, we made it to the gig nearly on time – we just missed part of the opening act.

The crowd was the worst I’ve had in a long, long time. So bad. In front of us were two guys: one with eye-wateringly foul body order and the other one with some lower-intestinal gastric issue. Look asshole; just because I can’t hear your farts doesn’t mean I can’t smell them. Idiot.

To my left was the douchiest douche that ever douched. Seriously. While waiting for Rodrigo y Gabriela to take the stage, he was busy sexting. It wasn’t the sexting that put me off so fucking badly. It was that he was sexting three girls simultaneously. Way to go, Romeo. But he wasn’t so bad. Douchey, but at least he wasn’t stinky like Team Offensive Odour in front of us. No, no. What was AWESOME was when a very loud, very obnoxious and very, very drunk girl tried to pick him up. She stood beside him and very loudly expressed her views about how much the music sucked. I feel punchy a lot (anger issues, eh?) but that was the closest I’ve come to actually punching someone in the face at a gig.

Behind me was a mouth breather. Who was breathing on my neck. Sick.

To my right (thank goodness!) was Eva. Who is normal. And smells nice. And is considerate enough to not scream about how shite the music is throughout the concert. And is actually quite lovely, as she is the one who took me to the concert.

Sadly, to HER right were more idiots. A hobbit, an ugly woman in cat-eye frames and their two unbelievably annoying friends pushed in beside Eva and then proceeded to push everyone else into us who tried to push their way past them. Bad karma, dudes.

Good thing the music was fucking awesome.

So that was my weekend of transport woes and hatred of my fellow mankind. By the end, I just wanted to punch everyone in the cock. And I thought commuting all week was bad….

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>Lament of the Loner (or Lonely)

>Alternative title:  One is the Loneliest (or most expensive) number

I need a break.  Not a holiday, per se, but a break. In other words: It doesn’t have to be additional time off work. It could be something I do in a weekend. And it definitely can’t be expensive… I’m watching every pence in anticipation of Moms and Harv coming over.  It doesn’t have to even be all that bloody interesting… just somewhere away for London for a day (or two) and then I can pretend that I “got away from it all” without breaking the bank, as they say.

So last night I went online and thought I would find myself a cheap weekend city break type deal. Of which there seem to be bajillions. Some of them looked awesome. Some of them I could afford. Some of the ones I could afford looked half-way interesting.  Some of them checked all the boxes on my must-have list of something to do this weekend (note: “all my boxes” = cheap, bug-free, out of London).

But alas, there was an issue with all the “deals” that I was most interested in (read: could afford). Sigh.

Don’t single people travel in this fucking country or what?

It really burns my potato that I had no issue at all getting transport and accommodation for one all throughout Asia but try to book one night for one person in fucking BRIGHTON and that shit won’t happen. What the eff, Britain?

The most infuriating were the “spa breaks” – almost all of them are for two people only. I mean, what’s the benefit to me? I get how you benefit, Mr. Hotel. But if I’m having a relaxing day of massages and shit I don’t want to hear anything but the sweet nothingness of solitude, you bastard.  I don’t want any gossip or other chitchat and I don’t want to spend the day in a bathrobe with a friend. And I don’t know how I would feel about dating a guy who was into going to spas. The jury is still out on that one.

The worst were the deals that were flexible enough to allow singles to partake in them… by tacking on a bloody £50 surcharge. WHAT. THE. EFF. It should be cheaper for one, a-holes. CHEAPER.

So, anyway. I ended up not booking anything. First, I don’t really know what part of England to go to. I thought it would be nice to go somewhere near the ocean (which I miss) even if it is raining. But I don’t which seaside towns are good and which ones are, in fact, abandoned movie sets for horror films that went straight to DVD.  Then, additionally, I depressed myself because apparently no one but me wants to (or has to) travel on their own.

Somehow I ended up needing a break from planning a break.  Maybe I’ll just get a bottle or two of wine and go get trashed in a park instead this weekend. I’d still get to indulge in some (semi) fresh air and forget all about the week. Right?

>Levi’s Wave Advertising

>On our walk through East London on Sunday, Tyran and I saw this billboard on Old Street. It was already gone today.

>Changdeok Palace

>

Today was a very Korean day. Went to Changdeok Palace, which was very cool. For 3000 won (approx $3), you get a guided tour that took just over an hour. I went with Orla and Joe, and it was a lot of fun. Mom, you will be happy to know that Orla forced me to be in some of the pictures. I will upload said pictures as soon as I have the computer. In the meantime, this is what it says on the back of my ticket:

In 1405, the Changdeok Palace was built by King Taejon of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) as the second palace of the dynasty, the main one being Gyeongbok Palace. However, both of the palaces were burnt to the ground during the Japanese invasion of 1592. After the war, the Changdeok Palace was quickly rebuilt during 1607-1610, while the Gyeongbok Palace remained in ruins until 1865, when reconstruction work began. Thereafter, the Changdeok Palace served as the main palace fo the dynasty until 1868, when the restoration of Gyeongbok Palace was finally completed. In view of the topography of its site, Changdeok Palace is regarded as a fine example of Korean architecture, keeping a balance between the natural and the built environment. The World Heritage Commiteee inscribed the Changdeok Palace on the World Heritage List in 1997.

Very cool – it is the last home of the last Korean dynasty. The royalty lived there until 1989. It was very cool for me, as nothing in BC is nearly that old. The bus ride was fun, and I’m so happy that Orla and Joe were there to help out. Once we got back to Suji, we chilled out for a bit and went for dinner. Koreans do dinner right, my friends. You sit on the floor and cook the food right at the table. It was very, very yummy. Dinner for three and four bottles of beer came to 40,000 won (approx $40). I think Korea could really start to grow on me. Now I’m just trying to figure out what the hell the electricity converter says on it so I can plug some shit in at home. Let you know if I’m successful.