Wednesday, August 15, 2012

London and how it enlightened me

Some of you already know that I was in London about a month ago. I spent just about a week there and it was an amazing experience. Being in another country - not named Mexico, Providenciales, Canada, Jamaica, or some other place that's really just the Caribbean (don't get me wrong, I love the Caribbean - was simply an enlightening experience.

I compare London to New York to many people that I have talked to about the trip. London's expensive, even by New York City's standards. London's a melting pot of people. London's got great food, great culture, and great nightlife. London's a destination that people go to in droves and an epicentre of sorts for the rest of the world. London's like New York but in my opinion, better.

What I learned from being there for that relatively short period of time is that:
  • I'm lucky/blessed (whichever you prefer) to have been able to travel there. Not many people that are from where I grew up make it to places like Los Angeles (a place I've never been by the way), let alone London.
  • Although I have known this for some time, the world is so much bigger than where you are or where you've lived. There's a lot of amazing things to see in this world.
  • In London it seems that unlike here in the U.S., the color of your skin doesn't matter as much. I talked with one of my best friends about this after returning and we both agreed that in London, you're mostly American first, before you're Black. This may sound pretty simple and "duhhhh" to a lot of you, but not me. I'm not one for victimizing myself as a Black man but in the United States it's not always the case that your color or race doesn't give someone the opportunity to pass judgement upon you before speaking a word to you. In London, maybe your nationality or country of residence serves the same purpose but it's not alwasy as easily determined and being judged as an American first damn sure felt better than feeling like you're being judged because you're Black, lol.
  • I need to travel east of the Atlantic Ocean more! Traveling within the U.S. and Caribbean is one thing, but traveling across the pond is another. Being able to learn about, appreciate, respect, and absorb other cultures is a beautiful thing and it builds tolerance and helps keep you from judging others without cause and that's a great feeling!
  • Life is short and the world is big, see as much of it as you can! It took me a long time to make it to Europe. One of my best friends implored me to make it over there while he was in graduate school there and I made the mistake of not taking advantage of that opportunity. Over ten years later, I visited, and I regret not having gone earlier. Don't make the same mistake I did! Travel to other places, meet other people, learn about other cultures, it'll help make you a better person.
Below you'll see some of the pictures I took while I was running amok in London. I was lucky enough to have a friend that I've known for almost 20 years who was visiting London at the same time so while I was there by myself, I wasn't really alone all the time. I visited just about every landmark I possibly could while there and tried to make the best use of my time. In traveling around London on the Tube and observing people and places, I noticed a few things that stood out and took a few notable/memorable things back home with me:
  • Apparently jean shorts with leggings under them is the trend for young ladies in London. I saw this outfit at least 20 times per day. I'm not complaining, I'm just saying that there were definitely a LOT of people in this type of attire.
  • Warm beer is apparently acceptable in British culture. I had at least 3 warm beers served to me during my stay. I'm not sure if this is really a culturally acceptable thing or if certain beers are served that way (I tried stuff I've never drank before) or if cask ale beers are always served at (bastardly) room temperature. Nevertheless, this was something that obviously stood out to me as a horrible travesty of liquid proportions.
  • "Cheers" is now going to be fully incorporated into my daily vernacular.
  • A line that you wait in is not a "line", it's a "queue". Having a computer engineering degree I should have recognized a long time ago that this makes far more sense if you really think about it. A "queue" is a first in, first out situation. A line is just a line. Maybe if we called it a queue in the U.S. you bamas wouldn't cut the line all the time, lol.
  • An elevator is not an elevator in London, it's a "lift". This also makes sense in one way (when you're going up) but when you're going down are you supposed to call it a "drop"? That sounds like bad luck if you ask me.
  • They still have pay phones! No like seriously, they have pay phones. Booths at that!
Without further adieu, here are some of the pictures from my trip, CHEERS!


Rahssan Fenner said...

Thanks for sharing your views and photos with us. It's a special thing when you put your personal thoughts on paper, or in this case the web, for others to see. Just like reading, I feel that traveling is fundamental. Why read about it when you can live it. Nothing can beat firsthand experiences. Personally, my overseas experiences have helped me grow as an individual. I've grown in mind, body, and soul. Keep seeing the world my friend. With each new experience you will see the world through different eyes.

Lance Coleman said...

Great Post!

Anonymous said...

Thanks to both of you guys.

Kevin Taylor said...

I never thought about going to London until now. I'll have to put that on my list.

T.C. said...

i think it's pretty dope to reflect on the fact that i know both of the young men who are talked about in this post and where we are's awesome the opportunities that you both have taken and continue to take...the world is large and should be seen...
ps LA is'll see one day as soon as you land at LAX