Barely eight days had I settled into Number 12, Manson Place, when I found myself stepping off Platform 9 at Kings Cross (yes, that Platform 9!) on a train towards Edinburgh, for an equally Harry Potter-like experience of floating over the green misted pastures of the English and Scottish countryside.
So here I am, content with a full day's worth of travel both on train and on foot, in a Scottish inn writing the conventional I-don't-know-where-to-begin introduction to a set of whirlwind adventures in my first full week. Like last week, I'm afraid you're not going to get a reflective piece of blogging but rather a hasty set of snapshots that probably do more harm than good in describing a fantastic first foray into London life.
On Wednesday I met with my MP (Member of Parliament), Graham Allen, who I'll be working for this semester, and his assistant Peter. We had a "cuppah (of tea)" out on the terrace of Parliament (see first picture) overlooking the Thames, witnessing a remarkably sunny day for an October London. Graham was relaxed but engaging, with an energy that grabbed you as soon as he got on his talking-points of social justice and political accountability. I was amazed and thrilled at how easy it was to be talking with a person directly involved in the issues I talked (endlessly, some may say) about every day! I was at the edge of my seat the entire meeting, and will be until I start next Tuesday...which, after that meeting, couldn't come soon enough! Afterward, I had some time to walk around Whitehall (second picture, the area were Parliament is), so I played tourist and took shots of Downing Street (third picture, where the Prime Minister lives), Big Ben (fourth picture), a really cool statue of Winston Churchill (fifth picture).
On Saturday I went to the morning markets, a tradition in London (see sixth, seventh, and eighth pictures) It was great fun, milling about in a very similar way to the souks in Tunisia, listening to the vendors shout their prices and seeing exotic products from everything to ostrich eggs to boar burgers (no, I didn't take one for the team and try one). I did sample a curious Cajun-prawn wrap, which ended up tasting pretty Cajuny to me (for all my New Orleans expertise) and bought some clementines, berries, and carrots all for under four pounds--a steal in a place like London.
Well, didn't realize how late this would take me, and I'm fairly tired and I need to be up early...but seeing as I was going to talk about Hyde Park, check out the ninth and tenth pictures (the tenth is of the Royal Albert Hall).
Tune in next week for a recap of my adventures in Scotland. I posted the final picture to whet your appetites :)