Thursday, 19 April 2012

I've survived my first week in London :)

Hey everyone,

I'm happy to see everyone is interested and are reading my blogs :) Glad to see I'm not just writing them for myself ha

Well I have been quite busy over the last couple of days!I have meet some interesting people and moved rooms whilst staying at the Youth Hostel in Earls Court, been slowly getting used to the money and coins over here, visited the eccentric Camden Markets, made my first trip to a huge Sainbury's supermarket and had dinner and drinks with a fellow Aussie (Georgina Cross). Nothing major but I still have another week here to see everything else I want to before I leave for my Contiki.

Let me start with some of the happenings and people at Earls Court Youth Hostel....There are a mixture of people staying here from all over the world!Lack of Australians and Georgie tells me that because they all stay with somebody they know over here ha Some people here are travelling in large groups (school/cultural). Others are visiting for a few days whilst setting off again on their travels, some stay overnight and head out into the city and some people actually live in hostels!I have met so many random people who only have small amounts of belongings and stay at hostels as a way of living. They have no job, live off the small income they receive from the government and hang out and around this place....Coming here I thought that the age limit was under 35 years old...Most of the poor people that live or stay here are between 40-50 years old which is sad. They eat noodles and whatever they can afford to buy and cook in the hostel kitchens. They are constantly moving rooms and have little goals in life.

I have met a South African lady that is looking for work through the job centre here which is like Centerlink and wear exactly the same clothes each and everyday...ewww She hangs out in the common room and tries to talk to everyone she sees because she has no other friends living here. I have met an old French bouncer who drinks all day and works as security at night. He talked about doing drugs almost everyday just to stay awake at his job. I actually learned lots about London and France from talking to him though and learned some new French phrases ha I have met a lady that was forced to move to another hostel yesterday and asked me could she keep her bags in my single room. I felt so bad saying not but stuff that!!I have meet a cool group of French people who are staying here for a week in total and always stop and have a chat to me about what they are going to see today and what I'm up to.There are the cutest little French boys named Muhammed and Boyzid.They always try to get my attention, want me to play poker or teach them new English words. My closest friends here have now moved out as the hostel was full of group bookings and the prices were getting too expensive for them to stay whilst Chris looked for work. I was sad to see them go as they were my security and companions in my first week here. I have got their contact numbers and am friends with them on facebook so I am still in contact with them and will catch up with them while I am here.

I am slowly getting used to using the currency here. They use pounds and pence instead of dollars and cents. They have the same amounts as Australia with the exception of their 1 and 2 pence coins. They are all different shapes though and I am so slow when getting them out when buying something ha I made my first trip to a large supermarket over here called Sainbury's. It was a supermarket on steroids!OMG it had everything you could ever need in the one place. It had clothes,alcohol,appliances and groceries I'd never seen before. There are so many English and European foods here and things you would never find in Australia. I went to the checkout to find a lady sitting down behind her counter on a chair and I had to pack my own items into the bags. A weird experience!lol After drinks with Colin the other night I found out that pokie machines are called fruit machines over here and he never heard them called pokies before lol I have finally got used to my surroundings and realised that I am in the centre of London which is Zone 1. London is made up of zones, 1 being the closest to the centre and 6 being the furthest away from the centre. I have used all of my £35 on my oyster card through using tubes and thank god for Georgie telling me about the 7 day pass around Zone 1 for £20 otherwise I would have waisted another chunk of my savings on tube tickets. There is loads of construction going on for the London olympics in much of the city and app 99 days or something until they begin so there is alot of hype about it over here. Anyway there are some random facts and experiences for you!lol

My trip to Camden Town was another great experience!I had wanted to go and Christina need to go and get her National Insurance number so she is able to work and stay in the UK. We went together on the tube all the way to Camden Town and she filled me on Denmark and her life back home. Christina also knows lots about London as she has been here for  two months now so I learned lots . from here too. Camden Town is famous for it's eccentric,quirky almost hippy feel and of course the Camden Market. The buildings have strange shopfronts and the people have crazy style there. The markets have everything such as London souvenirs, dress up costumes, jackets, phone cases, dream catchers, glasses etc It kind of reminded me of Thailand or Bali shopping as their were lots of fake bags, glasses and clothes. You could even barter with the people working within the market. I picked up a beautiful and warm jacket for £35. I went to a sports store called Sport Direct and picked up a pair of Lonsdale tracksuit pants for £6, a  Lonsdale jumper for £10 and a sleeping bag which I need for my Contiki  trip which was £7 sooo cheap!!!Lonsdale in Australia is so exepensive but over here it is so cheap!Expecially because they had a 70% off sale!I ate Vietnamese from a famous little food shop and  walked around the streets of Camden Town. I would recommend anyone wanting to buy things at a cheap price or find vintage clothing to go there. I had the best girly day with Christina and I loved Camden Town!

I had to move rooms for the first time yesterday. The room I was staying in was needed for a group of students traveling through so I was upgraded apparently to a single room for the two nights as I have to move back down there after they leave tomorrow. After packing everything I own here up and heading back to reception I was told I had a very nice single room. I visualised this beautiful spacious room with a tv etc ha I opened the door and was suprised to find stained curtains, cracked walls and it was freezing. The joys of hostel life! lol My room is right next to the common room and where people have breakfast early in the morning so it was quite noisy this morning. I do however have my own tv,sink,mirror and cupboard!It's going to be hard going back to my old room after this single room but it is warmer and has less noise. I am curious to see who I will be rooming with for coming week, hopefully no freaks lol

Yesterday I organised with my family my first ever Skype session. I went around to the local internet cafe and got signed on to Skype all ready with my headphones and microphone firmly on my head ha I was so excited to see my family and thought I was going to cry as soon as I got to see their faces. Sally was the first one I saw and spoke to and looked all cosy in here sexy robe ha I spoke to Sally and dad at the same time and once we got used to the delays in our communication we talked for around an hour!It was sooo good to hear all about what they have been doing and tell them about what I've been up to!It felt like I had so much to tell them and ask them but I went blank once we were connected ha Sally said we will have to set an agenda for the next Skype session so we get to ask everything we want to know lol Good idea. Mum joined in after she got home from getting her nails done and we had a little cry!Kimba was jumping around on mum and could hear me but didn't know what was going on ha Ashleigh was working late at Fuze so it was a little sad I didn't get to speak with her but we have booked another Skype session for next Tuesday!yay!At the end of the conversation it was time to say goodbye and I could see mum,dad,Kimba and Sally. I didn't want to end the call :( We just kept saying goodbye,miss you and I love you and then I clicked the end coversation button and was back to reality in the internet cafe surrounded by randoms ha For that hour I was with my family and forgot about everyone else listening around me.....

Anyway I will talk about my drinks with Georgie in my next post as I am running out of internet minutes.

Love from London until my next blog


  1. sweet blog, keep it up! enjoy chicken slice toastie... colin

  2. Sounds like your having a fantastic time Riss, keep thriving honey :) LHK Jay