The East London Experience

As circumstance (and laziness) would have it, I ended up spending my entire afternoon and evening in East London.

I originally went down there to retrieve my loaned mobile from a friend of a friend, who was kind enough to drive me home last Saturday after missing the subway back. In my exhausted daze, I’d taken it out and threw it on the backseat, and forgot about it until I’d gotten back to my friend’s place – about 2 minutes after he’d driven off.

He also had promised to show me around when I was in the area this week, but it wasn’t meant to be. He did suggest spending some time at Old Spitalfields Market. I did come through here the last time I was in London, so I wasn’t really in the mood to buy anything. But I figured I’d at least have lunch here for old time’s sake.

(If any of you get to come here, go to Cafe Mediterraneo – it’s where I had probably one of the best chicken salads and hummus ever. I thought I’d be done in 20 minutes. No, ladies and gents. The motto on their bill reads, “SLOW FOOD IS GOOD FOOD”, and they’re not lying. That thing took the better part of an hour to finish. It was like time slowed down when I ate that salad. I was this close to going home and taking a nap.)

After that, it was down to the Museum in Docklands – quite interesting if you’re into the history of London through its ports, docks and mercantile industry. It’s actually bigger than I thought it would be. I spent 2 hours in there and only got as far as the abolition of the slave trade. There’s way more beyond that, and it’s not a bad little place to visit. And for 5 GBP, you can get a ticket that’s good for a year. (If anyone plans on going to London between now and Aug 9, 2007, lemme know I’ll be quite happy to let you have my ticket.)

By the time I caught the Docklands Light Railway (their version of the Scarborough RT, except things smell, well, slightly river-y instead of like sulphur at Midland Station – yeggs!) back to Tower Hill Station, and tried to grab some dinner, it was time for the main event – the Jack the Ripper walking tour I’d been waiting to take for days.

Funnily enough, the tour guide (really informative) took us back through the part of East London where I’d been earlier (dang) and showed approximately where the murders took place. I didn’t know part of that area of town is actually now Banglatown, which is apparently reputed to have the best curry. (Too bad I already ate!) But it was neat.

And here I am, with one full day left before I have to pack up and travel out of the city by train. Sniff. I can’t believe it’s almost over! Well, time to get some shut-eye and make the best of what I’ve got left.

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