Sunday, March 14, 2010

Do They Sell Fridges?

After the eventful Christmas Day we decided to head into the sales. Drew was kind enough to fully agree, but I think this had more to do with making things up for throwing up on the Hostel room. We headed down the stairs of death, had breakfast and then jumped on the bus. I admitted to Drew that I was hanging out to see Buckingham Palace and we agreed to head there first.

We caught a bus that got us close to it and then realising that there was people all over the place heading there, we got our first inkling that something was up a the palace. Most of the people were running so we ran to catch up. We arrived out of breath and saw an enormous crowd gathered with Police keeping everyone in check.

We wandered through the crowd who were all trying to see into the front area of the Palace. Police on horses repeated over and over "remember to keep a hold of your valuables, pick pockets are operating in this crowd". We weaved through the crowd and I looked down and noticed one of my zips on my bag had become undone. Luckily I'd been keeping everything in the main part, just in case this happened. Drew didn't believe that I hadn't left home with it open, but I maintain someone was a bit disappointed that I didn't have anything to give them.

We couldn't see over the crowd and being vertically challenged I decided to walk further along the front of the Palace and see if there was a spot that had less people trying to see through the fence. To do this we had to wait for marching bands to walk past while Police kept everyone from moving. We waited at the edge of the gates with the Police holding us back until the horse guards passed and we could move again. Grumpy Police kept people from stopping in front of the gates to take pictures without the fences by shouting at people "if you want to be able to see, you should have been here earlier". It was actually a lot of fun.

We headed up to the north side of the front fence and found a spot and after a while of moving and shuffling Drew and I made it to the fence to see guards with guns marching up and down the square while a military band played Christmas carols. The whole thing was an amazingly diverse show from the cheery Christmas music to the straight-backed-gun-toting-guards marching about. It turns out we'd ended up watching the Boxing Day changing of the guards. We had arrived fairly late though and it was over about 10 minutes after we finally got a good spot to watch from.

The crowd dispersed quickly and we headed north towards Oxford St. We had decided to walk as the distance wasn't actually that far. We walked up through Mayfair with all the old London houses that hark back to a bygone era. We found ourselves on Oxford St and decided to have some lunch. We found a little pub and went downstairs into their eating area and had some typical English pub food, Pie and Mash.
After a nice pint (or half pint if you're me) we headed off to brave the shops. It was horrible. I like shopping with female friends who can spur you on if you start getting tired or over it, but it doesn't work that way with husbands. We battled massive crowds like I've never seen before. It's like being at a over crowded music festival, but instead of everyone enjoying the music and having a good time they are practically killing each other trying to get to modestly discounted "bargains" that they probably won't want in a few days.

We walk into Selfridges because everyone said we should, the prices were less than 5% off and that still left things starting at around £150.00 for some makeup or a top. We walked out and past a line of about 100 people waiting to get into the Gucci part of Selfridges for the sale. Not being racist at all, but it was hard not to notice that all except about 4 people in the line were Asian. It was just amazing.

We went in Primark which we'd been loving, but the enjoyment didn't last very long. We couldn't move and the lines for the registers wound around the store. In the end, with my dreams of getting something nice for myself gone, we gave up and grabbed the first bus we could home. I won't ever go to the sales again in the UK, at least not on Oxford St. I've been and had a great time in Australia, but the massive crowds here make it no fun.

We decided to go out to dinner and ended up heading to an Indian restaurant around the corner. It was kind of pricey, but the food was really good and that was all we really wanted at this point. We stumbled home tired and full. After watching the TV for a while and contemplating the stairs we headed up hopefully one last time to pack our bags and get ready to catch the train to Edinburgh, Scotland early in the morning.