Monday, June 9, 2008

My Trip Part 1 – London

As promised, photos are up from my trip to London and Paris. Polaroids too.

Our first 4 days were spent in London. TJ and I took a 9 o’clock flight out and arrived sometime close to 3 in the afternoon the next day. The best thing about London, by far, is the Underground. It took us directly from the airport and dropped us within 4 blocks of where we were staying. Though, we couldn’t figure out the streets so we walked in a 4 block circle for over an hour, but we eventually found our hostel. TJ wasn’t feeling well (airplane food should never be eaten) so we went up to our room, which had two twin beds, pushed the beds together, and went to sleep.

We woke at 3:30 in the morning and couldn’t go back to sleep. So, we pulled out the map and started circling everywhere we wanted to go and finding the Underground lines that would take us there. Finally, after mapping things out and staring at the wall, we got up at 7 and were off on our way.

8:00 AM on the Underground

I could write 10 pages of detailed descriptions about where we went and what we saw in London, but reality is London wasn’t all that exciting. The weather was terrible; it poured the first two days and was unbearably windy. The bars closed around 12, so we had a difficult time finding a place to drink. And, the dollar is worthless there, so the idea of shopping just seems crazy, though TJ spent a fair amount of money on records. Don’t get me wrong, we had a good time. We wandered around from morning till night. TJ and I walked everywhere. We saw Buckingham Palace, the inside of Westminster Cathedral, the Tower of London (which is AWESOME), and so many other things. The photos tell it all.

Westminster Cathedral

TJ and I had a good time just hanging out, seeing the old buildings, record store shopping, and not having to wake up in the morning to go to work.

Though, I think the best thing I took away from London is this . . . difference in racial demographics and peoples behaviors accordingly.

On a more serious note, London is sliced different racially, specifically the Indian population. There is a huge, Indian/ Middle-Eastern population in London. Hang with me on this as I explain . . .

Here in Seattle, when getting on the plane, every person that was a shade darker then white was searched. They were called to the side at the security station and had all of their belongings unpacked and searched. And when getting on the plane, there was a family of 4 and a random two or three people of Middle-Eastern decent, and every white person from America stared at them. Their face said it all – “Oh shit, I hope I am not sitting next to that guy.” You could see the fear and tension in their body build up as they took their seat next to what could be a “terrorist.”

But in London, no one thinks twice about the Middle-Eastern population. People in London, as far as I saw, had obviously not been feed the same “watch out for terrorist” crap that we in America are feed every day. In the states, in the news and media, what we get is this -

Osama Bin Laden is from the Middle East
Osama Bin Laden is a terrorist
Therefore, people from the Middle East are terrorist.

It’s the same sort of crap that goes along with African-Americans. Reality is, most people, if walking down a street at night, see a black person walking behind them, they will walk a little faster.

We all know these subtle judgment calls are wrong, yet we still react the same way. We still walk faster, or get nervous when getting on an airplane.

I am probably not using the most politically correct terms, but my point is, one great thing about London is that it reminded me to challenge what I think and hear everyday. It’s not unintentional that the only “Terrorist” we see are people who aren’t white. I find it hard to believe that there are no white terrorist out there. But we, and myself included, get so used to seeing things, or hearing things, that we blow them off and just look past them. But the effects of what we are seeing and hearing is being ingrained in our minds and reflected in our actions.

That being said . . . TJ and I left London, ready to go to Paris. We woke up Wednesday morning and headed to the train station . . .

The story gets a lot more interesting from here . . .
I’ll post Part 2 - Paris tomorrow . . .


nadia said...

I love the mood that comes from these photographs! Lovely- I absolutely want to see more!!!!

Mrs.French said...

These photos are wonderful! It looks as if the weather in London is similar to the weather in Portland.

Joanna Goddard said...

you guys are adorable. i'm loving the polaroids.

heidi said...

Hey girl, gorgeous picks!!! Thanks for the Alicia Bock cards, they just got here today & i LOVE them!

design for mankind. said...

a. You are gorgeous.
b. Im' so jealous.
c. EEK! :)

Anonymous said...

good on you for bringing the "touchy" subject up. racism is always just a question of ignorance. but that is why travelling helps open up everyone to the world...and all the people in it.
and the pix are really great...and you two are a pretty couple. and isn't it funny, but the minute the paris pix came up...I swear I thought "mm?, she could look French". ;)

littlebyRD said...

Love reading about your adventure...looking forward to the rest.

Robin said...

What a great adventure, i went to London 20 years ago and there wasn't time to see as many things as you did, so I am long overdue for a visit back.

Interesting observation about the racial profiling in the US. We are such a judgemental society, I am ashamed of us sometimes.

julie king said...

lovely photos and i enjoyed living vicariously thru your travel-logue!!

Krissy said...

Great photos! You make such a cute couple. Loved the details- I'm so incredibly jealous of your trip :)

ambika said...

Being one of those shade darker people who often gets searched, this post made me sad but hopeful as well. Looks like a fantastic trip (even with the current exchange rate.)

catherine said...

i noticed that about london also, and it was a really great break from paris, the least visually diverse place i have lived. when i got off in london after 6 months in paris, i was so relieved to see all kinds of people in all shapes and sizes all over the city, instead of each to their own quartier..

amy korngiebel said...

i'm enjoying reading about your trip.

thanks for sharing your observations. my best friend is from london, and his ethnic background is pakistani. i wish all of america could meet him. he's the nicest, most sincere, most thoughtful person i've ever known. plus...get this america...he's muslim.

love the polaroids. everything looks so romantic in polaroid.

love that you two put the twin beds together.