Monday, September 7, 2009

Being a Tourist

Shortly after 1:00pm I made my way out towards the touristic places in London, if only to avoid the “what, you’ve been all the way to London and haven’t paid a visit to X?” kind of questions.

My first mission to find a memory card for the camera has ended after approximately two minutes, when I realized that there’s an electronic store literally steps away from the hotel. I paid about £15 for the ability to take pictures again and avoid carrying 1 pound of worthless electronics (= my camera) for nothing.

Took bus #91 from the hotel to Trafalgar Square, my first stop. Looking through the bus’ window I came again to realize that using a car in this city takes the kind of logic that I simply can’t relate to. Those red, double-deck buses are fairly neat, I have to say.

Within 10 minutes the bus arrived to Trafalgar Square, its final destination. The first thing you notice when looking at the square is the exceedingly tall monument that is conveniently erected there:


This picture was taken from the footsteps of the National Gallery, adjacent to the Square. There was a sign at the gallery’s entrance asking people to donate a pound to “keep the gallery free”, which I did. This gallery is amazing, and even people who fail to get excited by paintings (such as myself) will find it very interesting. The walls, the decorations, the atmosphere… very special. I spent 15 minutes there, which is 14 minutes more than I would voluntarily spend in a gallery.

From Trafalgar Square I proceeded south west to Buckingham Palace. “The Mall”, which is a stretch that leads to the Palace, is a very pleasant walk. On my way, I noticed some of those guards that stand still beside the gates, nothing seems to interrupt their stillness. Thoughts of that Seinfeld episode where George Costanza offers a chair to a security guard at a boutique store (which eventually leads to robbery) instantly came to mind.

Very bizarre. Never quite understood the rationale behind having people stand still for hours like this and be tortured by curious tourists’ stupidity (basically trying whatever they can in order to divert the guards’ attention).

After about 10 minutes walk I arrived at the palace:


Impressive, I’d say. Couple of people asked me to take their pictures with their cameras – why do we all have the desire of having our picture taken alongside with a landmark, that I don’t know; a subject for research, I think – to which I happily agreed.

I then proceeded to take some pictures of the garden next to the palace:


You must be asking yourself what’s the deal with the ladies. Well, as I was aiming the camera to take the photo, they were there. They noticed that I’m about to take a picture, and with a face expression of “sorry, here, we’re leaving so you can take your photo” they started walking away. I don’t know what it was that made me signal to them that I would actually like them in the picture. They looked at each other with astonishment, exchanging looks as if trying to comprehend the system of logic employed by the guy standing in front of them. Was a really funny moment, after which they happily posed.

So here’s a picture of the garden without ladies in it (at least not knowingly):


I am writing this post while sitting at the footsteps of the monument facing the palace:


Hunger is kicking in, I can feel it. Time to hunt for food.



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