Drug dealers, Gay bars and South Korean Pop stars

Trip Start Jun 16, 2011
Trip End Jul 21, 2011

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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Monday, June 20, 2011

Hello again from London! As our title suggests, we have had an interesting past 2 days. So that no one is scared, mom/dad at no point were we in danger.

Waking up Saturday, well-rested from an 11 hour sleep, we were excited to see what this city had to offer. First thing, we went to Buckingham Palace to observe the ever popular "Changing of the Guards". It was interesting, but very crowded so we concluded that Obama's secret service has got to step it up and we moved on. Then we went to return our tent purchased in our last entry. After discovering the sleeping on the lawn of Wimbledon for tickets is not necessary, we decided to stay in a hostel tonight instead. We plan on getting up early tomorrow morning.

From there, we headed to the British Museum. This museum featured artifacts from different cultures throughout history. The highlight was, as expected, the mummies. One of the oldest, most visited museum in the world held out attention for around 25 minutes. After saying goodbye to Cleopatra we headed out for Notting Hill/ Portobello Market, one of the many open-air street markets within London. The market was neat to walk through, but would have been even cooler if we were looking to purchase new silverware sets or pocketwatches. The ham and cheese crepes are delicious if you are able to order them correctly, a task which proved difficult for us. After making our way through the entire market, we decided to take a quick rest in a local park where we soon discovered a new friend.... Bobby 'Brown' Lawder. Bobby stumbled up to us, beer in hand (5 pm) attempting (unsuccesfully) to roll a cigarette. Due to his thick accent it was difficult to pinpoint exactly how drunk he was. Bobby was wearing an Armani suit overtop of a Hane's plain white tee-shirt. It did not take him long to reveal a few interesting facts about himself. Apparently our new friend is an aspring comedian as well as a high-volume spliff (Brit slang for marijuana) dealer. He made us promise that we would let him be our tour guide which made it difficult for us to easily slip away from Bobby. We promised we would return to hang out with him that night, but first we had to go back to our hostel to shower. Despite his enticing offer to meet his girlfriend- a woman who according to Bobby had a previous relationship with the 'blind pianist' (He was referring to Jamie Foxx) we decided not to return to Portobello that night. Instead we decided to hang out at the bar across the street from our hostel (an abanoned gazebo where we drank beers from the supermarket down the street). We deemed this location The Palmer Watering Hole and it was not long until we were joined by Canadian friends, where we debated whether the Simpsons are still funny (it is not) and whether Canada has any true impact on the rest of the world (it does not). We then decided to catch the tube (mining the gap as always) and hit up Picadilly Circus. This is where we made the greatest discovery of the trip. Legal, in fact encouraged, public urination. We were mesmerized by the fact London has set up alluminum cylinders with incoves where you can relieve yourself right in the public eye. This is not hidden in some alley as you would imagine, this amazing invention is located right after leaving the tube. Relieved, we went on a quest to discover an authentic British Pub. The first place we fond was called the Retro Bar, it was small and quaint, located in an alleyway and seemed to be the relaxed setting we were looking for. Once inside, we were a little surprised by the pictures featuring shirtless men in makeup. Pushing through the crowd of dudes to get to the bar, we crossed a magazine entitled "G-A-Y". After taking a step back and accessing the situation, we determined we were trying to order a beer in a VERY gay bar. We quietly and quickly shuffled backwards out of the bar and ended up finding a place, 10 minutes before last call. We both had a very expensive Guiness and returned to our hostel.

This morning (Sunday) we checked out of our first hostel and made our way with our backpacks to a new locale, Smart Russell Hostel. This place is in a better location but lacks some of the personality and comfort Palmer Lodge had. We decided to take it easy and get some food with substance and nutritional value, so we went to the closest grocery store and had a picnic in the park. Here we discussed whether the Messiah Men's soccer team would be able to compete with a local pick up soccer game taking place in the park... we concluded they could not. From there we headed to the London Bridge and also discovered a very cool castle/ prison. It seems that every tourist attraction in London will run you around 20-30 pounds (equivalent to approx. $40-50) so we soaked up all the free sites we could. We walked across the London Bridge and rode the famous double decker buses. From there we made our way to Abbey Road, the location of the crosswalk featured on one of the best Beatle's albums. Exiting the tube station, we encountered a hoard of screaming South Korean pre-teens. Enthralled with what was going on, we asked 2 of the young Koreans what the excitment was all about. She could she could not finish her sentence before BURSTING into tears. Her friend consolded the sobbing girl and informed us that a South Korean boy band named Shinee was in town and spotted leaving the recording studio on Abbey raod. Apparently they were in town for a concert specifically for their Japanees fans. When we finally arrived at Abbey road we found one of the most entertaining sights in all London. Hundreds of tourists come to the famed cross walk to recreate the iconic album cover, all at the same time. Without any reservations, eager photographers stand in the middle of heavy traffic while their friends walk in a single-file line taking big exaggerated steps while swinging their arms wildly. The more devoted fans required 4-5 crossings before being satisfied with the 'perfect shot'. From there we jumped back on the tube to find a Turkish kabob shop suggested by Tom Roth. Although not as close to the tube station as suggested the dinner was amazing as well as the entertainment (Keeping Up With the Kardashians). Tonight we are calling it quits early so that we will have plenty of energry for Wimbledon in the morning.

Happy Father's Day David and Darrell!


Patrick and Ryan
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Ben Horst on

"the retro bar is a very popular bar in london for young gay boys and girls"

"the Retro Bar is one of London's most eccentric gay bars. A framed black and white photograph of Boy George, circa Colour by Numbers, hangs above the jukeboxl"

I dont know why you had a problem with it haha

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