Day 6 – Broken Buses and American Dining

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Over the past couple days, I haven’t been able to sleep past 7 o’clock due to different engagements in the mornings. Today, however, was a beautiful change as I got to sleep in until 10:30 (GASP). I rolled out of bed, showered, made myself a glass of milk, opened a Poptart, and watched some Youtube videos until it was time to go to the 12 o’clock bus tour me and Jen signed up for. It was promising to be an exciting day!

I will admit I had a rough morning with homesickness (yet again), but I promised myself I wouldn’t ruin this day by being depressed and sad. I hopped on the open-air bus, climbed to the top, and enjoyed the gorgeous weather. Previous weather reports promised rain, but the sky was pure blue with beautiful white clouds. No rain in sight, thank goodness! While on the tour, we passed such iconic sights as Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and the London Eye as well as many more. The tour guide was so helpful and informative; I learned so much!

However, once we passed the London Eye, our lovely bus broke down and we were forced to merge with the bus behind us. Obviously the bus behind us was already filled to the brim with QMUL students, so we had to stand in the aisles packed together like sardines and hope that everyone took a shower. Luckily Jen and I broke to the top of the bus and sat three-by-three with some lovely people kind enough to offer, but it was quite uncomfortable. I wasn’t able to walk for a bit after getting off the bus, I was seated so poorly.

Once we returned to campus, Jen and I made an impromptu trip to the Westfield Stratford Mall. Four floors of shops and restaurants greeted our vision once we stepped off of the Stratford Tube stop; I was completely in heaven. In addition to offering the British stores like Primark, America was also well-represented with an American Eagle and various other shops. We sampled face masks at Lush, gawked at expensive clothes in TopShop, and cheered at the sight of a Krispy Kreme (trust me, it felt like a beacon of hope). We stopped to eat at a Chipotle-like place called Tortilla and enjoyed some burritos that claimed to be “Real Californian Burritos.” I’ll take their word for it! Our friend Nicole also joined us for lunch and then we walked about the mall. We bought some delicious cookies from Millie’s, ate them in a Starbucks, and then departed for the Tube station.

We met our friend Danielle and another new girl named McKayla (I’m not sure about the spelling) and headed out for a fun night out. We journeyed to Covent Garden and, although we arrived too late for the markets that close at 6, we found there was plenty to do. The atmosphere was lively and exciting, probably due to the numerous pubs and street performers littering the, well, streets. We found a cute place called “The Diner” that advertised serving American foods. Since all of us were American, we figured we’d test how authentic this American food tasted.

By pretty much all standards, the food was good. I got a chocolate milkshake and gravy fries, both quite up to par. Everyone else seemed to enjoy their food as well! Shortly after paying the bill, we decided to explore more of what Covent Garden had to offer.

We happened upon the London Chinatown and I must say it was amazing. There were so many tantalizing smells wafting from the storefronts that, even though we just ate, I was willing to eat about twenty more meals. While in Chinatown, we came upon a couple theaters for shows we want to see like Les Miserables and The 39 Steps. Both theaters looked gorgeous and beautiful; I can’t wait to return! We made a pact to return on Saturday to see if there are any last-minute discount tickets to see any show. Hopefully we get something good for a decent price!

With Chinatown behind us, we stumbled into Piccadilly Circus and the M&M World London shop. In the shop there were plenty of statues of M&M’s in stereotypical British scenes like the Beetles’ Abbey Road, a double-decker red bus, and others. We took pictures in front of all of them and it was a great time! There were four floors to explore, so there was more than enough to see.

We left the M&M shop and decided to head back to campus; it was getting late. After parting ways with the other girls, Jen and I returned to our flat to see it blissfully empty. It seems like our roommates were able to enjoy themselves as well last night! We turned on Memoirs of a Geisha until about midnight and then I was more than happy to go to sleep. It was overall an exciting and amazing day; I hope to have plenty more of those in the upcoming months. And although the day was exciting and loads of fun, nothing beats a good night’s sleep.

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