Oct 22 2004

Life in SE1: Borough Market / English Pride! / Dorm Life / $23 Movie Ticket

by in United Kingdom, Western Europe

I’ll probably be updating this blog (God, I hate that word, and I don’t even know why) more often now that I’m in London. For obvious reasons, there is more to talk about here than if I were in Palm Desert (“Like, today I went to Starbucks, and then Best Buy, and OMG it’s hot”).

Anyways, this past weekend was quite fun. On Saturday, a friend and I went to Borough Market, a short 7 minute walk away from our dorm, because I wanted to check out the offerings and buy some fruit (Arrr matey, to ward off scurvy!) This market was simply amazing…outdoors, part of it under a railway bridge so you could hear the rumble of passing trains echo off the walls, stalls selling every food imaginable: fruit, veggies, meat, recently killed ducks and deer (ewww), seafood, chocolate, cakes, bread (oh, the bread! The beautiful bread!) cheese (huge wheels of it…larger than a vehicle’s tire), freshly made pizzas, sandwiches, etc. I almost wish that I knew how to cook, because if I did I think I would load up on ingredients and make a feast. The wheels of cheese looked especially enticing. Someday, I want to buy a cheese wheel from Borough Market and roll it back to my dorm…

“What’s that?”

“Duh, my wheel of cheese.”

We had some crepes (ahhhh sooooo good) and I bought some peaches. They were the biggest peaches I’ve ever seen, and four for 1 pound, how can you beat that? And the guy calls you “darling”…ahh so British. Walking around Borough Market was like being magically dropped into a Richard Curtis film…but where, oh where, is Hugh Grant and Colin Firth?? Ohhh, that’s right, I just missed them. Scenes from the upcoming movie “Bridget Jones: The End of Reason” were recently filmed at Borough Market. If you’ve seen the first movie “Bridget Jones’s Diary” then you’ve seen Borough Market…it’s where she buys all her ingredients for the “blue soup.” Her apartment, situated above The Globe pub, is located in Borough Market. If only I had been here a few years earlier to see Hugh Grant and Colin Firth fight outside her apartment…that would have been perfect.

I’ve been too lazy to take pictures of my neighborhood, so if you are bored and want to see what the area in which I reside looks like, then watch the following movies, all of which had scenes filmed in the area:

Bridget Jones’s Diary
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (When the Knight Bus drops off Harry Potter at the Leaky Cauldron…that is Borough Market)
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (The hideout)
Love Actually (Millenium Bridge, etc.)

There are a few others, but the above are some of my personal favorite (well, most…Harry Potter 3 could have been better). Also, if you’ve played “The Getaway” on Playstation2, the warehouse that you drive to is located not far from here…now I want to play that game again…too bad the PS2 is at home.

Later that night a group of us went to have dinner at Masala Zone, an Indian Restaurant in Soho. Luckily, some of our Indian friends were there so they could explain to us what everything on the menu was, because the only thing I know is curry. The food was amazing (especially after eating a week of Bankside food, ugh) and decently priced (about 10 quid for a meal + drink).

I’ve been buying some stuff for my dorm room…printer, mugs, kettle, etc. Since I’m not going to bring all his stuff back home with me, and I’m only going to be here for a year, I buy the cheapest items…interesting thing, though, is that the lowest priced items are all decorated with the St. George’s flag (England’s flag, not the British Union Jack)…

Because every dorm room needs one of these chairs.

Mini-fridge…and yeah, it’s MINI

Pint glasses

Consequently, when people walk into my room they think I’m some crazed English football fan (And by football, I mean real football aka soccer, not American boring as hell football). Maybe the government subsidizes products with English flags to whip up some nationalist sentiment? Or is it all just a bunch of leftovers from the Euro 2004 tournament?

So back to living in a dorm room…I completely forgot how annoying it is to have a communal laundry room. Apparently, leaving clothes in the washers and dryers for hours on end is an international phenomenon.
I was doing my laundry a few nights ago…I put my clothes into the dryer and the girl next to me watches, amazed, as I throw in two Bounce dryer sheets.

“What do those do??”

“They um, prevent static cling.”


“Static cling.”

Nothing but a puzzled look…what, they don’t have static cling in other countries??

And of course the dorm food just gets better every night. It’s always exciting to look at the dinner menu and see what the chefs have prepared for us. Honestly, sometimes I need a dictionary…I’ve never heard of some of this stuff. A few nights ago I had “Hawaiian steak”…wow, bad idea. Basically, it was a piece of glorified beef jerky with two slices of pineapple thrown on top. One of my friends had “American meatballs” (no spaghetti or anything, they were just serving meatballs)…what the hell are American meatballs??? Oh, and there’s no ranch dressing here. They use this disgusting stuff called salad cream…soooo horrible. If you ever come over here, don’t eat anything with salad cream on it…TRUST ME ON THIS.

Salad cream is dodgy. JUST SAY NO TO SALAD CREAM!

Also, I was at the grocery store a few days ago, and came across some “American style muffins.”
AWESOME. But then I looked at the package…they were BLUEBERRY AND MUSHROOM muffins. Uhhhh…gross. Mushrooms in muffins? Blueberries and mushrooms together? WTF?! I’ve never heard of those…NEVER.

This city is insanely expensive. To get an idea of how expensive it is, take New York City prices and double them (with the exchange rate hovering around $1.8 per 1 pound, it’s just easier to double the price in your head). Say a can of Coke will cost you 60 pence here…that’s almost $1.20. A pint downstairs, 2 pounds, or a bit under $4. A pint in a pub in central London, around 3+ pounds, or $6. A movie ticket from a theatre at Leicester Square, 11 pounds – 13 pounds…$26! No thanks, I’ll rent it…in the U.S.

In other news, I missed the season premiere of the West Wing (Ummm…I think they are still on season 4 here). Dammit, I attend President Bartlett’s alma mater, and I can’t get the new season of West Wing out here! WTF!

Oh, and this sounds like a bunch of BS to me.

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One Response to Life in SE1: Borough Market / English Pride! / Dorm Life / $23 Movie Ticket

  1. From Jackie:

    Do you get Oprah in England? Cause Hugh, Colin and that one girl who plays the ‘love object’ were on the show on Friday. Hot bodies, yes. I like your England paraphanale. I understand you on the exchange rate. Get what you can for cheaps. I had Mexican food as soon as I got home- thought you should know. Don’t worry, I was thinking of you while I was savoring my burrito. No In N Out yet, though we passed one on our way to see the Grudge today. Stupid movie. Cheers!

    Posted on October 24, 2004 at 9:23 am #
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