Happy New Year!

Happy New Year Australia!

As of the 30th of December (2011), I have been residing with my Great Aunt and Uncle in St Albans, Hertfordshire. I’ll be staying with them for the duration of my exchange. It’s a lovely area, hopefully I’ll get an opportunity to take photos.

For New Years Eve (Day), I had my first adventures into London. My first stop was Oxford Street, which is apparently the busiest street in the world. Full of retail stores and a great deal of double decker buses. Next on the agenda was a personal favourite, Abbey Road! This is where the Beatles had recorded. Several tourists were rudely interupting traffic to mimic that album cover everyone knows. You know the one. Honestly, It’s kind of sad to see grown adults be so ignorant and rude to inhabitants of a foreign country, but hey, I guess that happens everywhere. That being said, I don’t see that kind of behaviour in Brisbane, but I suppose I haven’t seen a tourist attracting like that in Brisbane (that would literally halt trafic).

Abbey Road Studio

Abbey Road

Farewell to Lennon

Next was Buckingham Palace. Supposedly the Queen was in, as the flag was raised. I seriously wonder why such sensitive information is made public. The Guards look so cool though, they don’t even twitch. Interesting trivia, Scotts Guards don’t have a plume, whilst the other Guards of Buckingham Palace do. I wonder if their is a reason for that. There is also a park near the palace (it’s name I can’t remember) abundant with squirels, swans and the like. Apparently it’s illegal to kill a swan, as in, it carries a prison sentence. Yet its legal to kill a Scottsman with a crossbow from a certain number of paces in some place in the UK. They should probably consider amending that law.

Next was Big Ben and the London Eye. Big Ben actually refers to the bell within the tower itself. The London Eye looks awesome (unfortunately I don’t think I have any photos of it).

Big Ben Clock Tower

Buckingham Palace Gate

Statue outside front of Buckingham Palace

Unicorn Statue at Buckingham

As it was New Years, I decided to wait for the fireworks display. I stood in the one spot for 8 hours to get the best view. They were brilliant. At around 10 pm, A live radio show was broadcasting an event, then at 12, their was a massive fireworks display. After all the fun had occured, it was a mission to get back home. I live about 30 minutes away from London. It took 4 hours to get home. Thousands and thousands of people came to see these fireworks, and as a consequence, it actually took up to 5 minutes to move even 10 metres, the streets were so heavily congested it was insane. Apparently, strike action occured with the people who ran the London Tube, thus it was very difficult to get onto a tube. Heres a condensed version of what happened:

Wade through a massive mosh pit of drunken, rude people for 6 kilometres, going from station to station, to find a station that still had the capacity to accept people. Avoid drunken lunatics, try not to stand on glass, and follow police on horseys directions.

A lot of people were understandably pissed off. I’m not quite sure on the numbers, but for a city with an infrastructure as efficient as London, it’s hard to imagine that it lacked the capacity to deal with such a large number of people. I wish I actually knew how many people were out and about that night, because it was enough to halt the Tube, and the lives of the people in the city itself. I feel sorry for the poor suckers in their cars, took them 10 minutes to travel 100 metres. When I got home, I had someone elses vomit on my boots. All in all, A FANTASTIC evening (Full serious, not being sarcastic).

Still feeling a little alienated I guess, minor cultural differences make me want to shake my head. Brittish seem to smother everything in butter. Guess they need the cholesterol to survive the winter. Also, esculator ettiquette, they stay to the right to allow people to pass. I was scolded for not doing this, as I assumed it was the same as Australia (keeping to the left, like how we drive). Oh well, It’s all a learning experience. Have university orientation next Monday. Wish me luck.

Stay class Australia,

Tom