London’s a funny old place for an ‘outsider’. It manages to be simultaneously awesome and not very nice at all.

You see, where I live not much happens. The good thing about this is that not much happens there. Everybody’s pretty relaxed. Even when it doesn’t seem very relaxed, such as in the rush hour, it really is compared to a ‘real’ city.

I love London. I love visiting it. Every time I visit, there’s a brief moment where I feel like I could easily live there if the opportunity ever arose. Then I get on the tube in rush hour. I realise instantly that it’s just not for me.

I spent much of my two days either in awe of the architecture around me (Londoners: take a moment out of your busy lives to look up. How grand is that skyline!) or in awe of how London has everything, absolutely everything you could need.

And yet…yet, I still can’t help but smile that I’m leaving. Don’t get me wrong, I can’t wait to go back. I like where I live though. Where the air is fresh, where the rush hour is pitifully small in comparison, where people feel that little more welcoming.

That’s not to say London isn’t welcoming by the way. My experiences of random strangers in the past two days has actually been great. While people may stare blankly at you or shove past you to get their train that millisecond faster, when you actually speak to them, it’s quite a bit different.

I had to ask a policeman which way to the Millbank Tower. He looked bloody scary and raised his hand to indicate not to say anything while he listened in on his radio. When I actually spoke to him though, he was lovely. The same can be said of the many shop staff I dealt with. The Krispy Kreme guy who looked gruff and unaccommodating until I cheerfully said hello and explained why I wanted so many (we don’t have Krispy Kremes in Swansea, or anywhere in Wales in fact). Then he told me enthusiastically about how there’s now a Krispy Kreme in Bristol (hurrah). Throw in a few other anecdotes of random people I spoke to and I was impressed.

It was an awesome time all in all, just so very alien to me!

I had a brilliant time meeting Sinan Kubba, Sam Giddings and Lewis Denby, as well as Sinan’s friend Tom. It was good to meet like minded people and while I’d never met them in person before, I instantly felt comfortable in their company.

Then I had a delightful time meeting up with my friends Mei and Mark before going for a curry in Brick Lane. Unfortunately while the food was great, the service was terrible. It’s still nice to say I’ve been to Brick Lane though!

Today I left Mei’s very early (for me at least) as she had work to go to and I thought it’d be nice to have a leisurely wander. I went to Westminster then walked along by the river taking in the sights. It was nice walking to Millbank Tower. It was about 8.30am and comparatively quiet. I looked in awe at the Houses of Parliament and the peace protesters camped out by Parliament Square. I did a lot of looking at things in awe. I haven’t been a tourist in London in a very long time!

Near the Millbank Tower was a small park of sorts so I stopped there for a while and sat on a bench taking in the view of the river. Very calming really after all the hustle and bustle of the rush hour trains and tubes.

The Nintendo event was good of course. Perhaps not quite as I would have ideally liked it but it was fun. I’ll save the real write up for my actual article that’ll be on Resolution on Friday. Rather satisfyingly though, I’ve still got my Goldeneye skills of old. Just before I went, I spent an additional 30 minutes or so playing the multiplayer part of it. I was only going to watch some others play it having sat near them but relatively quietly. I think they were quite surprised then when I did join in. And promptly won nearly every round (I think I lost one but it was out of quite a few and it was only by one kill).

Satisfying? Oh yes. I guess as much as I try not to do it, I can’t help but feel a little extra satisfied because of my gender and the feeling that I know I’m a minority in the industry that I’m aspiring to become a part of. I say this fully aware however that I rather liked Nintendodogs and cats!

So yes. Good time in all πŸ™‚ Must do it again! Both press event attending and meeting up with good friends.

Blog a Day 209of365: London Trip