Lon Done by Claire O’Brien
Clo-Gandhi does London. I recently moved to London to study at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Kiran, being the best besty that she is, came to town to “make my bed”, say hi to her UK peeps, give her Mom a kiss, and meet with some Universal Music Brits. It was a dreamy visit, full of great dinners (despite London’s iffy food rep.), hang outs with future world leaders (Kiran’s posse), and, plenty of city analysis, urban ponderings, and cultural explorations. The weekend began with a happy reunion in Kiran’s family pad, right near Hyde Park. We then took up the familiar habit of getting lost in an unknown part of town and finding me a second-hand bicycle. Once my “old flame” was purchased, over in East London, we enjoyed a love dinner in Broadway Market, a place we really felt at home in. The next day, another one of KKG’s besties came to town…Berto! Although he is a native of Spain, it was his first real visit to London, making us a newbie threesome. After miscellaneous student parties and too many pint offers, we struggled to find the proper tube line home and ended up with nachos, chocolate, and bonding moments in my student hall at Good Enough College. Soon came the weekend, and time to get DOWN. We spent our afternoons meeting up with various old pals, including the lovely Alison Bailey at a Malaysian restaurant, and strolling through picturesque, historical park gardens – ladies who lunch style.
Eventually, we got our butts in gear and organized an extravagant dinner party, with Mama Gandhi at the head of the table. It was superb, and I noted the endless conversation and common points between an otherwise sporadic group of young students and professionals living in London. That’s one thing about London that I’ve noticed – you can really become acquainted with people from any walk of life, and find something to discuss, contemplate, or laugh about. We finished off our wine with a serious report on London’s latest fashion trends. According to our research, these include heeled leather ankle-boots, bomber jackets, and pullover sweaters with danty, collared shirts for the ladies, and, as always, smart casual suits and oxford shoes, for the men. The overarching trend is towards outdoorsy put togetherness and two-piece tracksuits. Following dinner, we ducked out to Dalston (please youtube Dalston superstars for general vibe reference), and “threw some shapes” at a bangin’ dancehall reggae event, in the back room of a sweaty pub. Kiran probably sweat off a few pounds shaking it down the way she did. The following day, we scattered about with our academic and professional commitments, but met up in Brixton. We cruised around the area, admiring the plethora of food stands, live beats, and grab bag of culturally diverse markets, and ended up wiki-ing the region’s history because we had so many questions about how it came to be. Conclusion: next time Kiran’s in town, we’re exploring the Brixton, South Bank/London Bridge area to full effect. To end the weekend, we celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving, of all things, at my place. We got together a big group of North Americans and threw a potluck. It wasn’t quite the typical turkey and stuffing dinner, but it made the UK feel more homie…considering the dinner turned into a raging fest of Canadians, plus jazz ensemble.
All in all, Kiran’s brief touch down in London was solid. Despite previous thoughts of the city being a homogenous place, concentrated with the same old hipster scene, we found more than enough to chew on. Notably, our nights often ended with tea, snacks, and productive conversation, while our days were observant, loving, and all over the map. We came out of it impressed with the chaotic size of London and its historic variety, and produced a list of new areas to discover upon Gandhi’s next visit. I look forward to her coming back, and, in the mean time, I’ll be taking my new wheels out to every nook and cranny that I can reach, alongside Kiran’s many lovely friends in town.