The best adventures are the ones not planned, as this weekend showed. I wouldn’t say that we had our first successful night out, but I was in good company.

I finally go to meet Colin and Geoffery, in addition to May and Melinda (with Tina), on Friday. I, the most amazing planner, found a malaysian restaurant on Edware Road, which primarily displays middle eastern flavors. In a quiet, elegant restaurants, we were the only ones and filled the room with our loud American talking. It felt like home, again, to be with Swatties. It was also fun to order a cocktail with my entree, even though the two didnt go together at all.

Sadly, Colin left before we continued adventures, since he flew out to Scotland Saturday morning. Neither wanting to party nor go home, we decided to head to Leicester square because May was craving Hagen-Daas. My god, was it full! The square was completely packed with tourists, party-goers, club informants trying to persuade us to visit their establishment. Bright lights emanated from neon movie advertisements and musical ticketboxes. The pathway was lined up with various attractions and I was just overwhelemd by it all. As Tina noted, my culture shock is more related to being in an urban, commercial environment, coming from suburban college. I am sure New York is like this in some areas, but I haven’t really been there very long.

Hagen-Daas has take-out side and a sit-in side. There was a long-line to get into the actual restaurant. But we didnt figure out why people were crowding around the door, as usual, and the looks on their faces as we tried to go in, thinking we were “cutting”, was priceless. Brits respect the queuing as much as they respect the Queen.

We bought “take-out” ice cream and continued walking north, I guess. Past Piccadilly and to Oxford circus, the streets slightly brightly lit by commercialism. I missed out on the Oxford circus shopping trips that various people had organzied, so this was my first real experience. After hours, how wonderful. Aside from the various shops, the best part of this street are the street vendors who sell hot falafels, samosas, and lamb, for those who like it. They had run out of falafel sandwiches, but geoffery bought a delicious looking lamb sandwich.

While all the movies, plays, shops, clubs, were really exciting at first (pardon me, I’m a country bumpkin) it started to just freak me out. Disturbed me, in some way. Especially on Oxford street, there were no people in the stores, just these mannequins in the store fronts. And without people shopping in them, these storefronts start to look creepy.

Just like coming home to Parrish from Philly, it was nice to go back to my room in the village of Hampstead.

This particular night especially contrasted with Saturday morning, when Tina and I jogged to Hampstead. We had errands to do in the town, and we passed by this small alleyway that was a bookstore when I last remembered it. This time, it was a food market with loads of vendors selling everything from french pastries, to cheeses, jams, breads, meats, malayasian food and much more. It was a quaint sweet, heaven and neither Tina nor I could resist. What began as an attempt to exercise by running to Hampstead turned into a lets-eat-cherry-and-cheese-tart-fest.

I wonder what the alleyway will turn into next time around..

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