Tag Archives: london

London Tube Etiquette: My First Experience of the London Underground

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series A Semester Abroad in London

Participating in a study abroad program and living in London was the highlight of my Bachelor of Arts degree. This series is a record of my adventure to London and Europe with my young family and my sister as the nanny.

Travelling on the London Tube can be daunting for the uninitiated and involves knowledge and skill beyond just ‘how to top up your Oyster card’. It is a skill that includes certain knowledge of Tube etiquette: always stand to the right on the escalators, don’t make eye contact, Continue reading

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Mr Thinktank

Chinese New Year in London

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series A Semester Abroad in London

Participating in a study abroad program and living in London was the highlight of my Bachelor of Arts degree. This series is a record of my adventure to London and Europe with my young family and my sister as the nanny.

London holds the biggest Chinese New Year festivities outside of Asia and last year saw the biggest yet, with extravagant floats transported from China. This is not something I read.  I got it from the horse’s mouth; an organiser of the event, no less… or that’s what he claimed Continue reading

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The Grey Areas of Slum Tourism: Part 1

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series The Grey Areas of Slum Tourism

A shack near Bloemfontein, South Africa, has walls made of corrugated metal and plywood. Inside, rusty kitchenware hangs from the walls alongside a mirror with a chipped, white frame. There is a traditional “donkey” (a wood-burning water heater) and a long-drop toilet outside, but these are probably not used.

The donkey and long-drop toilet are only for show as it turns out that the residents of this “slum” have an electric geyser and a shower with running hot water inside the shack. That’s not all. This special shanty town comes complete with air conditioning, a TV, a fridge, Wi-Fi and even, wait for it…a spa.

The Emoya Hotel boasts a spa and tours of the game reserve © South African Tourism

The Emoya Hotel boasts a spa and tours of the game reserve © South African Tourism

The Emoya Hotel’s slum experience has taken the abasement of the poor to a whole new level. For just under £50 — almost double the average monthly wage of a slum citizen — you can stay in one of Emoya’s shacks. According to the website, this “experience of a lifetime” is ideal for “team building, braais (South African barbeques), bachelors and themed parties.”

It is sickening enough that the owners of this hotel are exploiting some of the world’s poorest people for their own profit, but what is more disturbing to see are the high ratings given by its visitors on TripAdvisor. One review reads: “set menu for the dinner with ample food,” another: “Breakfast was adequate.” Just like the real thing then…!

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5 Tips for Cheap Travelling

Have you noticed that there’s nearly always one person that seems to be relaxing on a different beach on a different continent every time you check Facebook while you’re all snuggled up with a cup of tea in your hands, trying to escape the rainy weather at home? Do you find yourself just sitting there wondering how they manage to travel so frequently while you’re about to head to sleep as your alarm will go off in 6 hours?

Well, here are some tips that’ll help you travel more for less money and help you to not even bother about that alarm going off soon, as you’ll be daydreaming about your next trip while working.

murdelta

So you’re fed up of your alarm clock and checking social media, only to find everyone is having more fun than you. Do something about it: don’t be scared! (Photographer: murdelta; Flickr)

1. Stay up-to-date. Always.

Stay updated with travel deals, check the webpages of airlines, bus companies etc. regularly and you’ll find some mind-blowing deals. Figure out which companies/pages you like best and subscribe to their newsletters — that’s how I managed to fly from Germany to London and back for €1.98.

2. Don’t be picky

You found a great deal to go to Andorra next week? You might have no idea where exactly this place is, it might not impress your friends and you might have no idea what to expect, but the deal is amazing? Well then, go. Go and see it for yourself. If you’re trying too desperately to go to one specific place, you’ll find it hard to keep it cheap. Flying to Bangkok on the first day of your holiday might be super expensive whereas flying to Canada two days later might only cost a hundred bucks, and both would be an adventure. Besides, isn’t being surprised what travelling is all about? Continue reading

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Sam Selvon’s ‘The Lonely Londoners’

After spendinga longtime intheUK’scapital, it cannot escape one’s notice that the city’s every corner is home to different religions and races. The city is bright with different cultures and more than 300 languagesare spoken within its limits. With every turn, I find something unfamiliar, something new, something British. That is London’s charm; it is as ifa small world lives within the city’s boundaries.It containsin it people of different backgrounds who have brought their origins with them, after which‘white British London’has become‘multiculturalBritish London’.

This ‘multicultural London’is present today, but one has to wonder where it all began. When did London welcome its firstimmigrants?In truth, it is difficult to say for certain. Yes, there have been some periods of time where there was an influx of immigrants; postWorld WarIIbeing the most well-known. Most authors focus on this period of immigration;they write about it, expressing to the world the migrants’ views about moving to a new country and how they were treated.

The novel was written in 1956, but can still be applied to society today. (Photographer: Koranteng Ofosu-Amaah; Flickr)

The novel was written in 1956, but can still be applied to society today. (Photographer: Koranteng Ofosu-Amaah; Flickr)

One of the novels I studiedthis yearwasThe Lonely Londonersby SamSelvon. The modulewas called ‘Post-war to Post-modern,’so I wasn’t surprisedthat the book was a challengingbut enjoyable read.The postmodern period is known to be a struggle to read, as writers experimented with form and language, presenting texts in new ways which take a while to grasp. It focused on something the world still talks about today: migration.SamSelvonwrites in a strikingly uniqueway; his narrator speaks in creolised English just as the characters in the novel do. The book’s theme, aswell asSelvon’snarrative voice, emphasise the changes within London society.   

The novel deals with the arrival of theWindrushgeneration’and describes the everyday lives of a limited number of members from this community.TheWindrushgeneration’ is the term for the Caribbean migrants who arrived in the UKaboard the SS EmpireWindrushinJune1948.The arrival of theship marked the beginning of post-war mass migration. The Lonely Londoners spans over three years and focuses on the life of a Trinidadian named Moses. He is described as having lived in London for ten years, however has achieved little, which causes him to miss his life in Trinidad.His life and the lives of the otherimmigrants, most ofwhomare young, consist of work and petty pleasures as they try to feel ‘at home’ in this new country. 

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