Vampari Diary 5: China in London?

4 February 2018: China Town?

London is exhausting. So many new impressions, so many rude people, so much underground hopping.

For today, I decide to have a day in and sleep and watch Netflix. However, I treat myself to a massive order of takeaway food. I figured I deserved it. Not sure what made me deserving, but let’s just go with it.

My rather questionable order of food arrives and immediately, I regret some of the choices I made. The sausage in batter is literally just that. A weird sausage in a soggy batter. The onion rings are utterly delicious, so no complaints there. But the weird beef pie is gross. Half-cooked dough and a filling that reminds me of catfood. I will pass on this one, thank you very much.

Maybe staying in doesn’t have that many advantages, so I make plans to visit China Town. If you hadn’t noticed, I love Chinese food. I could have it all day everyday. Which I pretty much did.

I catch more Netflix, and enjoy the channels that somehow I can’t get in Belgium. But time flies and I have to get ready.

There is no rain today, just a very gusty kind of wind that snags on my jacket. But it’s almost pleasant, actually. Imagine that, pleasant British weather. I don’t think I’ve heard these two words go together in a sentence. But then again, maybe I’m a special breed.

All the people are duffled in with thick coats and scarfs. And I take a little stroll in my tshirt. They give me some weird glances but I can’t tell it’s for my choice of wardrobe or just the standard “Don’t-you-dare-talk-to-me” look.

Apparently, there’s a no-eye-contact rule on the trains, yet there is surprisingly a lot of chatting going on around me between strangers. And can I add, every time I had some concerns about where my next connection was, a stranger would immediately direct me. London is friendly.

Another two words you don’t usually put in a sentence? Am I not doing London right?

Speaking of not doing things right, it’s 7pm and I’m hopping metros and trains. Where is everybody? Isn’t this rush hour? Why is it so damn quiet here?

(Later, Laura Greenwood pointed out it was a Sunday. I am an idiot.)

I exit my metro and end up in a big, dark park. I’m surprised that I’m surprised. After all, my stop is called Green park. Idiot. (I think this puts my idiot count up to 2.)

But no problem, I make my way to the lighted areas and walk to Picaddily Circus. Quickly, I realise why everyone takes the metro. London is much bigger than expected and 0.5miles is deceptively longer than half a kilometre. But China town, here I come!

Well, technically, I am Chinese so… Town, here I come!

On my way, I’m pleased to report that I’m not the only idiot visiting London. I pass two women who are taking each other’s picture in a rather… Dangerous fashion. And with that, I mean standing in the middle of the street while the massive red busses thunder past her.

I leave the women to their photoshoot and find my way to China Town. The scent of Chinese food wafts over me and the colour of the people around me changes almost by the snap of a finger. The big portals guarding off China Town are almost magical. Are they magical barriers that contain all the Asian people inside?

It really feels like mini China and I wonder if people can tell I’m not an Asian Asian, but an European Asian. And I ask Laura if she feels between all the Asian people like how I feel between all caucasian people. She gives me a weird glance and snorts that she never even gave it a second thought.

Maybe I have a special radar for spotting Chinese people then. Although that’s not a very difficult game in China Town.

We potter through the street and I feel at home. Not because of all the Chinese people, but because of all the food. Anything to do with food feels like home.

I stuff my face with dumplings and back to my room I go. This is my last night in London, and I’m sad to leave. But also, it’s lae and there are some weirdos out on the streets. I’ll retreat back to the safe inside. Enough outside for today!

London, goodnight. Watch your tea.

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