Before meeting up with Tony’s nephew for lunch, we had a bit of time to kill. And what better way to kill time than to go shopping?
First stop was Carnaby Street.
But what once was a mod haven for unique fashion accessories and the like has now been almost entirely overrun by kitchy, overpriced tourist stop-ins. Ricky did manage to find a suave new pocket hanky though, and I was nearly tempted into buying a gorgeous pair of shoes (on sale!!), though resisted.
The super uptown fancy department story of Liberty’s was right around the corner, so we headed in that direction to check it out just because.
Ricky and I played the game “guess the price tag” and came across scarves costing upwards of £130, shirts for £200, and hats coming in at £250 – remember, double the figures to get the value in CAD, or 1.5 it for the American dollar.
My favourite thing I overheard was a woman speaking to her friend (in, might I add, the most hilariously pompous voice that I thought only existed in satire) about how her lipstick case was completely unusable and she needed to get another one. I went over and picked up the little buttoned lipstick-sized capsule when she left and saw the price tag was £24. Sometimes I’m glad I wasn’t born rich.
We stayed just long enough for me to contemplate that this was a city of the truly wealthy for a department store this size to be a popular consumer destination. Then we were off again.
By this point we were truly starving, having only grabbed a small snack to top up our sugar levels since breakfast. As such, the arrival of Tony’s nephew was very welcome indeed – as was his suggestion list of places to eat.
We agreed that Japanese floated all our boats, and headed to the Chinatown district for a promised authentic and mouthwatering experience at Taro.
And he didn’t lie. Taro ended up being the best Japanese restaurant in London. To be fair, I haven’t tried any others, but it’s so good I feel comfortable making that claim.
I had a beef ramen that took me back to those wandering Tokyo days two summers ago, and the looks of everyone else’s bento boxes and stir fries seemed just as good.
Ricky and I even ordered some kimchi because it was on the menu. Best kimchi I’ve had outside Korea. So seriously. This place is awesome. It’s not as well known or crowded as some of the other places we passed, so at the moment it’s still a hidden gem. Take advantage of that!
We were also informed that there was a Forbidden Planet store in the area, so when we’d slurped the last of our noodles, we beelined straight there. For anyone who doesn’t know what Forbidden Planet is, it’s where geeks die and go to heaven.
I’d never been in one before, but it. was. amazing.
Literally anything you could express geeky love for was there. The classics of Star Trek, Star Wars, Doctor Who, and superheroes were, of course, abundant, but also Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, Adventure Time, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Ghostbusters, Rocky Horror Picture Show – just everything. EVERYTHING.
IT WAS AMAZING.
I’ve never needed to exhibit so much self control. I kept having to remind myself of reasons not to spend money.
I’m on a budget.
I’m traveling so I don’t need to accumulate stuff.
Every price here is doubled according to the Canadian dollar value.
Sense won out, but oh how I still think back on it and long for one of those Khaleesi figurines that were half price…
It was extraordinarily crowded though – to the point that it felt like moving through the mosh pit of a heavy metal concert. My social anxiety, already peaked from the dense packs of tourists over the course of the morning, was heightening still. So I let myself be led out and joined the others, starry eyed as an anime character in love.
We parted ways with Tony’s nephew (the culprit for our indulgent adventure into Forbidden Planet), and assessed our schedule.
We had a reservation at the Ice Bar that evening (more on that later), but for now had some time to wander down Regent Street to see the main shopping hub.
The crowds here were teeming at their worst, especially considering the berth of the sidewalks which seemed proportionately narrow enough that a tightrope walker would lose their balance. I can’t say I did much window-shopping let alone actual buying, and unfortunately the crowds made it impossible to get any good photos (hence my use of someone else’s photo for the above Regent Street).
I did get to walk down Piccadilly Street, though, which was cool. And the scope of London once again took my breath away. The people, the double deckers, the grandeur of the buildings.
English lit nerd me was having flashbacks of my time studying Victorian literature. In my mind’s eye I could transpose the modern day rush of fashionable women and smart-suited men with the corseted ladies of the past, the sleek top-hatted men of days long gone. Though the people had changed, the buildings remain as a living monument to an empire on which the sun used to never set.
But that’s enough philosoraptoring for the moment. Next post I’ll finish off Day 2 with our unique venture to the Ice Bar as well as a late night show in Greenwich!
Until next time.
For the complete London adventures, check out the links below!