Thursday, February 16, 2012

Voyage in London: February 11th, 2012

     Day two of the London trip lead to another museum. This time, when we took the metro, I got stuck in between the door. It was not comfortable and I was worried the metro train would pull away with my arm still caught in it. Humanity is smart because they thought about precautions against people loosing body parts and the doors opened to release me. 
     The museum was interesting and had many trivial games and scientific trinkets. I learned an average brain weights around three pounds and skin weights around twice as much. I finished my brain trivia for the day and met up with the group outside the building to go and find lunch. Two girls in our group got lost in the museum and we waited at least a half an hour before they emerged; for someone to get lost in a small museum is hard to imagine.
     It was already around lunch time and the group of students and I headed in the direction of the food venders. All the chinese booths were giving out free samples and we profited for the time being. My class mate behind me asked the woman for a free sample as well and then she said, "no, I do not give free samples to everyone." The food vender had the freedom to give her food to whomever she wanted, on the other hand, her hostility seemed like an act of racism. My classmate brushed off the women's comment and bought her food at the booth next door. 
     The teachers turned us loose in the streets to do as we wished for the limited time they allowed us. Before I could walk off, the teachers turned to me and told me I had to stay with the group of girls (in my opinion they did not want to loose me a second time). It was not interesting being stuck in their group again, so I went off on my own. I talked to many people at the booths and met many strangers from all over the world. I found a store that gave out free samples of space food. The strawberries did not taste as wonderful as I expected since it was frozen in dry ice to preserve it for when the spacemen fly into space. 
     When we regrouped we went to a luxurious store called Harrod's. Anything and everything imaginable was in this store. The building was divided into various sections including shops selling chocolate, perfume, clothing, grocery food, hair products, make-up, shoes, and more. While in the chocolate section I ate a free sample of champagne chocolate and almost died of pleasure. Even though everything was three times out of my price range, the quality of the products were superb.
     We continued to shop and walk around. An H&M store came into our vision and we rushed inside. While we were checking out some jeans, a women fell down and started having an epileptic seizure in front of us. At first no one reacted and stared blankly at the women then some pedestrians and H&M cashiers came to her aid. I wanted to help as well because I was trained for these types of situations from the time when I studied to be a nurse assistant. My classmates and the grown-ups told me to get out of the way and stand aside. No one knew what they were doing and I was the only qualified person to deal with the issue. I felt ashamed that I backed down instead of doing the right thing. The instant everyone denied me I realized that they judged I was incapable due to either my age or position as an american foreigner (my Belgian classmates do not hold me in high esteem since I am not Belgian and don't speak fluent french). A shopper called the ambulance and the professionals took over. I felt disappointed in my behavior and I promised myself not succumb to the prejudices of others the next time.
     Back on the street, one of my classmates was walking near me when she suddenly turned to me and made a comment. I did not hear the first time and did not understand when she repeated herself. My classmate told me I sucked at french and that I was stupid since I did not know what she said. Her hostility did not surprise me because many Belgians behave aggressively toward me since the day I came to Belgium. In reply to her nasty commentary, I talked to her in really fast english. She did not understand, so she continued to talk about how incapable I was. Like any normal person I walked away before the argument esculated.
     The teachers told us to meet by the entrance to the metro after the shopping period was done. The group of girls and I did what we were told and stood by the entrance. We soon discovered that the entrance to the metro was not the only one on the 4 way street. Three other entrances stood at each corner in this huge intersection. Not knowing which one was the correct one, we stood together vigilantly. The teachers eventually rounded everyone up and then we headed for china town.
     In almost every country a foreigner can find decent chinese food: England was no exception. We came through the gateway into the small area of china town and looked at the various strange foods and merchandise. For example, in one window of a chinese restaurant, a display of grotesque chicken hung. I would have been convinced that I was in China if it was not for the british english everyone was speaking. Even the chinese people did not speak chinese. It was extremely late, yet my group wanted to eat since they did not buy supper beforehand. I followed the group into a random restaurant and ate at the buffet. My favorite aspect about chinese food venders is that a person can eat loads of food at the buffet and it wont count against you when you pay.
     We finished our chinese buffet pig out then returned to the hostel. The Belgians bought beer and wine and started to drink when they got into their room. I did not want to participate; instead I went to bed. I have never been drunk before and I sure was not going to start a drinking habit in London.
     My second day in London was spent on going to more museums, witnessing a woman having a seizure, and eating at china town during a festive night. The only time I did not have fun was when I was stuck with the group of girls. They were not nice to me, but I made the best of the situation. Being in a country that spoke my language was great.

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