Notes and Notices

On art, architecture and design

9/17/2014

London Life

Posted by Carren Jao Pineda |

Up until last month, all I knew of London was its icons: the Mind the Gap sign, the Underground symbol, red telephone boxes, and the London bridge. I saw all of that and more. What were once place names in books were suddenly real, peopled venues, filled with life.

Double decker in motion.
Red telephone booths. I never saw anyone use them, but they do still look cool. 

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Westminster Abbey. 
What surprised me most about London was its sheer density, at least in its busy shopping streets. Droves of people walked through Regent Street. It closely resembled the indoor flea markets we had in Manila. I never thought I'd compare London to Manila, but the image came unbidden, especially after waves of people passed by. 

Another striking thing about being in London is just the amount of history baked into the place. Here, people live with their myths. I grew up with stories of princes and princesses, but in this country, royalty is real. At Buckingham Palace, the changing of the guards, dressed in their blazing red uniforms remind us that someone is really there living in those opulent surroundings. At Windsor Castle, turrets and flags signal the if the queen is in residence. Almost everything is symbolic, as long as you know what to look for and where. 

Changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace.

London was never on my places to see list, but my two weeks there was a treat. It was a surprise altogether, and not an unwelcome one. 


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