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Johnnies in London

London

I gotta say London was my favorite city I’ve been to by far. Just an all around good time. We got there on a Friday morning into Stansted airport, the guy at the passport scanner was very funny. The scanners all sucked, but every time someone’s got denied he would hit them with a “It’s alright, give it another go, love” sorry my english accent doesn’t sound good here. But after that we took the train into the center of the city, and met with our other friends who had gotten there earlier. 

We walked around for a bit, played “The London” by J. Cole, and met them in a park. The park was a small one but had these massive crows which was kind of creepy to me. After that we found a little pub near the train station, called “The Lord Aberconway” that had been there since 1873. I got fish and chips and as it was every other place I got them in England, they were fucking delicious. After that the groups split up to go back to the places we were staying. I had a friend from school whose friend from home I met a couple times and was in London for the semester. I miraculously met her and her friends at Oktoberfest, and when I said we were going to London the next week one offered me their room because she would be in Paris. So, we got to the place and met up with my friends. After that, me and my two roommates went out to do some sightseeing. First we met up with another one of our friends staying in a hotel, and of course got more fish and chips. The place we went to was amazing, my favorite of the trip. It had been there forever, and even stayed open during the blitz in WW II. Called “The Rock and Sole Plaice”  They gave us a huge piece of fish, had a big selection of different kinds but I always stick to cod. THey also had all of the traditional sides to go with it too. I didn’t have the balls to but my friends tried pickled eggs… they said it wasn’t that bad but I wouldn’t be caught dead having one. We also got fried camembert cheese… fucking delicious, you can really never go wrong with anything fried but fried cheese especially is heaven sent. 

The food was just fucking amazing I’ll leave it at that, also, the mushy peas were good too… never thought i’d be saying I liked mushy peas but here we are. Anyways, after that we went for some sight seeing, i didn’t know what Trafalgar square was but that place was pretty awesome even at night, I really liked the huge spire in the middle with the Lions around it. The lions were awesome, one thing I’ve gotta say about London is that they just had a shit on of lions everywhere… Someone a couple hundred years ago was just like ya know I like it.. But it needs more fucking lions. Hilarious to me. 

So we went there then to the Big Ben area… He was a lot smaller than I thought, honestly quite disappointing but hey a big clock is a big clock who am I to complain. We took a shit ton of pictures there and they came out great I won’t lie. After that we met up with our friends once again then milled around looking for something to do. 

We were all there togo to the Giants game on Sunday, the whole fucking city was crawling with Packers fans, cheeseheads on every street you turned onto. So we tried to go to the Giants designated bar, near Trafalgar Square. The place was pretty open, not packed at all and it was only like 10:30 and they wouldn’t let us in, assholes. 

So we went to this other pub right across the street, also pretty dead. I had told my friend Emily, the one who got me the room, earlier we probably wouldn’t be going to the club she was at but we went anyways. The only thing was she was already there and obviously as it goes, wasn’t on her phone, so when we got into this place I went looking around aimlessly before I miraculously found her. Pretty impressive honestly and basically the same way I ran into her when I was at Oktoberfest. 

Anyways, the place we went to was called Tiger Tiger, a pretty big club with like three floors. The music was really good to be honest, lots of rap which I haven’t seen much in Europe. Only thing was it was 20 Euro to get in and then we found out it was like 16 euros for a drink if I remember correctly. Luckily for us, my friends had bracelets for students that made every drink and shot like 4 euro each. So after that we really got going and it became a lot more fun. 

The basement of the place had a huge dance floor that was playing more hispanic type music which we took the fuck over and was really fun. Well I didn’t really but the others did that’s for sure. 

Overall it was a great club, really fun time and one of the best I’ve been to in Europe so far. 

After that we split from the group. It was me, my roommate and the two girls we were staying with. We went to this 24 hour spot that was pretty good, called It was a few floors so it was funny seeing all the drunk people try and navigate the stairs. I’ve gotta say one of the things I liked the most about London, or missed from New York was thefact that stuff stayed open late. If there’s one thing they really need to figure out in Rome it’s to keep places open later, they need more 24 hour spots.

After that we made it back to the dorm type place we were staying and knocked out. The next day I got up at about 11 and met back with my friend at Trafalgar Square. I got a really good pastry, it was basically just strawberry cheesecake with a layer of chocolate over the cheesecake, so fucking good. And a Cinnamon pinwheel thing which also slapped. 

After that we went to Buckingham Palace, pretty beautiful but not as cool knowing I sort of missed out on the Queen. I had seen the changing of the guard there a few years before and that was really cool, if you have the chance you should try to see that because it’s a whole production and you get to see the guys with the furry hats march around and act like they’re really important. Little fun fact I didn’t know before, their hats are actually made out of bear skin from black bears in Canada, thought that was pretty cool. 

Then we made a tour for the Winston Churchill bunker, went to Borough Market, a huge outdoor market with tons of great food. My friend told me about another great fish and chips place there, this one called FISH! It had a long ass line but moved fast, they were pushing out massive amounts of fish, I almost felt bad. The whole halves of these fish being given out, it made me wonder just how many they really killed… there was a lot of fucking fish. And the pieces were probably 6-8 inches each… massive. That was a good fish and chips spot but still didn’t beat the place from the night before. After eating so much fried food in such little time I started feeling my arteries clogging. 

Once we ate, we went for a walk to try and work off the fish and chips, no we actually were going to see tower bridge, a really nice walk to be honest along the river. Something cool that I saw was that they actually have these big Uber sponsored boats, wish I could have taken one but it wasn’t for a little while and we had a tour to make. I Hadn’t been close toTower Bridge but it really was very pretty, I was impressed. Probably my favorite landmark in London. 

After that, we went to the Churchill war rooms which was really crazy. It’s pretty mind boggling knowing that’s really where they ran the whole war, seeing the places they all slept, where they readjusted the structure of the building in case of a bombing. And Churchill never even slept there… pretty funny to me. He seems like a guy I would really have liked to meet or at least here when he was in his prime, a true world leader that didn’t take shit from anyone. And a peculiar guy, seems like he would’ve been fun to grab a pint or two with. Oh and smoke a huge cigar. If there’s one thing I think you really should do it would have to be that,everything untouched from the last days they were there, all left the same as before, and you could also spend hours in the churchill section alone, he lived a really interesting life. 

After that we went to meet our friends and get tea which actually just turned into a shitshow… so we ended up just wandering around Piccadilly Circus, it’s basically the Times Square of London. So, we walked around and stumbled upon what had to be CHinatown, there was a huge Chinese looking arch, and we figured we’d go check it out. Little did we know right next to the arch was a Fogo de Chao… not the most English food in the world, but after walking around all day and being high for the first time in months, ripping a weed cartridge one of my friends got from a sketchy Pakistani man in a smoke shop… the decision basically made itself. And let me tell you that shit was fucking amazing, not as good as the one in NEw York but it’s pretty hard to have bad Brazilian steak, and when it’s unlimited well I don’t think there;s anyway you could go wrong. They didn’t have as many good cuts of steak and kept bringing around my English things like Ham and sausage which I didn’t have any of but I got my money’s worth when the steak came around. 

After that the rest of the group was pretty tired and someone had the genius idea to go to the M and M store… I wasn’t thinking and didn’t realize they’d be charging M and M store prices… I blacked out at the Blue and Yellow M and M machines, they all just came out so fast. So when I got to the register I didn’t realize how bad i was about to get boned. It was pretty bad. Dinner at Fogo de Chao… a high class steak restaurant came to 32 Euro… I racked up 28 Euro at the fucking M and M store. I know I said I saw the Tower Bridge earlier in the day but after that I wanted to jump off the fucking thing. 

So… after that the rest of the group decided to go back to their Air BNB which was kind of far away and it left just four of us. We wanted to keep wandering around a little bit and maybe find a nice pub. Instead we ran into a casino… Empire Casino, but not the one with trotter horses in Yonkers. So we figured we’d give it a try, I for sure was going in to at least try and make back the money that the M and M store took from me at gunpoint. 

So we go in, only one kid had cash, he gave us 80 Euro each… no clue why but we decide to try our luck at roulette first, and of course one of the kids I’m with hits on the first fucking round. He only out 5 euro down so it only came put to 175, but still… pretty fucking impressive, so I played 3 more times, lost 20 euro and on the second to last, whaddaya know, the kid fucking hit again. I was pissed the fuck off to say the least… I don’t know much about gambking but for you to hit twice in roulette, just putting it down on random numbers is absurdly fucking lucky. So I left those two idiots to keep trying their luck there and went to find the blackjack tables. 

I spent about 15 minutes just watching even though my intention was always to play. I’m pretty sure they thought I as trying to count cards so I walked away after a few minutes to check on the roulette idiots. They hadn’t won again believe or not. So i went back to the table and found the balls to sit down. It was 25 Euro a hand so i sat down with my 60 euro not expecting to be there very long. Thank God I was at least a little high because If i wasn’t I don’t think I would’ve been able to relax enough to stay so long. I probably would’ve left after being up 50 euros. But, I followed the number one rule when it comes to gambling and din’t count my chips at the table, but I’m pretty sure that rule only applies to poker, not blackjack. Anyways,I put it to the test with blackjack and the next thing I knew my pile of 2 25 euro coins went to a pile of 200 euros. My friends had finally given up on blackjack and came over to watch the real show… me. 

So what the fuck did I do? Kept winning of course.  It comes naturally to me. But when I kept winning they of course didn’t know how to handle it so I told them toget the fuck away from me before they ruined my mojo. I don’t know where they went but I was able to keep making my pile of chips bigger. So for a while it was me, an indian guy from London who kept acting like the game was rigged every time I won a hand (he had been there awhile,since the time I was just watching and pretty sure he thought I was counting cards) and my friend who, (this was the first time we went to the casino, but after this we went to a few different) I found out soon after had a bit of a gambling problem. But in a funny way though. I mean funny to me, I kept winning and he kept losing. But boy was he close. 

So, my pile gets a bit bigger, about 400 euro and the kid who I’m staying with is really tired…blah blah blah let me keep gambling and bringing home the fucking bacon. He tells me i’ve got about a half hour left before he takes the key and goes home… let me tell you something that key was fucking mine and he’d have to drag it out of my cold dead hands before I left that table the way I was playing that night. But whatever, I told him yeah fine and played for a little longer, ended up getting to 460 euro in total and couldn’t put up with his bitching anymore before I ended up calling it a night. I had convinced myself that i had avenged my M and M store robbery enough and that I had enough to get a boatload of shit in the Chelsea store the next day since I had booked a tour of Stamford Bridge, their stadium. 

So… after having one of the best cases of beginner’s luck that i had ever seen or heard of, we decided tohead back to our place and get a good night’s rest, the pubs were calling my name but I had a tour of the stadium in the morning and after that had to head from South London (Chelsea) to North for the NFL game, Giants VS. Packers, in Tottenham. 

The tour of Stamford Bridge was amazing, I had been to a few stadiums in Europe before that but that was the first time I had been in one empty, and it was also the smallest one I had been in. Nevertheless, I loved it. I am a chelsea fan, but that place has some real character to it. I loved the way the endsof the stadium hang over the sections, it’s a bit beat up but still in great shape, you could just imagine the generations and generations of fans filtering in and out of the seats week after week. After seeing it so many times in FIFA and on TV it was really kind of magical. Just knowing the history of Chelsea and all the club has gone through, all the players that had played on that field, and being so close was mesmerizing. The tour itself was awesome as well. 

They started us off with a great view of the field, then walked us alongside the pitch up into press room. We were able to sit where all the reporters sit, and if you know anything about Chelsea you know they’re ruthless, especially when it comes to managers, so being bale to sit and the actual table where so many coaches and players had signed was awesome as well. 

After that they took you into the away and then home dressing rooms, being able to take seats in front of the lockers of whatever player you wanted. Then, the coolest part to me, they led us into the hallway,the same one the players leave to get to the field and played the same song Chelsea have walked out to for years. It really felt like I was in a legitimate video game. After that, they took us around the stadium again to get a better view, from one of the far ends. It really was just a beautiful stadium, and with all the history and visible wear and tear, it just reminded me exactly of the Old yankee Stadium and everything that came with that too, the generations and generations of fathers and sons going to games week in and week out is something you can just feels sometimes when stepping into these places. A true cathedral of the sports world. 

After that, I blew some of my blackjack winnings in the team store, and hightailed it across the city to make it to the NFL game in Tottenham. That was a real whirlwind going from the older Stamford Bridge right into the brand new Tottenham stadium, which, I must say was pretty magnificent itself, and the whole production leading into the game was really impressive itself. I was skeptical if anyone would really be there or know what was going on, and how the NFL would cater to those who didn’t know American football, but in the end it wsa all really smooth. 

I wsa pretty surprised by how many Packers fans made it to London, there were seas of cheeseheads everywhere you looked, especially playing against a New York team, I thought the Giants would be a little better represented, although I guess htis was before they were good again. Anyways,the intro to the game was great, they did a lot of marketing for the game in the UK, with lots of interviews from former NFL players, explaining efforts to explain the game and giving background on how American football was played the overall rules and what not. For an American kind of unnecessary but still pretty interesting to see how they got the show going. Then, the American National Anthem was, well as good as you could imagine it in Englasnd, but God Save the King was  honestly really electric. Then followed by fireworks and colored smoke, it was a great way to get the whole crowd going. 

The game itself was great too. The Giants played out of their mind, better than anyone I think thought they could, and, in basically a Packers home game it was great to be an asshole New York fan and shownot just Packers fans but the people of England how people root for New York teams. I wasn’t the only one, there were other Giants fnas in the section but people didn’t appreciate us going across entire rows to high five. Also, Packers fans around me and my friend didn’t take too kindly to make yelling “Aaron Rodgers is a family man!” I only had the balls to say it once because of the dirty looks I got. That was early in the game though. The rest was really great though, the Gianst played great, it was really surprising. After the game, we had to battle giant masses to one single tube station, but after that we got back to the place we were staying, and I decided it was only fair to treat the girl who kindly let me stay in her room to a meal with a few more of my blackjack winnings. I couldn’t bare to harden my arteries with anymore fish and chips, and if i had another meal of Italian food I’d probably throw up so we decided on another London staple, Indian food, something neither of us had tried. Let me tell you, that is some underrated stuff right there. I couldn’t really tell you what I got but it was amazing. Butter chicken, Chicken tikka masala, and some type of spicy chicken, it was all so good. And, maybe the best part, the guy surprised us with it being BYOB. Excellent. And there was a store he pointed out for us right around the corner. The perfect way to end my trip to London.

All in all I like London a lot, my second favorite city in the world after New York and the best I ahd been to since I’ve been in Europe. I suggest it to everyone, and I might even have to go back there permanently one day. 

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