Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Cheapest Umbrella at Harrod's? 22 pounds...

London was two dozen shades of grey this afternoon and the rain put a literal damper on what was supposed to be a few hours in St. James Park. And worst of all, I forgot to bring an umbrella!

Heh, just kidding. I didn't forget my umbrella, I just don't own one.

I know, I know, London rain, blah blah blah, but in all fairness it hasn't been a big problem. Still, an umbrella should have been the first thing on my list of things to pack but unfortunately I didn't have one of those either, though I suspect my mother made one for me and used it as a reference when she harassed me all the way out the door back in June. "Do you have your passport? Hair dryer? Socks? How many pairs? Underwear? How many pairs? ..." and so on and so on.

Anyway, umbrella or none, I wasn't about to let a little rain send me back on the tube to Trent Park so I decided to pursue an indoor activity. As I was in the area, I supposed it would be a good time to pay a visit to the legendary department store Harrod's.

And that was fun for, I don't know, the first nine seconds.

I walked past a few counters selling perfume and make up, checked one price tag and after that it was all pretty annoying and a little depressing. Prior to my visit all I knew about Harrod's was that it was humongous, infamous and the place where a friend of mine spent 18pounds on a pizza for lunch. Incase you American folks were wondering, 18pounds is equal to $28.08. For... PIZZA!

Now 99% of the time if you put me with in 20 feet of attractive clothing or jewelry, I will at least carefully consider the merchandise and more than likely buy something if I have the means. A sick voice in my head says "Alison, you NEED that dress. No! Better yet, you DESERVE it!" and just like that, I'm sold. Or, well, the dress is.

But Harrod's did not inspire me in the slightest. The crowds were overwhelming and the entire atmosphere just seemed so pretentious to me. I don't understand why people want to go there so badly. If you're a celebrity or a big CEO or a lottery winner, then yes, a trip to Harrod's is probably pretty exciting but if you're say, a 21 year old college student whose primary income comes from the St Ann's front desk then no, not as much. It's not that I felt jealous or sad that I couldn't afford anything, I just couldn't understand why so many people in the same position as me were so delighted to be there.

It all just seems backwards to me, really. I think I'd be more excited to be in a Walmart than Harrods. I guess expensive things and name brands just don't mean much to me and they certainly don't impress me. I'm impressed by people who work hard and spend their money in intelligent ways. But people who are spending over 1,000 pounds on a single handbag just annoy me. Yes, we get it, you shop at Harrod's––you're rich. Congratulations. Who cares about all the starving people in the world when you can buy diamonds, right?


I had a much better time last Saturday when I went out to Notting Hill. I walked around for hours and I didn't mind the crowds because the atmosphere was much less depressing. Everything was bright and everyone was happy and I had really, really great pizza. And it only cost me 3 quid.

I did feel like the ultimate lame girly tourist though, feeling all giddy and romantic on Portobello Road. I was pretending that I was just a local enjoying the market on a Saturday, not some American who saw a Hugh Grant movie and felt compelled to make it part her own reality. But I was alone, so I was only lying to myself and eventually that seemed silly. So yeah, I took a picture of the famous Travel Bookshop.

I know, I know. I'm SUCH a girl.

Ah, now I'm exhausted and I must wake up early to prepare for my FINAL Shakespeare class. And all I can say about that is THANK. GOD. I really like Shakespeare but these 3 hour blocks have been brutal. I swear, if I can get through tomorrow without attempting to jump off the Tower Bridge in the middle, I will be happy. And alive, so thats good.

Shout out to Shawn Hennessy, my apparent avid reader. Oh haaay girl!

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