December 7, 2009

Lost in London

I recently stumbled over a site called Qype, a portal to information on places all over the world and I started browsing through the info on London. Back when I was in law school, I spent time studying abroad, living in London. I can remember often wishing I had some definitive resource or guidebook to the real London, like Qype. It was a really huge moment in life for me, because I had not done any study abroad during my undergraduate days, and I was pretty convinced that if I didn't take the opportunity while I was in law school, the chance to spend extended time outside the country would not come again for a while.

So in the spring of 1992, my grandfather (Charles DeCembly, now deceased) took me to the train station in Toledo, Oh, along with my mom, and put me on a train to New York. I traveled to New York City. After debarking at the station in NY, I took transit out to the airport and caught my flight bound for Heathrow.

I was fortunate enough to have a friend stateside who was well traveled (Sambia) internationally, and she had hooked me up with a friend of hers who lived in London (Nejimilah). But even though Nejimilah lived in London, she didn't have the skinny on all the places I wanted to get into in London. I was interested in different places to eat, you know, a variety of restaurants, and London as it turns out has a lot of them representing seemingly every part of the globe. Qype seems to have a great listing of those. Restaurants London could be anything from Indian to Chinese, though I can't recall ever seeing a Mexican food place the whole time I was there. More than the restaurants though, I wanted to get into London's nightlife. For the last half of my time in London, I lived in Brixton in what the Brits call a council estate (what we would call the projects, but I didn't really figure that out until I got back stateside). I was just sort of getting the idea of Pubs London which I thought was the Brits weird version of bars, weird because they closed at 11:00 pm. It would have been awesome to have a guide to the pubs, especially the ones where London's various flavors of blacks hung out. Alas, 1992 was post internet, but pre-web (it freaks me out sometimes that I can remember the world before the web). But in 1992, it was still all about Unix command line interface, as far as I knew. Qype would have been quite the guide to have back then.