Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Things I don't like: Charity Theft

On Saturday morning I did my run to the few charity shops around my neighborhood. With my small budget, charity shops are the way to go in finding something different to wear (I desperately need new clothes) and something cheap. While in my favourite shop, I was appalled to see a middle aged man in a suite stuff items in his bag.

I am not adverse to stealing a few bits here and there from corporations. I wouldn't do it myself, but if you're a little old lady surviving on a pension Tescos or Safeway isn't going to miss those batteries in your pocket. But this was a CHARITY SHOP with few clothes and barely surviving and this guy was in a suite and picking out not just one or two items, but six or seven. How greedy!

I didn't say anything to the shopkeeper who was helping other customers at the front of the store. I felt bad for not even trying to give the shopkeeper the 'eyes' or telling him after the thief left the small shop. I didn't want to be a snitch, but I was then riddled with guilt for the rest of the weekend for not saying anything and vowed that if I saw the guy on the street I would go up to him and call him a thief to his face. Needless to say I didn't buy anything on Sunday because I felt a bit disheartened by him and with myself!

Street discoveries

One finds various things living in a busy city. Although my mother tells me to hold my head high, in London I am constantly looking down for lost treasures. Last night on the way to the shop to get a bit of milk I found a packet of cigarettes. Normally I would leave random cigarette boxes, but this one looked unopen and it was, still neatly wrapped in plastic. With the price of cigarettes very high, I pocketed it to give to my co-worker. This morning on the way to work I found a lighter. I thought to myself, is someone trying to tell me something? Am I supposed to be smoking? as I dropped it in my bag. No, I thought I think it just speaks to the amount of people who still smoke here in London!

I get so happy when I discover something, it makes my day, even if it is quite insignificant. A few months ago both my friend and I jumped on a twenty note outside a tube station and went off to spend it in the pub. And on New Year's day I considered myself a wealthy woman when I found five quid on the ground. So many people drop money out of their pockets. I am sure you all have stories of what you've found or lost? Please let me know them.....

Friday, April 17, 2009


We visited or passed by a plethora of churches and synagogues in our travels last weekend. As it was Easter weekend there was a lot of activity. Here are some photos.

A church or temple (we never were sure of the name) on Buda in Budapest.

Lighted candles in Vienna. Can you spot the decoration?

Mass starting at the church in Vienna's main square, named St Stephen's (they loved this guy). It smelled outside from all the horses who pulled tourists carried in their carriages. They are doing a major restoration on the building and as Belen said, it looked like a huge undertaking.

A church by one of the Castle's in Budapest, so intricate. the castle was also amazing.

Mass at the most beautiful church, (another) St Stephen's in Budapest. This was truely the most beautiful church I've been to (REALLY!).

One of the stain glass windows inside St Stephen's. I then ran outside to listen to the bells of this church ringing and ringing, calling the people to mass.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Budapest and Vienna

Belen taking a rest in front of the Royal Opera house.

A hello from it's most famous castle. We were a bit too hungary to walk the journey up to see it.

The parliament building of Budapest. It's massive and just needs a little TLC.

With Schubert

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Bratislavia, Slovakia

Now with the Euro!

Beefs with Vienna

Overall Vienna is a clean European city; its palaces and museums impressive, its avenues wide (although not heavily crowded) and its tram and metro system far reaching and fairly efficient. However out of the three places I went to on my mini Easter trip Vienna was my least favourite. I might even say it's one of my least favourite places I’ve been to while living in London. Besides it’s grandeur and it’s historical significance with the arts, I have two main 'beefs' with Wien.

1. Having to pay for ketchup and mayonnaise. Vienna is expensive, but it’s a low blow to charge one Euro for EACH condiment that should be everyone’s good given right, in my opinion, when ordering at a restaurant. Come on you Austrians, mayonnaise is not that expensive!

2. The opera. I made such an effort to see the opera or a classical concert while in Vienna and it was such a barbaric experience and an utter disappointment. We arrived one hour before it started because this was when five dollar tickets for the day were up for sale. We qued and entered to find people pushing there way back and forth front and center in the standing area. We asked someone what was going on and found that people who were the first to arrive attached lace or clothing or even a newspaper around an area sectioning off their space and then went and sat until it started. Those, like ourselves, that weren’t regulars stood around dumbfounded as people fought about spaces and tried to explain what was happening. The rudeness and aggressiveness started 10 minutes before when everyone returned to their places. Three Italian women argued saying they were there first and weren’t moving even though they didn’t leave their mark and there was a ribbon in front of them. An Austrian called them a bad name. Belen and I were forced in the middle of the aisle balancing oh so uncomfortably. Someone tried to get through and with this Belen moved to the left and was elbowed by a very large rude woman yelling at her, ‘hey, this is my spot what are you doing, what are you doing’. Belen at this point had had enough (she hadn’t even wanted to go in the first place). She said, 'it’s just the F***** opera, you are an animal.' The woman retaliated back with, 'Please watch your language, this is no place for that’ which I thought rich coming from her (she was a shusher and shhhhhd people throughout the whole opera too) It got a bit worse as more people came, but I will spare you the gritty details. When the opera finally started, I had images of the real drama playing out in the standing area with me tugging at someone’s hair (embarrassingly yes I thought it because I was SO heated up). After about ten minutes our feet and legs ached from our days walk around Vienna and the fact that we had stood already for an hour to reserve our spot that we wanted to leave. I told Belen we would be killed and we suffered on…needless to say, it was torture! By the time it was over we needed a chair and a nice stiff drink.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Things I don't like

Police officers manhandling peaceful protesters at the G20 summit.

Monday, April 6, 2009


My friends are doing it too!

A few of my mates have recently sent me their very own blogs. I know there are so many out there now but these are two very special ones that I recommend.

Anna works with me.
Originally from NZ, her blog touches on London living at its best or worst or however she feels on the day:

Manuela or Manu or Maria as she is known by different people, is now in Brazil via Portugal via London. I met her in San Francisco and plan to visit her where she now resides in Minas Gerais.
She is probably one of the smartest women I know!
Take a look at her (always political) commentary:

Springtime comes to London

Pictures to follow....

Light changes the buildings. Where once they stood crusting over with time, paint chipped and loathing life, they stand artful and purposeful. The dust and decay filled with freshness and emenation.

People come out into the street and they sit or stand outside the pubs. It looks like something is going on at the end of the street. I question the mob until I get up close and it's only people drinking pints, trying to grab the light when they can.

I got lost on my way home from a jaunt in the park yesterday. A neighborhood similar to my own, but disorienting because it wasn't. Through one passage and there were beautiful classic London Victorians and then further down the street, council flats with their colourful doors and gray architectual dullness loomed ahead with their inhabitants running around and chilling out in public. For awhile I walked feeling no cold, enjoying my lostness and the budding cherry blossom trees (always the first to bloom). Then I got frustrated, became tired of walking and at this point I realised where I was and jumped on a bus I knew would take me home.

Things I like

People in the park on a nice day (like yesterday on the Heath), dogs in the park, and now yes I admit, I like jumpsuits like this one from

Things I don't like

When you let a pregnant woman cut in front of you in a long line and she inappropriately berates her young daughter.
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