Posted Feb 28, 2010 in Travel | 0 Comments

SKYWHORES UNITE!!! Presents London Calling

Tower Bridge London

I remember traveling to London at the drop of a dime. There was nothing to it: Book your ticket, call up a friend, book a hotel, and jump on a flight and party to your heart’s content. This time was a little different. A subtle fear gripped me. If you haven’t noticed, the world’s going to hell. Tsunamis in Southeast Asia, hurricanes in New Orleans, landslides in Guatemala, earthquakes in Haiti and don’t forget the Proposition 8!

Sure, all these things happen every year, but if that’s the case, why is it affecting us more now than before? Who would want to travel at a time like this? Well, believe it or not, there’s no better time than the present.

In times like this, airlines tend to drop their prices in the hopes of luring tourists to certain destinations. For the most part, hotels follow the same regiment. So that helped me in making my decision (that and the fact Nottinghill Carnival was about to take place). So I bucked up, did my research and took the plunge. This does not mean I did not take precautions. I made sure my whereabouts were known, I walked around with ID, stayed away from crowds (as much as you can in a carnival), kept away from garbage cans and people with bags.

London Punk

Some say paranoia, I call it safety measures. I haven’t been to London since before the bomb and my friends were telling me stories of close calls recently. With this, I felt prepared for my trip–and what a trip it was.

Quick Weekend Shopping

Camden

Arriving at 2pm, there wasn’t much to do but shop, and there’s no place like Oxford Square, where you can find Shelley’s shoes, H&M (known as Hessey’s) and my favorite, Topshop. If this area doesn’t tickle your fancy, then there’s always Covenent Garden, with its numerous little boutiques of local and international designers and of course the famed Camden and Portobello Market. Just remember this is London and the exchange is a 2.0 difference. A little example: 1 pound for a bottle of pop means $2.00. Do the math.

I’m in the Nightlife

dr martens B

There’s a multitude of places to choose from for a night of debauchery, but we chose a long standing favorite of mine, Queer Nation at Substation in Brixton. I’ve been here numerous times, but this time was a little different. My 40 year old older sister (who could easily pass for 28) accompanied me.

Why would this make me nervous? Well, Substation isn’t the nicest of settings and is well known for its heavy, heavy cruising. The night started with my sister (aself-proclaimed ex-fag hag) asking why she was the only girl in the club. (By the way, let’s have a side bar. How do girls who’ve been to one gay club or have one gay friend state themselves as “fag hags”?) Anyway, back to my story.

The night went off without a hitch. Glances were thrown my way and towards my partner’s, but nothing too heavy. My sister, however, managed to get over 10 dance partners and even offers? She was not left alone for more then 10 minutes the entire night. Are we a confused people? Do we truly know what we want or do gay men have a history of loving black women? I think it stems from the disco days.

The night was a success resulting in my sister, mother of my god-daughter, staying up till a whopping 6am, which is an incredible feat for her. The night couldn’t get any better so it had to end on a bad note. Two idiots decided to go all out in a corner of the bar, which persuaded us to leave. Upon exiting, my sister along with the rest of us, was handed a huge bag of goodies containing a full size bottle of lube and a dozen condoms. Just some souvenirs of her 1st night out in 5 years.

Jump Up and Wave

Nottinghill

Getting to carnival was a little tense, as we had to take the tube. I know that as a travel writer I should be used to taking risks, but before being a traveler, I am human. I have to admit it was interesting to find how silence can be deafening. Nothing went unnoticed. People boarded bagless and stared at anyone suspicious. Most bags were left open as to ease other passengers. This is a different London–much different from the time my Japanese friend Tadafumi and I drank 2 bottles of red wine at 5am on the steps of Tottenham Court station. Much different, indeed.

London tube

London Subway

The Carnival, though smaller than the other years, was still quite a party. With over a million people in the high-end area of Notting Hill, there wasn’t a sound that wasn’t represented. From reggae/soca to house/drum & bass, it seemed the entire youth population of England descended into this quiet village within London. The problem was with the more than 4-dozen stages available, which one should we choose? By the time we settled, there was only 30minutes left. When in doubt, go with size.

Notting

We went to the Good Times stage by infamous DJ Norman Jay. We were not disappointed: 10,000 people in a dead end street managed to dance, sweat, and smile like their lives depended on it. We thought it couldn’t get better than this until he dropped “ Jump Around” by House of Pain.

Normally, I find this song way too Top 40 for me and have visions of hot drunk jocks at an Alouettes game. This was not the case. The entire makeshift dance floor of trees, benches, and sidewalks were punished by 20,000 (for the most part) feet jumping in unison. Thank god we recorded.

With the world coming to an end, just make sure to make time to dance.

Click here for more information on Nottinghill Carnival.

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