Day 2: The Long Bus Ride
I took my time getting up for my 2nd day in town. Eventually I made it 1 stop from where I was staying in Bayswater to Nottinghill Gate. Yes, I only wanted to go because I absolutely love the movie Nottinghill. I didn’t go to any of the places shown in the movie, but I managed to check out a museum, a little shopping, and lunch with a friend.
I started at the Museum of Brands. I read online that the museum was hard to find and the reviews didn’t disappoint. Even with my GPA in tow, I still walked around in circles before stopping Larry, a black man from St. Lucia. After I found the place, I took a tour of a very empty, dark, but interesting little museum. The museum was as the name suggests: a museum for brands, advertising, and marketing. The museum was divided by years such as the 1910’s, 1950’s, etc. However, there were some brands represented that have been around since the 1700’s like Guinness Stout. It was interesting to see how marketing and advertising through the years wasn’t limited to selling an item or promoting a brand, but it was also representative of the social and political climate of the time (although the museum was mainly from the British perspective). For those into marketing (which I’m not) it is interesting to see how advertising has progressed from drawings and sketches on boxes or posters to the digital age of today.
This museum also took advantage of the opportunity to talk about sustainability with the materials used in the products today, particularly the packaging. They also debunked the myth that aerosol cans are bad for the environment. According to the museum, aerosol cans no longer emit harmful fumes that are linked to leaving a hole in the ozone. Who knew?
After the museum, I walked to the famous Portobello market. Since it was a weekday the streets were not very crowded. I walked up and down the street trying to find something unique and that I would be glad I purchased. Portobello market reminds me of parts of the Village when the streets are crowded with vendors. Other than the knock-off LeSport bag I purchased, I didn’t find much that I wanted to spend my money on.
After shopping, I met a friend for lunch at a chain called Nandu. Nandu was an open and airy chicken restaurant – a chain, but not like Kentucky Fried Chicken. After catching up and having my answers questioned about British manners, being informed about the upcoming election of the prime minster, and talking about black culture, I headed towards Goldsmiths University where I have applied for Grad School. Yes. I already went to Graduate School – but I’m going again. And no – it’s not really about loving school as much as realizing what I need to do in order to be closer to doing something I’m passionate about. I will save my rants about finding and achieving passions for another blog, but back to London.
Before heading to Goldsmiths, my friend and I stop at a pub for a drink. Thereafter, I’m put off on the bus and it had to be the longest bus ride I’ve ever taken in my life. As a side bar, the buses are all double-decker buses and extremely nice. At this point, I realize that my shoes are in fact not sensible and my feet are killing me.
I got to Goldsmiths an hour later than expected and meet with the head of the department. We had a very interesting conversation which ranged from talking about the death of Socrates, healthcare in America, the program, and politics in the U.K. I will admit, I did most of the listening. The professor was undoubtedly brilliant.
I left Goldsmiths, which is located in New Cross (South East London) and headed towards Central London where I was late for happy hour. I met three young ladies who were part of the Goldman Sachs fellows program. I don’t recall the specifics nor do I know the exact name of the program, but the purpose of the program is to recruit and engage minorities in the investment world. Having worked in the investment/banking/finance field for 10 years, I can confirm that not only are African Americans underrepresented, but women are also underrepresented. After enjoying a glass a Champaign and great conversation, I headed back to my hotel in the rain where I ordered pizza from Pizza hut and crashed while watching Napoleon Dynamite on 1 of the 4 stations that my TV provided.
What can I say? My 2nd day was not “touristy”. Other than a picture of the outside of the museum, I didn’t take any other pictures. My 2nd day was really about business. I almost felt like a Londoner – ok not really. I still can’t figure out the currency here. The biggest coin is worth the least amount of money. How does that work really?