England Life Stories

The London Diaries: Day Two

london day 2

I woke up at 12:30pm. I know, I know.

It’s partly because I’m still accustomed to eight hours behind on LA time…and partly because I was out till 6am.

When I did finally get up, I did something that was so very Damon and wasted time going from café to café because each one wasn’t “good” enough. In order to avoid this, I had yelped and bookmarked a few nice cafés from my hostel bed dorm, as housekeeping ran the vacuum and probably shaded me for still being bed. I mean it’s already bad enough that I came home at 6am and passed the same lady who checked me in. No shade from her though; she told me I shouldn’t pay for the extra 4 pounds for the hostel breakfast in case I wanted to party with drugs and strippers. Neither of those happened (nor would they?), but somehow I still came home that late. Let’s blame London’s public transportation (lmao…that got me home in like 13 minutes).

So back to breakfast. Hm. Let me be really extra and difficult here.

Lemme try The Blue Corner? Nope. Kitchen’s closed. I’m hungry and not going to settle for a bran muffin.

Ok, lemme try L’Elysée? Nope. Loud and busy. No way I can pop open my laptop when there are people wanting to sit down.

The Gate: Hammersmith? Nope. Y’all asking way too much for a leafy green salad.

Antipode? Too small. No plugs.

Truth? Ok, finally. Coffee, juice, breakfast, vegetarian, WiFi, air flow. I sit down and I order a Veggie Breakfast, but only after asking what halloumi was. Squeaky cheese, for all of you who didn’t know. They bring me a dish with sausage and chicken breast, which I almost dove into thinking it was “vegetarian” meat. “Excuse me, is this the Veggie Breakfast?” It wasn’t.

truth london café

When getting the bill, I was confused if I should leave a tip or not. Do you do that in the UK? Please tweet at us and let us know the tipping culture in your country.

All was good at Truth, but what could be more Damon than going to another café even after you’ve found one that’s perfect?

Going to another one.

Most people would have gotten annoyed by me from the above, and believe me, I would have too, but that’s the point of traveling solo. I can do that, cuz I’m on my own schedule. Being really needy in my coffee shop selection also allowed me to see more of London by hopping on a double decker and going from Kensington to Hammersmith to SoHo.

And now I’m in SoHo – basically London’s center, or “centre,” as they say here. I settle in at TAP Coffee, where I have an odd interaction with the cashier. “I’m assuming this is where I order?” “Yeah, you’ve got a cash register in front of you, don’t you?” BIH. He then asked me if “I’m OK.” As I mentioned yesterday, I’m taken aback cuz in the States asking if someone is OK implies that they look upset. I pay for my flat white, but I’m confused if I need to tip or not. Upon potential confrontation, I’m prepared to say “I’m not from here.”

Which really doesn’t make much sense, since I’m American where we tip everyone for everything. 

tap coffee london soho

rawligion açai london

A few hours later, I’m in the mood for some Brazilian food, so I stop into Preto and speak in Portuguese to the workers. They only have rice and beans with pork, and I’m not about to pay £15 for rice. I should have known; it’s a churrascaria. I go for some açai instead.

The girl at the counter at Rawligion convinced me to add in some “gRAWnola” because it’s the house specialty. When she gave me my bill, it was £1 extra. 1) Since when is granola extra in an açai bowl, and 2) tell your customers if you’re charging them extra for something they didn’t even ask for. It was nothing special, by the way, but the whole scenario made me wonder about something a European once said to me,

I wonder why people are so committed to their employer, when there’s not much in it for them.

She’s not earning commission on me buying granola, so why is she so adamant about upselling? On a totally random note, that açai shop also sold weed milkshakes. The sign outside claimed “only the good stuff.”

I found myself going out later that night, leaving the hostel at 10:30pm. The thing about London is that 75% of bars close at 11pm. Yes, 11pm. And only a select few bars/clubs stay open until 3-6am, which then results in always going to the same place, and always standing in a super long line so the club “looks good.” My friends and I go to the same place we went last night, but the only difference was that I kind of left them to go dance on the hip hop floor.

Who’s trying to dance to Katy Perry’s Firework when you could be dancing to Sisqo’s The Thong Song?

After some more solo dancing to JLO, Ja Rule, and Jay-Z, a Caribbean man and woman comes up to me and says, “I can tell you like this kind of music, because of the way you dress.” Still trying to figure out what that means exactly, but I’ll take it.

As I was leaving, a group of British-Brazilians came up to me and asked, “What’s your name?” and when I said “Damon” they admitted they watched our YouTube channel. Aw.

I left the club to find the 94 bus and when I turned down the street to see it waiting, I ran.

I ran.

And I ran.

Just for the 94 bus to DRIVE AWAY AS SOON AS I PULLED UP.

Gotta love these diaries of London.

 

 

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  • Sit down restaurants, yes you need to tip. But cafes or coffee shops nah. English people tend to tip 10% of the total bill.
    There’s a place called The Attendant which does nice brunch/coffee, it’s small and underground (literally) and also kinda pricey. But paying £13 for breakfast is just the London experience 😂

  • Although it isn’t expected, a tip is always appreciated. I worked in the service industry and overheard so many Americans saying they didn’t have to tip because we were paid well. I was a manager and earned £6.50 an hour. So yes, you should tip, but only if the service is good. Even if it’s just 50p!

  • dosssse

    Y’all hiring a copy editor? xoxo

  • Kiki

    Generally to cheap to give out tips on a regular. I would never do it in London (I live in the second city which is way cheaper) myself unless it was spectacular and above and beyond. In regards to the ‘Are you okay?’ etc etc. that is just a standard British thing. On rare occasions you may have just resting bitch face so it may be why? 😅

  • Elliot

    I’ve always found the “You Okay” thing just weird. Same as when in the US people say “How are you”… Like are you legitimately asking, or is it a formality. Some occasions I have half the mind to respond with “No, my dog just died”. 😀

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