This is a lesson in knowing yourself, your interests, your boundaries. There are many, many things I’m game for and comfortable with – I can be flexible, I promise! – but I was not prepared for the Twilight-Zone-esque experience that was Harrods, a department store in London.
Originally the plan was to get Indian food and chill for a while until we had to meet the whole group at St. Paul’s that evening. But I succumbed to peer pressure when everyone wanted to check out Harrods. Most of us were starving, but there was a restaurant on every floor, they assured us!
A summary: I touched a plain bathrobe that cost£2300. I felt gnarly and underdressed. We wandered around and around, up and down escalators, never finding food. We finally found a pizza place with a mile long line. A pizza chef sang opera. We gave up on that. We got Hangry. We found an ice cream parlor in which we were the only diners over the age of twelve and one of us only ordered beer. I had a scoop of vanilla ice cream for £10. I wanted to leave from the moment I walked in to the moment I got to.
It was a surreal level of over-the-top; so crowded, so much sensory overload, so extravagant. And this was after spending the morning at Camden Markets — a Portland Saturday Market vibe; much more my speed; every vendor had something for under £20. The contrast was stark and appalling. I felt so uncomfortable in the presence of such excess I didn’t know what to do with my body – maybe it was some kind of ethical dilemma or maybe it just went against my grungy earthy Oregonian upbringing on such a cellular level. At any rate, I got out, and we got our Indian dinner, and I am never going back!