By Mia Wallace
May 30, 2016
It’s our fourth day in London. Usually by this time in the other cities, I would have a general understanding of the city and what it was like to be a local. But here in London, I still feel like I’ve barely scraped the surface of this incredibly diverse and busy city. There is an entire world inside of London, making London a world in itself. People from every corner of the globe, different languages and accents floating across bustling streets,
walking down the street and smelling every possible type of food you could imagine, and every type of culture and subculture you could imagine being represented in around 600 square miles. To say I love London is an understatement. We are staying here for two weeks and at first, I honestly thought that was too much time but now that we are emerging ourselves into the city life, I’m beginning to think two weeks is too little time.
The tube is by far one of my favorite aspects of London. It’s so easy, accessible, fast and just efficient. I’ve never seen any type of transportation more reliable and available than the tube. Not to mention that it’s such an interesting social experiment in a way. Everyone uses the tube. And by everyone, I mean rich, poor, young, old, sick, healthy, black, white, straight, gay. Everyone uses it — celebrities even. I love it.Today we went on the Sock mob tour, which is also known as Unseen Tours. It’s a really great non-profit that employs homeless people from around London to give tours of certain areas of London and give their personal stories about how the areas have affected them and tell the unseen story of London through the 8,000 pairs of eyes that experience it every day (find out more here). It was one of the most interesting tours we have had so far. Our tour guide,
Mike, told us how he used to have a very stable and successful job and life but when the recession in 2008 happened, his life got turned upside down and while he is now beginning to live a more stable life, he isn’t where he used to be. There is such a stigma surrounded homelessness and being able to talk to someone who was and still trying to find a stable life at nearly 60 years of age, was eye-opening. It’s very grounding to hear how within years you can go from being successful and living a very normal life to being homeless and struggling to make enough money for food.
But one thing that he said that I found very interesting was when he was discussing how he used to work in management for the buildings that all the millionaire bank investors work in. In movies, they are always portrayed as horrible people who steal, cheat, and fight dirty to get what they want. Listening to what he said the work environment was like in those buildings, only seems to further support media’s portrayal of them. He said how many of those investment bankers who were involved in the crash are still to this day working there and getting hundred thousand dollar bonuses each year. He also said how he would see them do cocaine all the time, which just reminded me of the scene in Wolf of Wall Street with Matthew McConaughey and Leonardo DiCaprio doing a ton of cocaine while at work. So, I guess wall street investors all around the world are just as evil and gross as America’s and the ones in movies.