Well, we’re down to the wire. I’ve only got nine days left (out of my 99 total) before I fly back to Seattle. That means I really only have 8 days left to enjoy London; I won’t be doing anything on the second other than getting up and going to the airport. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I can’t BELIEVE how fast the time has gone! I feel like I just got here, and yet it’s already time to leave! I’ve gotten the bulk of what I needed to get done for school out of the way, so I’ll have most of this next week to enjoy myself and get all those last things checked off of my to do list.
Today was my big shopping day on Oxford Street. I’ve been planning this for ages; even though (as you all know by now) I’m on a budget, I figured I should take advantage of the fact of the reasonably priced stuff that fits me better than most of what I find back home and add a few nicer pieces to my wardrobe. I also spent only a fraction of the clothes budget I set for myself before I left, leaving a little something to shop with here. You can find high streets and shopping districts all over London (just about every neighborhood, borough, and outlying town is going to have something), Oxford Street seemed like an idea choice for me. It has all the stores I’ve grown to like and then some!
I rode the Tube to the Marble Arch station; that’s as far down Oxford Street as you can get and still be on Oxford Street. My plan was to walk up one side of the street and down the other, finishing up back at Marble Arch. That’s exactly what I did, and as any good travel adventure should be, it was a learning experience. I learned that Oxford Street is a bit….repetitive. The street isn’t all THAT long, but a good chunk of the stores have more than one location. Some even have three (Next and Dorothy Perkins, I’m looking at you). If that’s not enough for you, just head down Regent Street for more of the same (it crosses Oxford Street at Oxford Circus). I’ll admit it: I went into multiple locations of the same store. 🙂 I was afraid that one would have something that the others didn’t and that I’d miss out! Needless to say….that wasn’t the case. 😛 I also learned that I’m NOT an all-day shopper; I was pretty much done by the time I got finished with one side of the street. Since I hate not finishing things that I start, I kept going.
I was surprised at how crowded Oxford Street was, considering the fact that it wasn’t even a weekend. By the time early afternoon rolled around, it was hard to get around at anything resembling a reasonable speed. Part of it is the fact that schools are on vacation this week, which meant dealing with packs of teenagers in some of the shops who seemed to feel that they were entitled to block aisles, shelves, etc. It got really annoying trying to work around them. Does the fact that teenagers annoy me mean that I’m getting old? If so, I’d better pick out my cane and sign up for AARP. At any rate, trying to shop at Primark was an experience in and of itself. I wrote briefly about them in my shopping blog from from awhile back; cheap stuff, big stores, very Old Navy-esque. Today, though….oh, my lord. I’ve never seen a store so crowded! The line to get into the dressing rooms stretched halfway through the store, and the place looked like some sort of natural disaster had just been through. There were messy piles of shirts and sweaters on display tables, and people had even untied the ribbons from gift sets of pajamas to get a better look at them. I don’t blame the store; I’ve worked in retail, and I well know what kind of a mess customers can make. Primark still gets the prize for least pleasant place to shop when it’s crowded, though. There’s so much to look at in the first place that it’s almost over whelming, and when you have to fight through hordes of people and dig through stacks of unfolded stuff, it just isn’t worth it.
So…with all that, did I buy anything? Did my big shopping result in serious wardrobe additions? Nope. I bought a total of one very nice, very sensible, very inexpensive black button down shirt. I can wear it with anything, which the bargain hunter in me likes very much, and when I add that to the (very small) pile of other things I’ve picked up during my trip, I think my London wardrobe is as big as it’s going to get. 🙂