AJ Akinribade ‘15 – So about that flight in … smooth and easy! Comfort was the name of the game. American Airways had music and movies to my fashion, great food and beverages catered, and awesome service. My first experience on an international flight was a pleasure!

We arrived in London to a cool, calm, and breezy day! For a major city everything seemed polished. The streets were clear of litter, the cars were fancy (the old fashioned English cabbies caught my attention early), and the people were beautiful. Everybody seemed well put together here — comparable to New York City.

We dropped our bags off at the International Hostel and off exploring we went. Our first stop was Speakers Corner. At the Corner people got on their soap boxes and passionately argued their displeasures to any crowd who was willing to listen. One Islamic man tried to use the Quran to deconstruct the Bible and Christianity. Many argued against him rather than sit there and listen. A sub-group of young people formed and engaged in debate over issues of the controversial Racial Contract. Another group of men shared their very sexist views on women in society. The most interesting speaker of them all was the cynical man with a megaphone — not allowed. He was simply there to tell everyone to relax, meditate, and laugh. He kept reminding everyone that what they’re really mad about is usually not the root of their anger. Although he was weird, his sort of optimistic angle at life was different; it was a breath of fresh air at the Corner.

Our next stop was the memorial to war animals where Junior (AJ Clark) gave a nice presentation on the topic in novel, stage, and film depictions. We took pictures and paid homage to the animals by talking Junior out of harassing the pigeons. We also caught the attention of a few London pedestrians who clearly knew we were from the States. We went on to explore Hyde Park and navigated the Oyster a little bit (London’s subway train). We also stopped in a basilica/cathedral and listened to an organ recital. Very soothing. We then dined a little and appreciated the diverse culture within a nice London restaurant.

This was my first time (that I can account for) across the pond and day one in London was a success!