I want to clarify something from yesterday:
My mom saved my tiny hiney. If it weren’t for her, there’s no saying when I would next be able to buy food, pay rent, or anything. She swooped in and saved the day. She ran around all morning yesterday trying to help me, and between her and our dear dear friend Jane, really took care of me. Thank you, Mom and Jane! I love you & I owe you one.
So today, with 15 cents in my pocket (pence, whatever) I set out to see Brighton again. My goal today was to find the ocean, but you know, get to know the city a little bit on the way. It’s beautiful here and everything looks so different. It was also funny to see how excited everyone was about the snow. If you haven’t gotten this yet, it really really does not snow very often here. There are some very impressive churches around, and I realized pretty quickly that I won’t be able to take pictures of all of them. It seems like you run into one just like this about every two blocks:
I walked many, many blocks. I started to question whether or not I was going in the right direction. I knew that the beach was one way, and the city center was the other. Now, my plan was to spend today on the beach and tomorrow in the city–but if I’d gotten them mixed up it would still have been a good day, and I’d just go the opposite route next time. The city started becoming more dense and busy, when suddenly I come upon this amazing structure and am not even sure of what country I’m in anymore.
Okay, so I did have some idea that I was still in England. I’d seen a few photos of this before I came. However, it was still nothing like I expected, and I’m sure my pictures don’t do it any more justice than all the other pictures out there. It’s called the Brighton Royal Pavilion, and it’s worth a google image search, and you’ll see why I always pictured it to be rather cheesy and Disney-ish. Al & Alice told me the story when I got home. Apparently, an old British prince who loved to travel decided to build it after he returned from a trip to India. This isn’t some modern day, shortcut-ridden replica. This is an enormous complex surrounding a massive park you can walk through. It’s impressive, and startling to come across in the middle of a very standard British town.
On the other side of the Royal Pavilion, you’ll find the lanes. This is the shopping district, which seems like an artsier version of the plaza. Unfortunately, all of their clothes are AMAZING. And their shoes. And everything is on sale right now to make room for spring stock coming in. It was funny–I was looking at gloves in one store, because my hands were freezing, and the sales girl comes over to tell me that they were made by the same company who made the Queen’s gloves for her coronation. You don’t hear about that too much in the States!
After wandering around the lanes for a spell and stopping in a myriad of shops (just to warm up! oh, I’m in trouble) I decide to give up on the ocean for the day. I’ve clearly gone in the wrong direction, and seagulls are everywhere in this town. But then, as I turn back, I notice the top of a Ferris wheel peaking out over the rooftops. Having made it that far already, I decided I might as well have a look before I turn back. And I’m quite glad I did. The ferris wheel was practically on the beach, and next to it–Brighton Pier.
I walked as far out as I could onto the pier–the second half was closed off, probably for the season. There was an arcade, lots of small souvenir and snack shopes, and a few odds and ends. I found this welcome little reminder of home, although I cannot even begin to guess why it was there…
I had a nice stranger take a picture of me, although at that point I’d been out in the cold for several hours. It was at that time that a lady stopped me and asked me whether I worked at the cabaret, because I have a nice face.
After this I wandered down to the beach itself. Not the kind of place you have to worry about getting sand in your shoes and everywhere else, which makes me particularly happy.
It was getting colder by this point. At about 3 in the afternoon, the sun had started to go down. It would be completely dark by 4:30. I’d also been out long enough to get quite chilled even through my coat and boots. The walk back was a long one because of all this, and since I am currently penniless, I couldn’t stop in anywhere to have a bite or a tea and warm up. I did locate what Alec recommended as the best fish n’ chips in town, a place right by the pier, so I’m sure I’ll be back on Wednesday. I can’t wait to try real English fish n’ chips. Today was quite a success.