Notting Hill Carnival

London Travel Blog

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And so the afternoon rolls by and I find myself at the Notting Hill Tube station. You could tell that the area would be crowded as the District Line started getting packed as we were reaching the station. And when I reached the station - boy it was packed. So packed there were announcements that were asking people to stand behind the yellow line. I've never seen a tube station packed this much in my life. It was like a swarm of bees. I needed over 5 minutes just to take the exits and head to the escalators, let alone leave the station and head to the street.

If the Tube station was anything like this, it was easy to imagine what the rest of the road will be like - and I was amazed. Memories of Mardi Gras 2002 came flooding back to me as I could see rubbish on the streets, the smell of stale pizza and pee, and tons of people walking in all directions and without any direction! The only thing I did notice about this carnival was how many police there were.

Tons. And some on horses as well.

Apparently this Carnival is 2nd only to the Rio de Janeiro carnival. I've never been there but seen quite a bit of it on TV. But what struck me about the Notting Hill Carnival was the amazing mix of people. You could tell that unlike Mardi Gras, it wasn't just the locals but you could hear all kinds of accents, all kinds of nationalities - creed - colour - just about everything. The other thing that struck me as amusing was the fact that such a dirty messy parade was being held in Notting Hill of all places. No, I don't just think of the movie Notting Hill when I come to this area but I think of all the rich people that have addresses here. And on other occasions, I've seen the odd designer car crusiing the roads, all that replaced by dirt, pee, noisy people and rubbish thrown everywhere.

The contrast between posh buildings and noisy wanton hooligan crowd was very interesting.

I headed to the main parade. Again, I noticed how many police there were guiding people with directions, maintaining order in whichever way possible. The parade was interesting, gave me a feel of what the Rio Carnival looks like. I spent about 45 mins here and clicked all the photos you see below before I walked around the area, more noise - more music - more people  and hung around till about 6pm. The hardest part was going back to the Tube. I kept losing my way, it was unbelievably hard trying to walk on the street with all that crowd, I had to keep asking for directions and I finally did end up at the Bayswater Tube station.

I headed back to Oxford street, bought a cool pair of shoes I saw at River Island and then headed to back to catch a Tube to Victoria station, where I would then alight and go to my favourite Sri Lankan rsnt The Sakera.

 I had a veg kattu roll, it was so-so however, but cheap enough. I finished dinner by about 930pm and headed back to the hostel at 1030pm. I didn't chat much with anyone - just had a bit more Onken Yoghurt and went to bed by 1130pm.

I normally end my last night's blog with "oh as I lay in bed, I was thinking when will I visit in London again?" and I start to ramble on about the magical time I had here. Well, this time I shan't bother. I know I'm going back in October anyway!

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photo by: ulysses