Last weekend, I explored Brick Lane Market. It was a long alleyway full of bright colors, delicious smells, and antique shops. It made me think of a festival we had back home in Minnesota known as the Festival of Nations. It’s a festival that celebrates cultures from all over the world with food stands, shopping booths, art, activities, and performances. Brick Lane Market has that kind of atmosphere every day, and from what I’ve observed, is pretty representative of the diversity in London.
While walking through the market, I saw a line that extended out the doorway to the Beigel Shop, where the famous rainbow bagels are sold. I put it instantly on my “to-do” list and continued walking to explore more. I was hungry for more than just bagels, so I followed my nose towards the appealing smells. I wanted to eat all the food. It all looked and smelled amazing. There was food from Nigeria, India, Mexico, China, Italy, France, Sweden, and so many others. Since I hadn’t tried any curry here yet, I decided to get some good Indian food. I also ate an empanada. Then I saw them making pineapple juice in a pineapple, so I had to get that. My stomach was full, but I had already decided I will be back.
The food wasn’t all that was amazing. They had these really cool antique shops full of old records, posters, china, and a mixture of little gifts. There were also regular little shopping booths, where you can buy jewelry, clothes, and other assorted knick-knacks. The other great part of Brick Lane was the street performers. I saw a black man singing reggae a few feet from another man dressed as Jimi Hendrix, who was also a few feet from an Asian man singing R&B and pops songs. Yes, you can see street performers all over London, especially in the underground, but it only amplified the diversity of this market.
Finally, I got in line to get a rainbow bagel. It seemed fitting given the diversity of the market to eat a bagel that was as colorful as the population of London. It was also delicious. However, this brings me to my next point: Brexit. For such an international city, it surprises me to see the xenophobic rhetoric surrounding the Brexit campaign that could rival the United States. Of course, like anywhere in the world, there is prejudice and racism here, but I always saw England as more tolerant of their minorities than the states. With a strong possibility of economic recession and major immigration reform, my only question is: what will Brexit do to London’s diversity? Only time will tell.
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<p>My name is Analise Ober, and I am a junior at University of Puget Sound studying Sociology and English. I am from Minnesota and enjoy hockey, being on the lake, and (of course!) writing. This is my first trip to London, and I hope to experience a lot here and can’t wait to share it with you. </p>