London is a great city for experiencing almost everything and we have to thank its incredible amount of diversity for that. Big cities like Paris, Berlin, New York and London are hard to imagine without the influence of migrants, who came from far away and brought their culture with them.
In my last trip to London, I was running from meeting to meeting, but I had some free time to visit some new places. I wanted to watch a West End musical (of course, Wicked! is my favorite, but I decided to see something new) and one I ended up going with was Miss Saigon, currently playing at the Prince Edward Theater.
The musical has a plot similar to the one of Puccini’s Madame Butterfly. It tells the story of a Vietnamese girl who falls in love with an American soldier during the times of the Vietnam war. I thought it was interesting to see a modern version of the story (after watching the trailer in YouTube) and I was curious about how Vietnam would be portrayed in the play, considering it’s a country that I know relatively well. (I spent a month in Vietnam visiting family and backpacking back in 2011).
The musical, as expected, was honestly great. And there was a scene, right in the middle of the play… It was during a moment when people are trying to escape Vietnam, storming the USA Embassy. Screams and emotions and people with dreams trying to leave the country. To be free. Typical me, I cried, of course. Disregarding politics, I think freedom is an ideal we all have. The scene reminded me of a story I heard recently in Prague. The story of the East Germans who tried to escape the USSR and sought refuge in the West German embassy in Prague. The scene also reminded me of other conflicts that force people to move and go away, from Palestine to México. It was a deeply moving scene, and quite cinematic too.
After the play, I visited London’s Chinatown for a late dinner. London’s Chinatown is fairly recognizable. It’s in the middle of the city where everything is different, from the Chinese newspapers to the facades of the buildings. This is what diversity adds to a city. It’s not just the culture and the people, it’s also the scenery. London’s Chinatown is just a couple of blocks away from the gay area of London (hellooo Soho!), separated only by Shaftesbury Avenue (yes, the one of the Harry Potter movies).
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It’s so difficult to imagine London without this Asian influence (not only China and Vietnam, but even India) just as it would be to imagine Berlin without its Turkish influences. If you want to see just a sample of London’s incredible diversity (and maybe also taste some of it), then the only thing you have to do is to walk around Brick Lane on a Sunday, during the market. Choices are innumerable. Everything I sampled when visiting last month was not only delicious but also affordable. There were Argentinian empanadas, food from Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cuba, Japan, Jamaica and even Germany. And that’s just what I nibbled on and shared for lunch; there was so much more!
For me, it’s really hard to think about a world without migration and without this type of cultural influence. I really don’t understand those people who oppose immigration based on economic principles, especially considering their facts are probably wrong. While in London this November, the TV and the newspapers seemed to be plastered with stories about the side effects of European migration to the United Kingdom. But everywhere in the city, it was clearly visible that there are people from every single country in London. Working, making things happen and sharing their cultures and their stories.
I’ve always loved London because I feel it’s one of the more diverse cities of the world. Certainly more diverse than Berlin. You see it the streets, the faces, the languages, the clothes. Foreigners add so much to their countries. Why are some people unable to see this? I think the world should be like a huge Brick Lane; one where everyone is different and welcomed, no matter where you come from or who you are. I love that experience of difference and diversity. I mean, we travel because of that, no?
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Plan your Stay in London
If you’re interested in staying in central London, the Holiday Inn Regents Park is located a short distance to London’s Chinatown and West End theater district. For those interested in staying close to London’s best museums in South Kensington, try the Holiday Inn Kensington Forum.
Disclosure: This article was written by myself and all views are my own. Please get in touch if you have questions about the advertising on travelsofadam.com.
I wish the the world was like a huge Brick Lane too, that would make me so happy. Great post Adam and I’m totally with you on the immigration matter, sometimes people don’t realize how richer and diverse these people make their own country and how boring it would be without them :)
London is one of the more cosmopolitan cities in the world … I always find something new to do whenever I’m there!
So true Kyle! I don’t think I would ever get bored of London
Aww thank you Franca!
This is a wonderful example of how Asian cultures can influence cities around the world! Check out an article in our upcoming Winter 2015 issue that shows how Chinese New Year has influenced countries around the world.
Sounds interesting – hope to see it when you publish!
beautiful night in london .. so , I want to go to there
This part of London can be really beautiful – especially with all the diversity
Love the Indian influence in London … you can never go far without finding a good curry there!
Hi Adam, my love.
Yet another amazing piece. I really love how you have written out, what you feel in your heart as fact. And I agree with all the points you have mentioned. I recently wrote a post on something similar as I am sure you have seen, and I think it is an amazing thing, when people start talking about “taboo” subjects, and tackling the topics, everyone wants to sweep under the carpet.
Freedom is something we all crave, whether it is within our passions, dreams, ambitions, careers, relationships, freedom forms itself in many different variants, especially when it comes to the Human Species, as does discrimination, and there is far to much of that in this world as is, and no need for any extra.
I think where you said that” people have this idea, that unless it benefits one politically it does not hold any benefit at all”? I believe this actually causes us to suffer on a larger scale, as it means we have no input, no outer view, no boxes to break out of.
So well done again, and keep talking, keep living, keep breathing.
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