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Of Bubble-Princesses and Cycle Rickshaws... On Regent Street

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Continued from here and here.

Shoppers, tourists, office workers, weaving their way through cabs, cars, buses and bikes - the typical Regent Street scene. Who would imagine that bubble princesses, half out of a fairy tale and cycle-rickshaws, half out of South East Asia also ply their trade here?

Scenes from Regent Street in black and white

Scenes from Regent Street in black and white

Scenes from Regent Street in black and white

Scenes from Regent Street in black and white

Scenes from Regent Street in black and white

Scenes from Regent Street in black and white

The cabs and the bubbles on Regent Street are courtesy Hamley's - the largest toy store in the world and a popularity, arguably rivaling the Buckingham Palace in touristy circles. The cycle rickshaws or pedicabs, as they're also called, run in a few select tourist hot-spots around Soho in Central London. Mostly driven by out of work punters or students trying to make an extra buck, they're known to be pretty safe and fun. There are generally no background checks on the drivers, but I suppose you could calmly jump off if the driver tries to er...speed away with you. I personally haven't been on one in London - but have had lots of 'authentic' rickshaw experiences in India, so this is not very new to me. In comparison to India's rickshaws in fact, these ones seem ultra-safe and boring. The safety takes the edge out of a rickshaw ride - imagine one in the middle of mad traffic zipping about you, with your heart in your throat and your hair on edge, as you desperately cling to the seat, trying not to fall off the thing. Haha! There there, I assure you, the London 'pedicab' ride is nothing like that.

The bubble girl, also courtesy Hamley's, was drawing a lot of attention (and customers to Hamley's), but she seemed to have her own concerns on her mind. And then she noticed me clicking and struck a pose.

Scenes from Regent Street in black and white

Scenes from Regent Street in black and white

She was certainly bringing some cheer about her. :)

Scenes from Regent Street in black and white

And that sums up my Regent Street experience in black and white. Would love to hear how you liked it, and especially feedback on my black and white pictures.

I've noticed quite a few new subscribers and followers of this blog - a big thank you to all of you! Please introduce yourselves and let me know what you think of my work. If you prefer to stay in the background, that's alright too - I still really appreciate your support and interest. Will be back soon with more. Until then, let's collectively hope for the return of good summery weather to London!

14 comments so far:

Which main? what Cross? said...

And we are upgrading to petrol powered nanos

neha vish said...

Oh beautiful! I really want to go on a photo-walk with you! :)

Shipra Chauhan said...

the 1st picture- how she just stands there in her frothy dress and laced up shoes- beautiful!!

Flaneurbanite said...

WMWC: Sigh. What will become of us adrenaline-junkies? ;)

neha: Thanks! Soon :)

Shipra: Thanks! :)

Siddharth said...

Lovely images and commentary. Regarding the safety issue: it is not so much the safety of the passenger - as it is of the driver. It is (sadly often disregarded fact) that these rickshaw-wallahs often die young, especially of TB.

Flaneurbanite said...

Thanks Siddharth. I guess you're talking about Indian rickshaw pullers when you talk about safety concerns. Although, I'm not sure TB is in any way related to their rickshaw-pulling - it is more of a consequence of their general poverty and lack of access to health care, right? In which case, it is not limited to rickshaw pullers alone.

Manika said...

Lovely pictures Shilpa! I especially like the last one..with the couple kissing in the background. So fairly tale-y! Also loved reading your interview on the Londonist site. Do keep this up! And if I'm ever in London (wishing wishing), I know exactly who I'll call for help on places to see:-)

Chailey said...

Nice to see Regent Street again, thanks for posting these. Hamleys, the windows at Selfridges (Oxford Street) and the Christmas lights were an annual event for my brother, sister and me when we were little. As we grew older, and a little more fashion conscious, we added nearby Carnaby Street to the list.

Flaneurbanite said...

Manika: Thanks! And of course, you're most welcome to call on me for a London round-up:)

Chailey: I've been meaning to do a series on Selfridges' windows for sometime, but the crowds at Oxford Street deter me from going there too often. Regent Street is a bit less claustrophobic by comparison. Hope the redesign of Oxford Street solves that problem - when it happens, that is!

Chailey said...

I've just posted some photos of another part of London - Spitalfields - on my blog. If you've not been there, you should do. You might recognise some of the buildings I've pictured.

Re-design of Oxford Street? Eek! That sounds worrying.

jyothy karat said...

i was watching the movie 'enchanted' the other day. well, the movie isnt great, but your images of the bubble fairy amidst a modern crowd reminded me of the movie. like a visual abruption. something u dont expect to be there, but is there nevertheless. wis u had taken some wider shots of the fairy though..

(btw, i loved the look on the lone rickshaw guy's face. he seemed fixated on hamleys!)

Flaneurbanite said...

Chailey: Watch for Spitalfields on this blog - coming soon! :)

Jyothy: Thank you - she did stand out like an aberration in the middle of busy Regents Street. And for that reason she was attracting a lot of attention. There's something about bubbles that makes people stop and smile - brings out their inner childlike wonderment, I guess. I think the rickshaw guy was just as fascinated by her - or, he was just looking out for passengers as Hamley's is a tourist hotspot ...plus I think these rickshaw guys are sponsored by Hamley's.

Vaudevillian said...

this is some brilliant stuff ! I'm turning to street photography too —well if I don't keep getting done under the stupid new camera snatching laws, that is.

did you catch nick turpin a while on radio four? if not, check this out http://www.vimeo.com/4575353

Flaneurbanite said...

Thanks Vaudevillian! Yes, I saw all of Nick Turpin's videos recently:) Talks sense! If you do pick up the camera, I'd like to see the results - do share the link. :)
And thanks for dropping by!

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