So I arrived safely in London. I can’t believe I only arrived this morning. It’s been a crazy day. This city is wild. I just got back to the hostel, it’s 10 pm and the streets are packed with pedestrians, and I’m not in a clubbing district or anything. Ah, European culture.
I had written periodic updates on my laptop during the flight over, but I never found wireless access, so I’ll summarize it here.
I needed to use the SE Lounge as a base camp for moving my luggage from home to school. I definitely brought too much stuff, but I am here for 4 months and I’m stuck with it now.
I had 5 hours to kill at Pearson, which was filled with talking to friends and family in Winnipeg, watching Coyote Ugly on my laptop, and using all my letftover Canadian currency to buy as much maple syrup as a I possible (I think it will be a perfect Christmas present for my gracious hosts here).
The flight over was uneventful. I tried to sleep, but only managed to get 4 hours of sporadic sleep. I even had 2 seats to myself, 2 pillows, and 2 blankets (not sure why I’m always lucky with that).
When I went through immigration in the UK, the lady grilled me a bit about my work visa. Made it clear that it was meant to be a means to earn money while I traveled and not for furthering my career. I just smiled and nodded. I mean, even if I worked in a pub, wouldn’t it further my career? What if a pub manager was my career goal?
After the airport, I got a Underground pass and rode into town. I had lots of fun riding subways and buses today. I missed my first subway when I tried to transfer lines. The subway came in, I tried to run to the front where I noticed it was empty, and as I turned to pick up my suitcase, the doors closed and it zoomed away. Later in the day, I jumped on the wrong train (not realizing that multiple lines used the same platform). When I tried riding the bus, I stood waiting on the wrong side of the road for the bus, then watched my bus zoom by, confused as it was on the opposite side from me. Then when I finally got on a bus, I was totally confused by the driver on the wrong side of the bus and sitting behind a big plexi-glass screen. I couldn’t figure out how to show her my ticket and she got mad at me. I just laughed and sat down.
I visited the house with the attic roomshare today. Tricia and her husband John are really cool. I spent 3 1/2 hours over there this afternoon chatting with them and the students living there. It’s a like a big family. The 5 students there right now are from New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, and Alberta. The Alberta girl and the NZ guy are leaving in the next few weeks. One of the Australia girls is leaving soon too. But I think an Ausia and NZ girl are looking at the place too. I think I’m going to move in next Tuesday when a spot opens up. I just need to tough it out in hostels until then. I got along really well with everyone. I chatted with John about cricket and baseball differences, London, and cryptography (when I’m done Cryptonomicon we’re going to swap books). Tricia is really nice., like a mother to the people living there (some of which have been there for over 2 years). And I sat and watched some cricket on tv and part of East Enders with the students upstairs. I even had my first cup of British tea. When I got there Tricia offered me a cup, and I couldn’t refuse. I even liked it – better than the latte in Seattle at least.
I did a bit of touring today. I walked around Westminster for an hour before I went down to visit Tricia. There are so many old, cool buildings down there. I saw the outside of Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Parliament, and a lot of other cool looking buildings. Tomorrow maybe I’ll get to see some more.
P.S. I love how Horde’s language setting now defaults to English – GB. So cool. and the keyboard I’m using has a pound and euro symbol on the number line.