A not so incredible journey

After torrential rain and an unexplained car breakdown I’ve finally moved out of my house in Davis. In less than 24 hours (if you ignore the massive time change) I’ll be in London. A few hours after that, I’ll be at my flat.

I always worry too much and today was no exception. I left behind one of my good jackets, a nice pair of internship shoes and my towel, so that my bag would be under 70 lbs and accepted as overweight luggage. Come to find out at the airport that my bag wasn’t even overweight. Now I’m lamenting the loss of my one towel while planning an outing to Sainsbury’s. I’m assuming they’ll have towels, but I’m probably wrong. I am about most things.

I’m still not sure exactly how I’m getting to my flat. I have three options.

1: Pay five quid and try to blindly navigate the underground and bus systems with an enormous orange bag. Can you say walking target for pickpockets? Nothing screams tourist like someone with neon luggage looking nonplussed on the train.

2: Pay for a cab. It’ll probably cost around 50 quid, or a cool $100. Not to mention the only time I’ve ever taken a cab was from downtown Davis to South Davis, which is all of a 30 minute walk.

3: Try to get on Sky Shuttle, the equivalent of Cloud Nine. It’s mid-range price wise, pretty idiot proof, but generally requires a reservation which I wasn’t able to get yet.

So, in summary, I’ll wing it. Probably going to go for Sky Shuttle and if they can’t accommodate me I’ll probably toss a coin to choose between the other two.

But I’m glad to have things to worry about so I won’t get homesick. It’s probably going to be more of a problem when I’ll only have 4 hours of Internet access per week. I’m going to shrivel like a lawn in the desert.

In other news I love those of you that I know, those of you that I don’t and I wish all of you well.


Every Englishman’s Home is his Castle

I’ve been to a good deal of castles in my time here. Mainly because Britain has tons of them, and because when I’m inside them I feel this inspiration and connection to history that I love. For the most part I’ve gone to see them alone, because it’s a sort of spiritual experience for me. The deep voice of the audio tour guide, is like God booming down his commandments in the old brick and stone walls that are my Cathedral, and are often actual cathedrals anyway. The gift shops are my heaven, the novelty quills, tiny iron knights and old timey goblets, my archangels.

Read More

Olympic Visions, Canal Dreams

On a gloomy, blustery day – better known as perfect English weather – I decided I would walk the two hours along the Regent’s canal from my flat to the Stratford Olympic park. I didn’t have an exact idea of how to get there, but a Barclay’s bike map told me if I went along the Canal’s jubilee walk, I’d hit it eventually. (I would later return during a week of unrelenting sun to brave biking the canal with a rented Barclay’s bike. An event that caused more fear of falling in the canal, than pleasure at seeing it.) Since the canal itself was beautiful, with its numerous weird, wacky and flamboyant boats, I didn’t mind the long walk. I had just watched The Bot that Guy Built and learned a bit about canal boat history, knowledge which was even more gratifying when faced with the real smokestacks and castle or rose painted shutters. I looked at the numerous boat-roof gardens and imagined living in the cramped but cozy interiors, like the woman who was selling cupcakes out of her ship. I listened to Stephen Fry read Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, as I dodged around joggers and bikes on the narrow path. The waterfront buildings were beautiful and varied, overlooking the lock strewn waters and the occasional swan.

Read More

My Apology Song

I’ve been terrible about keeping my blog up to date. But in my defense, at first I had nothing to write about, and then I had far too much to write about. So, I’ll just to a (relatively) brief recap of my roughish adventures.

My tale begins with my pocketbook. As I said before, I’ve been waiting for my long term debit card to reach me after my temporary one expired. In the meantime I activated my card that charges huge fees for me to use it, especially when I get cash, which is the preferred form of payment at most places. Tired of pinching my pennies and doing nothing but free museums and outdoor walks, I decided to just bite the bullet and get tickets for everything I wanted to do before I left. I thought that I’d just do what I wanted, and give up food to make it work, which is better in theory than practice.

So after I had booked (cheap) tickets to a palace, a ballet, a comedy show and a musical, I came to the harsh realization that I couldn’t afford to buy bread. So I had to ask my mom for money to tide me over until my card came. Since then all of these marvelous things happened:

  • Hampton Court Palace
  • Walk to Shoreditch and Stratford Olympic park
  • Comedy at SOHO theatre
  • Edinburg and Castle
  • Imperial War museum
  • SWATH premier
  • One Man, Two Guvnors
  • This means war! At the Hen and Chickens Theatre
  • Wednesday….
  • Rock of Ages?
  • John’s going away dinner drinks
  • Stratford Upon Avon

Stairway to Heaven

Today, at eight am (heaven help me) we took the tube to CAPA for our culture class, which was on Terror today. We usually meet at tube stops, since the class is essentially one big, extremely educational fieldtrip. But today we had a short lecture before we took the tube to St. Paul’s Cathedral. Our teacher, who’s by far the most interesting teacher we have here, lectured on the many types of catastrophes London’s faced over the years. He started with a history of the great fire of 1666 (note the triple 6’s in the year, it was one hell of a year for London, pun intended), which killed the rats from the great plague of the same year. The story he told was terrific and complex, but basically it ruined most of London, including burning down old St. Paul’s Cathedral. Charles II, the monarch restored to the throne after England, and Oliver Cromwell’s, experiment with a monarch-free commonwealth, saved the city from the fire and it’s inept governor by blowing up several key houses to make the fire breaks that eventually starved the flames.

Read More