Well, I had hoped to update this blog on a more regular basis and will keep trying to do so, but the English are a bit stingy with their Internet and honestly, I have just been too busy. I have been busy because there is just so much to see and do here. It is great!
I got to Heathrow with no hassles until I had to go through Customs. As I was standing in line waiting for my turn, I noticed everyone was breezing through with no problems and figured it would be the same for me. Well, a trip to the ATM with the customs agent and a half hour interrogation later they finally let me into the country. He asked me so many random questions that had nothing to with anything relevent. At one point I was 100 percent sure I was not getting in, right after he said “I am not sure I can let you in the country”. I think he was hoping I would just give up, say “fuck it” and get on the first plane back to America. He told me there are three things you need to get into this country, travel plans home (didn’t have it), proof of funds ( it wouldn’t show my balance when I took an ATM for the customs dude, so I didn’t have this either) and an idea of what you planned to do while in the country (apparently my plan to see the sights and hang out in London wasn’t good enough for him, so I didn’t have that either). I was 0 for 3. Then unexpectedly, out of the blue he stamps my passport and tells me to have a good trip. I guess we reached the fuck with tourists 30 minute time limit. Needless to say I was pretty pumped to have made it through!
At this point I was on zero sleep and a bit frazzled from my near miss deportation. Thank god my bag was still going around and around at the baggage claim. Got on the tube, took the 30 minute ride to Central London, walked out of the tube station and was blown away by how busy it was! I guess I should have expected this, but it was shocking for a second. Maybe it was just my exhausted frazzled state. I had no trouble finding the hostel after that, thanks to Google Earth (I had already made the same walk on the internet. Google Earth is amazing!) Once I had gotten myself organized in my room, the exhaustion disappeared. It was sunny and 65 and I couldn’t wait to get out into the city and check everything out. I grabbed my daypack and just took off walking with no real plan on where I was going.
Since I arrived it has been non stop walking, tubing it up and taking in the city. The weather had been perfect until the rain started last night. I won’t bore with the details, but I have seen most of the big sights in London. My favorite?? Probably the view of Parliament from the Westminster bridge at night.
Again, I won’t bore you with details (the details being many beers, miles of walking, a two-hour train ride, no sleep, rain and a Kebab) but I am in NW England right now writing this blog in the Computer lab at University of Central Lancashire Library in Preston. Tomorrow I am going to try to relax a bit. I haven’t done that at all yet. In three days I will be in Paris, then Italy. That will be an adventure so I need to chill out for a day!
Some random observations:
– Pedestrians definitely DO NOT have any right of way in London. You will get run over if you jump out expecting a car to stop like they do in Bend.
– Apparently every girl in Central London is required to wear a skirt with black tights and hooker boots. I’m not complaining.
– The coolest building in Portland or Seattle would just seem run of the mill mediocre here in London.
– Although biased, the beer here cannot compare to what we get in Oregon. I’m not complaining as I love trying all this new beer, but it is just not the same and not what I’m used to. That is why I am here though, to try new stuff, so it is English Cask beer for me until I leave.
– not tipping for drinks seems weird and I feel like a cheap ass every time I don’t tip. I have been watching to see if anyone ever tips and have yet to see it happen.
– I wish that our politicians would openly mock the opposition to their face like the guy in the House of Commons did the other day. Pretty funny!
– Westminster Abbey was worth the £15 to get in. So cool!
– I love the groups of school children in their Harry Potter-esque school uniforms and thier accents. The whole everyone has an accent thing is not that big a deal, but for some reason I love listening to little kids with their accents.
– ok, thats enough…..i’ll try and update again soon!