We've been in in the UK for a few days now, and its nice to be back in the English speaking world, where you don't have to be guilty about only knowing how to say, thank you and good-bye. Our last day in Brugge went well, we went to the lace making center and to the old windmills on the edge of town. It was a free afternoon, with a little more shopping, some world cup excitement, and re-packing -- I have way too much stuff to even think about getting on an airplane. Joyce and I went for dinner, and I ate more meat than I have in a while -- a mixed grill with sausage, chicken, beef, lamb, and pork. It was fantastic. Joel picked us up in the coach the next moring and we were off for the chunnel. We did have one student who couldn't find his passport at the border, but as I was literally showing him the way to the train station back to Belgium to find it, it fell out of his bookbag.
The rest of the trip to London
was uneventful, including the event called lunch. Joel just kept driving until we got into the city, and literally dropped us off and hit the road, I guess he was ready to get home. Our hotel here is as David Sedaris says, seemingly designed by the firm of Cratchet, Poppins, and Pooh. Its very old school British -- lumpy mattreses, tea pots, red carpet, creaky floors all tucked into a Georgian Row House in Bayswater. It is in a great location, though, near a Boots, a Marks and Spencer, 2 tube stations, and conveniently, just next door to the Scientology Celebrity Centre of London -- maybe I will get to see Tom Cruise go in for his vitamins. It is cool in London, but somehow my room remains 15 degrees warmer than it is outside even with my giant window open.
my 2 quid breakfast
The main problem in London is that everything is expensive. Pounds are worth almost twice as much as a dollar, and they seem to be at parity when it comes to spending them. I spent many of them my first day here, I was a bit stressed from the drive here without food and the check-in process at this hotel, it is runby Malaysians with iron fists who charge for everything. I tend to shop when I am stressed. My main goal of the shopping trip was a pumice stone to remove the month of disgusting mank that had imbedded into the bottoms of my feet. I was so happy to find one at the Japanese department store Muji, and it was on sale for 10 percent off because England was playing Sweden in the World Cup that day. In honor of that event, I bought a football jersey to wear in honor of this most special of days.
there is an 80 pound fine for throwing up ont he street, I like the sign for that...
We had dinner in a pub around the corner, bangers and mash or fish and chips. The entire city was out for the game which started at 8. We finished dinner and I was into Soho by 8:30 and after queueing for about 20 minutes made it in to watch the game. I was there when England scored the second goal, it was the loudest yell of joy I think I have ever heard, the entire city was excited. Then Sweden scored in the last few seconds to tie the match -- the loudest groan of displeasure I've heard in a while, but England still advances to play Ecuador. I've learned a lot about soccer while here. Mixed drinks and beer were only 1.60 pounds where I was, I was so happy.
We have been to the National Gallery, Ben Franklin's home (apparently he left his wife in America, came over and didn't go back until after she died, even though she was getting sicker and sicker and was writing letters begging him to come home to see her -- I was a little disappointed in him,) the Tate Modern, St Paul's, and the British Museum. I also went with Colleen and Joyce to Harvey Nichols for tea on the roof yesterday, my tradition when I am in London, it was so much fun. My job is almost over. The students have their final in the morning, and I have to get them to Oxford
on Saturday at 10:30 am, other than that I am free. I get to see Ann on Saturday, we have pledged to lay around and try not to spend money.
I mailed a package home yesterday of souvenirs too big to fit in my luggage. 10 pounds worth, that cost my 60 pounds to ship -- over 100 dollars. Tonight, I am going to see Mary Poppins in the West End, its the big show in town, I am really happy. I think tomorrow, I am going to Greenwich
to stand on the Prime Meridian. I ahve not taken many pictures or done anything particularly exciting yet, as I will be back next week with Ann, and thats when I plan on doing all the fun, touristy things.