Day 2: Sleep? I think not!

London Travel Blog

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The Tower of London
Customs was "fun." We stood in a very long line to have some guy stamp my passport and yell, "NEXT!" It was very uneventful. He didn't even put the stamp on the first page. I have to search for it to find it. I also discovered the horror of public loos. While in London, I was able to find the occasional decent one, but never before have I ever seen so many seats covered in piss.

We got on a bus to head from Gatwick Airport to our hotel in London. It was about an hour and a half drive, but we were so excited, the time just flew by. There were a few reasons for our excitement: We were in England. How cool is that? Most of us had never been to Europe before (we're all sixteen or seventeen, so not much opportunity to travel), so to see the green hills of England was really amazing for us.
Tower Bridge


And...green...

You must understand, we're a group of kids from Arizona. What does it look like here? It's brown. You'll see the occasionally bit of brush or cactus, and that's the extent of the fauna here. The pastures were incredibly exciting. It's the type of scenery we had only ever seen in movies. And there were sheep--sheep in the fields!!! We usually see javelina or horses or cows. Nestled in the hills were British houses. The little cottages that could have been built hundreds of years ago. It's another thing that made Britain so unique. Back home, nothing is that old, but new buildings in London were a hundred years old. None of us even cared how much like tourists we look. One girl screamed, "SHEEP" and began madly taking photos of what we saw out the bus window. A woman driving past looked up at her, and then just shook her head and continued driving.
Bond. James Bond.


Our hotel was right near where the Excel buildings are for where the Olympics will be in 2012, so after those Games I'll casually say, "I quite liked my hotel by the Excel exhibition hall" and pretend I went to the Games. After getting our rooms sorted out, *Manda, *Hailey, and I went up to our room. Our was furthest from everyone else's, but we had a great view of the docks right behind the hotel. Much to our surprise, the three of us walked into the room to find only two beds. The third, we assumed, was a pull-out in the desk that we couldn't figure out how to pull out.

The bathroom was even more unique. The room itself barely had much room for us to move around in and put down our suitcases. The bathroom was circular, with half of it sticking out into the room. I opened up the round door, surprised to see that it was not only very small, but unlike any other place I had ever had the pleasure/displeasure of peeing in.
Fish and chips dinner.
The shower was not raised or lower in any way. You just walked into it and shut two glass doors (I still don't know how it didn't flood). It was very "estrange" (as we like to use the word).

Once we got ourselves settled, changed, and freshened up, we all met down in the lobby and took the DLR up to the Tower of London, all the while marveling in the sites of the city. I don't it really hit me that I was travelling through London--London, of all places!!! It almost seemed natural for me. Perhaps it's because I was in a place I actually like (versus my hometown, which is horrible).

I had yet to replace the battery on my camera, so I didn't get too many pictures of the area (and I have many on a disposable), but the Tower itself wasn't nearly as exciting as I thought it would be. It was just another old building, and we didn't have a guide yet, so we didn't know much about it.
Advertisement for Grey's Anatomy in the Tube, and my future husband, Patrick Dempsey.
I did manage to jump on the grass next to a cannon. The sign next to it read, "Please stay off the grass, and do not touch the cannon."

Back in the hotel, we all sat around in the lobby waiting to meet up with the other schools going on the tour before we headed off to dinner. I sat in a chair, and an hour later, I woke up, finding myself being pushed outside to take the DLR to the Tube.

Ah, the Tube. What fun. Not really. It was jam-packed with people (more than I remember in NYC). I never knew so many people could fit in one of those trains. I didn't even need to hold a bar. I would fall into people when we started or stopped, but there were so many, it didn't really matter. One woman was partyway on when the doors shut on her head. That was amusing.

The dinner was fish and chips. Unfortunately, I'm not a big sea food fan.
With the pigeons.
Though I did try it--it was best with the salt and vinegar on it. So if you're a fish fan, I definitely reccomend it. The french fries were good--not the disgusting, fat-filled, greasy things you get here. But I only ate a few bites. Even though I hadn't eaten anything except a bagel and a frozen banana on the plane, I wasn't at all hungry.

Once dinner was over, we took the Tube to Piccadilly Circus and walked through Liechester and Trafalgar Squares up to Covent Garden (I was sad that we didn't go quickly to West End and kidnap Daniel Radcliffe). Nothing really eventful happened, except that we chased pigeons around, but none of them would sit on us.

After watching a street performed in Covent Garden, we went back to the hotel. I made a quick call to the rents on the hotel pay phone (sadly discovering that my calling card didn't work), took a shower, and collapsed into bed. Luckily, we pulled out the bed in the desk.

The next day, we discovered the nonchalance of Londoners and what telephone booths are really like.

*Names changed since we're all under eighteen.
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The Tower of London
The Tower of London
Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge
Bond. James Bond.
Bond. James Bond.
Fish and chips dinner.
Fish and chips dinner.
Advertisement for Greys Anatomy i…
Advertisement for Grey's Anatomy …
With the pigeons.
With the pigeons.
London
photo by: ulysses