Tuesday, January 16, 2007

12 January 2007

Being here is a dream come true. Getting here was an absolute nightmare. All total, I spent twenty-one exhaustion inducing hours travelling. I now know that no matter how excited I am, I need to force myself to sleep the night before a transatlantic flight. The flight was awful. I had a six hour layover in Chicago where, unfortunately, I got sick. That made my plane ride to London extra fun (sarcasm definitely intended). It was an agonizingly long trip. (And note for Rachael: if I had been returning from the U.K. they would have shown The Illusionist on the plane. Instead it was some stupid movie about ants, too bad.) I was ill and jet lagged by the time I arrived in London.

And you can’t just get off the plane. When you arrive at Heathrow, you have to walk through this really long maze-like series of corridors to get to immigration. Then I had to walk through another series of maze-like corridors to get to baggage claim. And when I got my bag, I was certainly sorry I had packed it so heavy (it weighed about seventy pounds) because I had to drag it and my carry-on bag (which was also pretty heavy) across half of London on the tube. I had to change trains three times. There are no escalators at the tube stations. I had to drag my suitcase up the stairs. Fortunately, several very nice men offered to help me with my suitcase at various train stations when they saw me struggling, giving me a very nice impression of Brits in general.

Finally, I found my hotel. At this point I was even more exhausted and I felt distinctly nauseous, so I was pretty excited about the prospect of sleeping. Unfortunately for me, check-in time wasn’t until 2:00pm. It was 12:30. The lady at the front desk (who I didn’t have a high opinion of at the time) must have seen how tired I was because she managed to get me the first available room and give me an upgrade at no extra charge.

Thankfully, I went upstairs, called my mother, and sank into bed.

13 January 2007

I slept pretty late today. I still don’t feel very good, so I only went out for a few hours. (Sidebar: Did I mention that I’m here in London alone? My dad got extremely ill the day before I was due to leave and he had to cancel his flight. Sadly, I think I’m sick because I caught what he had) I’m staying on the West End, across the street from Hyde Park and near Kensington Palace. It’s a really cool part of town. I spent a couple of hours walking down High Street Kensington. I noticed a Mark and Spencer when I arrived yesterday, so today I popped into to see what they had. I found a purse that slapped me on the face with its wonderfulness and since it was only £19.50 (about $40) I splurged and bought it a matching scarf to keep it company. I wandered around a bit more and found a small Italian restaurant where I had some really great pasta and gelato.

I called my mom when I got back to the hotel. I hate to admit it, but I’m a little lonely here, and I feel really cut off from the world. When I arrived in London yesterday, my cell phone wasn’t working, the TV in my room is broken, and the broadband connection in my room costs an exorbitant amount of money. (I’m writing this on Word right now, hoping to post this when I can find a place with free wi-fi) Fortunately, thanks to a call to T-Mobile, my cell now works, and I can call the States for a mere 34¢ a minute, but I really have to think about the cost before I pick up the phone and call. It doesn’t help that I don’t feel well enough to go out for long periods of time. I don’t move into my dorm until next Thursday, so in the meantime, email me, leave me comments. Let me know that you guys are still thinking about me, at least a little bit. Maybe tomorrow I’ll be able to share a bit more about how fabulous London is.

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