Tuesday, February 3, 2009

London Wrap-Up I

The flight to London was uneventful - which is to say, wonderful! My luggage arrived with me, there were no delays or reroutes through other countries, and I had two seats all to myself. One other labmate also had the time and interest in stopping through London on the way back from Singapore, so we took on the adventure together. This is going to read like a "Dear Diary" but you, internet, will just have to deal. I want to remember things later. As in, after next week. I forget fast. :)

- We stayed in a hostel for four nights, here in fact. It's in central London, which is handy, and it's a converted jail, so major cool points for that. It's also really cheap: $185 for two people for four nights. In fact, we didn't even choose the cheapest option: we had an eight-bed room instead of ten or twelve, and we had our own shower and bathroom in the room instead of common showers. I have never stayed in a hostel before, but I really enjoyed it. There were young people from all over staying there - I didn't see anybody over 30, and I heard many, many languages being spoken. Which makes sense, I suppose, because anybody over 30 is not going to put up with bunk beds and toast and cereal in a cafeteria for breakfast. You get sheets upon check-in to make your bed with, and you rent a towel for 1 pound (which you keep until you either check out, or break down and want a clean one). There's a bar in the basement, maps in the lobby, and really, what more do you want?

There were never the same people twice in our eight-bed room for the four nights we stayed. Our room was co-ed, because my labmate and I booked our room together. So it was a little strange one morning to wake up and find two new boys sleeping on either side of me, that had come in late the night before... Even though the room had its own bathroom and shower, the bathroom was tiny - the same size as the bathroom and showers I have used in RVs before. I tried taking a shower in there the second day, and I couldn't even wash my hair without hitting my elbows, then I tried to towel off and nearly took out the sink. So I ended up using the common showers after all, which are like camping showers - nice and large, but also mixed gender. Ah well, nobody in that hostel is ever going to see me again, so what do I care?

- The first day we got there it was raining, but the second day was sunny so we went on a free walking tour of London. Our guide did an excellent job, and I really liked being able to walk through the sites instead of driving by on a bus. On the other sunny day, we also did a lot of walking on our own. All in all, we saw the Constitution Arch, Buckingham Palace, Leicester Square, Westminster Abbey, Horse Guards Parade, the Mall, the changing of the Guard, Downing Street, the Houses of Parliament, the Tower of London, Trafalgar Square, and of course Big Ben. Nearly everything, I think! I was glad my shoes were comfortable...

- Stood in line at the student's half-price ticket booth for same day musical tickers, and scored 18.50 pound tickets to Wicked. Yay! I really wanted either Wicked or Chicago. We got nosebleed seats, of course, but it was a Tuesday night so the theater was lightly populated. You better believe when the lights dimmed we moved up by one or three or twenty rows... actually ended up with pretty good seats. The cast was incredible, and the story was excellent. The lead singers just had effortless voices. I'm a bit of a singer myself, and I so envy and enjoy when other singers can make their voice their instrument to do whatever they want. I hummed the songs all the way home, which I think my labmate did not appreciate. But oh well - 'cause IIIIIIIII'm defy-----ing gra--vity!

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