Just touched down in Londontown

Thursday, August 28, 2008

10:30 a.m. (London time)

I’m here! After a very long day of waiting I made it to the airport, checked my bags, said goodbye to my family, got through security, then waited some more. I had finally just started getting nervous at breakfast that morning. Finally I was reacting the way I should have been for a while now. After getting through all that I felt better. I could not sleep on the plane. Aside from the food and free movies, every time I tried to get comfortable we would hit some really intense turbulence. We landed in London around 5:15 a.m. London time (midnight U.S. time). Because it was so early, when we arrived at the hotel the rooms weren't ready. There was another girl traveling through AIFS on my flight although she is heading off to Granada, Spain after this. Because our rooms weren’t ready we had to sit in the lobby and wait for almost two hours. This wouldn't have bothered me if my body didn't think it was 3 in the morning and really want to sleep. Finally around 8 we got our rooms. Did I sleep? Of course not! I tossed and turned for over two hours but no sleep. Oh well. I’ll sleep good tonight.

While I was waiting in the lobby I was reading Sense and Sensibility and they mentioned visiting the Kensington Gardens. I realized we were staying in the Kensington Holiday Inn and thought maybe the gardens were around. Turns out they are, just a few block away. There are also some free museums just down the street between here and the gardens so I may check them out today. I would go alone but I feel like I should work on making some new friends. My roommate seems nice. We haven’t really talked. She saw that I was in bed when she came in about an hour ago and thought it was a great idea. She actually gets to sleep. I’m going to go check out the map again to see if there is anywhere else in the area I would like to visit today.

10:30 p.m. (London time)

I have come to accept the fact that I will not get free WiFi anywhere in London. In fact, nothing in London is cheap. At least nothing is cheap when you’re an American. A bottle of water is $3.50, an Underground ticket is $10.60, and a plate of nachos is $9.00. I only spent a little over £10… but that adds up quickly in dollars.

I have been up for approximately 34 hours right now. After sitting around for most of the afternoon my roommate Casey and I went for a walk. We took the long way to Hyde Park and the Kensington Gardens then visited the Victoria and Albert Museum. It was all very nice. And very tiring. We came back to the hotel for our welcome drinks, which of course means lots of awkwardness. They basically just threw us all in a room together with some alcohol. Luckily my roommate put some effort into talking to people (I would have no friends in college if it weren’t for my roommates). A group of us decided that we would go out and grab something to eat. I then planed on coming back to my room, showering, and going to bed. Others wanted to find an internet café or go out somewhere. We ended up spending almost two hours waiting for people to get their acts together. I just wanted a quick dinner but I figured I might as well go out with the group to Piccadilly Circus. It’s kind of like the Times Square of London. We went to a small restaurant/pub were I ate for the first time in 16 hours. I was a little cranky by that point. We walked around for a bit after but a group of us decided to come back. And here I am. Of course now I have some crazy burned-up-all-my-adrenaline second wind type thing. I really should try to sleep.
Piccadilly Circus

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