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I am...a New Yorker
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Sunday, May 25, 2003
in Love with London
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Earning...
Two B+ and an A, and thus a bit of a reward. I also managed to get back on my feet -- all while making $10k less a year.

Writing...
So much that I had a 40 page portfolio of fiction and poetry. I never wrote fiction before, so I was delighted to finally know I can do it.

Enjoying...
Passengers giving a driver hell who stopped for 3-5 minutes at each stop.

Driver on the bus we switched to giving a load of drunken passengers hell for holding the door for their huge group of drunken friends.

Guy who nearly fell on me on the Picadilly Tube yesterday. The next stop was ours, so when I got up, his friends teased him, "Oh, look, this lady is giving up her seat for you, mate."

Being hit on by a Somali cabbie at 5 a.m. -- what's with me and cabbies?

Feeling...
Pretty wonky for the fall and the flight, but better than normal after a long flight.

Fortunate to have such great pals abroad.

Eating...
A Cadbury flake bar, not bad for 40 pence.

I am...on a last minute trip to London, dream of dreams. I've wanted this since I was little and my mom was training to be a travel agent. She made a sample book of all the sights and it looked so marvelous. Also, reading Ana's journal is a bad influence.

The flight was OK, but so little legroom. Guy in front of me reclined and I could've combed his hair! Food and movie were good, and I managed to sleep somehow, though my legs were pretty wonky the first day as a result.

Heathrow was horrible, like JFK, but with more lovely accents. A complete maze. Half expected to end up right back in NYC with all the walking.

Saturday:
Met up with my friend Carl for brunch (bangers and mash for me), then we napped and met up for dinner. Went to Piccadilly Circus, walked to Soho, had Indian food at a restaurant that looked like a web site, then went to a swanky lounge. Ended up smoking strawberry tobacco from a hookah until dawn. Carl took me to the Kuwait bank ATM that only seems to dispense 50 notes, hilarious.

Met Carl through a friend about 5 years ago when he visited SF. I showed him around, took him to Candlestick Park to see the Giants play. Showed him around a bit when he came to NYC last year. Now it was his turn to be host. He wouldn't let me spend a dime (or 10 pence here), so I saved a lot. We were out until dawn, something I never do at home.

Today we met up at Piccadilly again (think a much cleaner version of Times Square with low-rise, classic Victorian buildings), walked to Trafalgar Square, then took a bus to Parliament. Didn't realize Big Ben is part of the Parliament building. Saw Westminster Abbey, Jewel Tower (it has a moat! but it's dry now), Salvador Dali sculptures outside Saachi gallery, sat on the Thames under the London Eye (huge, modern Ferris wheel built for the Millenium). Poor Carl, I had three cameras with me, such a tourist. He was a good sport about it and even took several photos, so I get to be in my own vacation photos for a change.

You haven't really visited a city until it beats you up a little bit, I always say. Coming down the stairs on the double decker bus, I fell from about the 4th step from the bottom. By some miracle, I landed on my feet, but came down hard on my ankles and hit my hand on the downstairs wall. This has given me a minor whiplash feeling...shaky, out of sorts, sore in the shoulders and joints and the hand that hit the wall.

All in all, I was very lucky. Had my feet caught under me instead, it would've been quite awful. As Carl's roommate pointed out, it's also fortunate this was a new bus. The stairwells are in the middle and the buses are closed. The old buses had a stairwell in the rear and go straight out facing the open back entrance. I would've landed in the street, had it been an old bus.

Afterward, we went to Abbey Road and I did the requisite walk photo, but going the wrong direction! Sorry mom!

We were both pretty pooped, so we had dinner at his place and watched some TV. Interesting how different the news is -- it's more calm and the readers are more average-looking. I liked that. Then back out to Piccadilly for a drink. But only one, so I could catch the last Tube back. Alas, no luck. I missed it and had to take the night bus, even though I didn't know which one to take. Miraculously, I ended up on Kensington High Street and managed to take a cab from there, which was probably 1/4 what the fare would've been all the way from Piccadilly.

Should go up to see my friend Filomena on Thursday. I'm curious how different the Northern towns are. I think Liverpool is close to there, about 2 hours by train, so I might make it there for a day. Trying to talk Carl into going to Paris for the weekend, but he has been many times and wants to go to Copenhagen instead. We'll see how my money holds up, the exchange rate sucks ass, though I'll gain a bit when I convert from pounds to Euros.

Although I've wanted to do this for ages, in the end it was rather last minute, didn't think I could swing it. But the ticket was only $150/85 roundtrip (though taxes were almost as much), so I could hardly pass that up. Knew befriending all these exchange students and foreign visitors like Carl and Fil would pay off some day!

[Next entry: "Lost in London"]
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