October 7, 2007


London is crazy. Its an assault on the senses and a crazy cacaphony of sights and sounds in all directions, times, and places. Getting here was an experience as well. I took the Eurostar, which was different than all the other train travel I've experienced in Europe. Maybe because of the Chunnel, but its more like an airline experience as far as security and boarding, though with a lot of helpful staff to guide you through it and get you to your seat. The train itself was nicer and smoother than most others, and the scenery of the French countryside whipping by as the sun set over it was beautiful. Arriving in London on a Saturday night, when I've rented a room/flat right in the heart of a busy entertainment district certainly added to the craziness. The street was filled with pedestrians and people at pubs (who stand in the street drinking their beers in front of the pubs, more than inside them). This is no place for restful sleep, but thats okay, thats not what I'm here for. I tried to figure out a plan for the night and eventually made it across the street to the pub for one beer at last call (which is at 11 here). I then wandered off, immediately going the opposite of my intended direction and getting lost. I eventually figured out where I was and made my way where I meant to be going, stopping for a "pasty" along the way before finding my Tube station. (I couldn't resist a place called a Cornish Bakehouse that was full of things I had never heard of.) All the while, sidewalks and streets are literally filled with people. Its dizzyingly exciting and a good kick in the pants for that time in the trip when you start to just get tired of it all. My night even ended with adventure. I fell for a fake cab, something I had read warnings about, but they were stationed outside the club with yellow vests and clipboards in a way that I figured it was a contracted company with the club, almost like you see valets in the states. Halfway home, the driver started asking too many questions about where I was going. I had given him the street address and neighborhood before leaving, but now he was asking for nearby streets and postal codes - needless to say, I didn't know. I finally gave him five pounds and just got out. After figuring out where I was, I hailed a real cab for the rest of the way home. Quite the night to open my senses to London.

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