Monday, June 20, 2011

London Day 1 & 2

I didn't have internet for the first week I was here, so sadly everything is going to be quite scattered.

The flight started off well! I managed to get a window seat which is my preferred seat-one of the best things is to be able to have an aerial view of the land below you, it just brightens my mood. British people were also all around me so I had the joy of hearing them talk every once and awhile.

I was unable to sleep for more than 20 minutes on my overnight flight, so I ended up watching 2 movies. “Just Go With It,” starring Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler, and “Hallpass,” with Owen Wilson and some other guy. I thought Just Go With It was very cute, worth seeing but it’s a redbox kind of movie. Hallpass was ok, I didn’t hate it but I won’t be rushing to see it anytime soon.

Landing in London was a little hectic, but I made it alright. From where I got off the plane and got my bag at Customs, I must have walked at least a mile. There were 6 of us from the program so we had a fun ride in. My roommate and I are actually the only ones in our building that are not with the Shakespeare Globe Program, so it is a little awkward, since everyone else in our program is a 15 min walk away. Our rooms are like10x better than the other dorm style apartments. We have plenty of space and our own kitchenette. The other space just has a couple of microwaves and a toaster.
my room, messy I know
kitchenette, and salon 
After unpacking my roommate and I just wandered around, grabbing a bite to eat at Cafe du Coin. After that we wandered around some more until we found a grocery store WaitRose…which is an awesome place but pricier than the others. We got some basics (toilet paper, dish soap and a sponge) and I bought yogurts for the morning and this amazing cheese cake like yogurt thing (that is kinda what I see the consistency as). They were giving out samples so I tried one and fell in love.
Also an interesting fact, Activia yogurts come in so many more flavors here including Fig, Kiwi and Prune (I feel like Prune is a double whammy). I was boring and just picked out the vanilla (which turns out has crushed vanilla beans in it) and strawberry pack.

After that we went to the main housing area and received a tiny tour of Kensington. At the end of the tour, a few of us went to go buy pay as you go phones. We all picked the cheapest option and now have these fancy little pink flip phones. I will admit I am lost with this phone, I am used to a keyboard so it takes me like 5 minutes to send a text. Not having a working phone 24/7 is kinda nice, but I am sure I will be very glad to have it back. 

We just chilled in our room for a few hours, stopped by the boys room who are here for a Shakespeare program and admired their lovely view. We have a brick wall as our view.For dinner we wandered to this Italian place called Lorenzo's (not very good) and then we went back and passed out.

Day 2! It is surreal being around here. Kensington is an absolutely gorgeous borough of London-in fact it’s one of the richest and safest areas!
Fun Fact: Police officers in Britain do not carry guns (except for those at airports, embassies, those protecting the queen etc) although they do have the option to do so. Britain and New Zealand are the only two countries who do not carry guns as a standard.

In between orientation and our tour, my roommate and I stopped to get lunch at a little cafe (which I will get the name of later) and then we walked to get on the tour bus. We had a great tour guide, hilarious and knowledgeable. He showed us a while bunch of cool things/places including Westminster Abbey, Parliament and Big Ben and Saint Paul's.
Once of the coolest parts of the trip was when he took us to this mall and we got to see an aerial view of Saint Paul's, gorgeous.
These tents below were started by a guy who has been protesting for like 10 years. Brian Haw, the original protester has just passed away, read more about him here.
Later on my roommate and I both passed out. When we woke up (slept through dinner), we decided we wanted to go to a pub or something and get a drink. I texted one of the girls I had met and she decided to meet up with us. We went to a pub right next to the main house called Builders Arms. It was actually closing so we all got one drink (bars in the nicer areas close early). The bartender was awesome, she let us try a sample of like 4 beers, and we all ended up going with a Pear Cider. We actually ran into some guys from our program so we talked with them and when the pub closed, a couple of us wandered around to try and find a new place.
Someone had mentioned that this place called Arch Angel was open so we decided to go. It was an very interesting place, cherub statues and pictures of Saints and Stuff on the walls, not really the type of place you want to drink at but it ended up being pretty fun.
I had a Becks and a Stella (mmm, one of my favorites). When we left we remembered that there was a place that was open 24 hours called Tesco (reminds me of a 7/11) so we wandered over there to get something to eat (since we had not eaten dinner). I got a crunchie bar (one of my favorites!) and these cute little chocolate candies in the shapes of stars (I know, quite healthy haha). 

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