Londontown

Trip Start Feb 19, 2006
1
3
90
Trip End Oct 01, 2006


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Flag of United Kingdom  ,
Wednesday, February 22, 2006

So far London is a grey place. People outside hurry along, they walk fast, faster than even New yorkers. Not much eye contact or warm smiling on the street here in Kensington. That all changes when one enters a pub. Last night at the Three Kings, I talked hockey and soccer with people from France, Australia, and Ohio. Also an extended chat about my beloved Red Sox with an English fellow from the neighborhood.
Then after I drank Dr. Peppers from the vending machine and talked buddhist philosophy until 4 am with an Indian fellow who is staying here at the hostel. He has not seen his wife and son for a year and a half as he tries to lay the groundwork of a better life for them here in the UK.

Beer is expensive, along with everything else. Here at the Ace Hotel, however, bottles of becks are 2, 3 for 5, and between the hours of 6 and 7, two for one. Certainly everyone here takes advantage of that bargain.
The Ace is sort of off by itself on a residential street, it is well cared for, has movies and mtv/vh1 on the widescreen, and it's own computer room, in which I am sitting now. My new found Aussie friend is recovering from his hangover still. . .I myself slept until 11 am, not too bad, the jet lag is going away quickly. I'll have just enough time to adjust to London time before I head off to Mumbai and have to start over.

I have arranged to be picked up at the airport in Mumbai, as I am a little apprehensive about trying to locate my own transport to a hotel I've never been to in a city I haven't the foggiest clue about.

Of course for my breakfast, I found the Kensington version of the greasy spoon, with beans, burger, chips, and egg, with coffee for 3. Oh God, the heartburn. .

Taking one's own life in one's own hands is as easy as crossing the street here. Apart from the slight tinge of habit to look to the right instead of the left, the drivers here go fast, I mean really fast. You can look one way and then the other, think you're clear, and then suddenly there is a car or huge lorry barreling straight at you at about 100 km an hour. One has to watch one's ass here. Or should I say "arse. . ."

They're doing a lot of work on the pavements (sidewalks) just around here, and it is quite a change to see the labourers actually labor. Not like Boston where there are ten guys leaning on shovels and two cops directing traffic next to a hole that stays unfilled for three years. These guys actually earn their pay here, and also seem to like their work.
Loads of people around here look like boxers, especially the street crews. Crooked noses that look like they have bashed in by a shovel, or some such. Don't tell them I said so, though, as I believe by pointing this out I put myself in danger of the same shovel treatment. .

I feel sufficiently comfortable here in London, it even reminds me some of parts of Boston in an architectural sense. Also a mix of Brooklyn sort of in there. . Tomorrow I will do the obligatory sightseeing, Big Ben, Tower of London, Buckingham palace, Trafalgar, Picadilly, etc. Stay tuned for pictures. .
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