Lewes, England, not Delaware

Trip Start Jun 01, 2008
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Thursday, October 28, 2010

Entry 4 of 4 from England:

After London, I was craving a bit of English countryside, so Dilip took me on a scenic drive southward. We stopped for lunch in Lewes, an old, old town with a castle built in 1066 by colleagues of William the Conqueror of Normandy the year he invented England (or something like that). The castle was really cute and old, and from the tower you could look out over the whole cute, old town with their cute, old rooftops crammed together along cute, old streets.

After that, we drove to the coast and stopped at a few seaside towns, including Eastbourne and Brighton. The sea was a crisp blue and the coastal highway was lined with rolling meadows manicured by grazing sheep. Another noticeable thing about the coastal highway, and all other non-major roads I saw, was that there were no shoulders. The grass, trees, fence, or whatever was on the side of the road came right up to the part of the road for driving. Also, the side of the road is marked with a double yellow line, which signifies no parking, which was weird for me to see because, in the United States, the double-yellow line separates lanes of opposing traffic. They also drive on the left, which means the passenger sits on the left, which I just couldn't get my head around the whole time I was there. I kept trying to get into the car on the driver's side only to find the steering wheel there. Ha, ha.

The no-shoulder thing, though ... this is not only weird but totally dangerous. On the last day, Dilip and I saw a woman on a bicycle get plowed into by a car. We didn't actually see the collision, but we saw her riding along and the next thing we knew she was sitting on top of the car behind us on the side of the road. She had been flipped onto the hood before then landing on the roof. Her bike was slightly mangled in front of the car and she was screaming at the driver. Luckily, she didn't have any obvious injuries, but boy was she livid. She was lucky to be alive. She wasn't wearing a helmet.

And that remarkable event brought my first-ever trip to England to a close. The hands-down highlight of the trip was the people, from my stellar host, Dilip, to my great, great friend Silke, to my Beijing roommate Philipp, to all of the very nice British people I met, who were extremely welcoming and really took an interest in this peculiar American, asking such thoughtful questions as, "Are the differences between the states of the United States as drastic as the differences between the countries of the European Union?" "Can you demonstrate a southern accent for us?" "Can you demonstrate a Canadian accent for us?" "Do you like grits?" and "Can you tell the difference between a northern monkey and a southern fairy?" It was truly a trip to remember.
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