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London’s Objectives

September 9th, 2010

The ship was absolutely enormous with eight levels; the lower levels stored the cars and busses and the upper levels had various lounges, sleeping areas, a cafeteria, movie theater, shop, spa, bar, etc. I wandered around checking everything out before I went up to the bar, ordered a shot of whiskey and a pint of Guinness, and sat down. The only other ship I’d been on that was this fancy was a cruise ship (which of course had more amenities); this was indeed the fanciest ferry I’d ever been on! It was already 9pm; the ferry ride from Dublin to England took approximately three hours, so we’d be on the ship for a while yet. There were children running around screaming, sliding on the slick floors and playing. I enjoyed my Guinness and then went into the quieter “living room” area where people were watching a movie. I stayed there for the duration of the ride, talking to a new friend I made there.

When we got back on the bus and it slowly drove off the boat onto land, I drifted into sleep and slept rather fitfully through the seven hour bus ride to London. I arrived in London later than scheduled but was greeted nonetheless by my friend Paolo (an old schoolmate from my sophomore year at boarding school in California), who was to host me during my stay in London. He helped me with my luggage and we got on to the tube and made it to his house. Once at his house, he presented me with a package he’d put together for me: maps, important phone numbers, a tube card and a local cell phone with pre-paid credit. The nicest reception I’ve ever received, I think! I settled in and we walked around his neighborhood, picked up some groceries and made lunch together. That evening he headed off to work and I hung out at the house putting together my plan for London.

I had three objectives for my London trip: Party my ass off to Drum-n-Bass, buy a few items of warmer clothing to shield against the cold weather I’d surely have to deal with quite soon and take a tour to Stonehenge. I booked my tour for Stonehenge that night and also researched DnB clubs.

In the following days, I spent my time during the day with Paolo walking around London and doing a bit of shopping. I got some cute, simple and flattering long-sleeved tops at the Benetton store, a few sweaters at Esprit and a coat at Zara

In the evenings, when Paolo went to work, I went out in London alone and did some exploration of the pub scene, which I found to be quite satisfying! A pint of beer costs about ₤3 in London, so it’s not a bad price at all. My first night out I happened to meet a group of (married) guys who were out having a piss. We all started talking, and they invited me to a local’s pub that is not on the tourist route. I had already had two beers and two vodka gimlets, so I was on the road to sauce town, but I accepted their offer and went to the local’s bar. The guys were all great, excellent sense of humor and I had such a good time with them! I staggered back to the tube right before it was set to shut down for the night and made a midnight snack for myself and Paolo before I toppled over into bed.

My first week in London passed in this manner. It took me a while to really feel confident and comfortable in London, I noticed. Longer than most other cities I’ve been to. Maybe it is because of the sheer size of the city –it’s bloody HUGE! Also, much to my embarrassment and chagrin, I got lost on the tube more than once. I just do not understand why it took me so long to get acclimated to London – I pride myself on learning cities quickly and being able to get around confidently within a day’s time. I don’t know why London offered such challenges, especially since I’d been before in 2003.

Thankfully I felt comfortable in London within that first week, because after the first week, party time officially began with my first Drum-n-Bass party in London that Friday night!

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