I woke up at 10:00 this morning to finish getting ready to leave for London. When I woke up, I was saddened to feel that my wrist was in pain. I must have slept on it funny. Anyway, it was surprisingly stressful getting everything prepared.
I poured myself the rest of my Cheerios, turned everything off, and left. Then I had an Absolutely Fabulous moment saying, “Money, tickets, passport!” as I had left everything on the table. On my way out, I thought to buy an iPod map of the London Underground because they are the most convenient and amazing things ever. With them, they can show you exactly how to get where you want to go. I love them, but was angered because I had paid $9.99 for the Metro map of Paris, but now, the prices had dropped to $.99! Oh, well.
I left for real this time and walked down to the station, which took me to Gare du Nord. It is very easy to get lost here, there are arrows pointing every which way for different Metro stops and trains to all sorts of destinations in France. I couldn’t find the sign for the Eurostar, but eventually, I kind of just fell onto it, which was nice. Once I got there, I had to fill out a card for immigration, then got my tickets out of the self-service machine. Everything went surprisingly well.
I waited in the lounge for about 15 minutes and then it was time to board the train. My seat was a rear facing aisle seat, which gave the best view of the French countryside. It is really lovely out there, away from all the hustle and bustle of the city. The land is very flat and grassy, with big hills off in the distance. There are big farms and grazing cows. It was all very picturesque, even though it was foggy.
I became so engrossed in my reading that I forgot where I was, so when I looked out the window, I thought we were in a cloud, which scared me for a bit, until I realized it was just very dense fog.
On the other side of the aisle, there was a woman frantically gluing receipts and flyers and a myriad of other things into a little notebook. It was fascinating and boring at the same time.
Very soon after, we plunged into the English Channel. When you take the Eurostar, you travel through a tunnel underneath of the English Channel. It’s a bit disorienting at first, but it’s an amazing feat of engineering. The trek from Paris to London is a little under 2 hours 45 minutes, and you are in the underground tunnel for just a little over a half hour.
Once you pop back out of the tunnel, you’re in England, and not long after that, you are in London. Once the train comes to a halt, everybody rushes like a lunatic for the Underground ticket booth. I did too, it was kind of fun. I was standing next to who I’m fairly sure was Leona Lewis, but I’ll never know for sure.
The man at the counter sold me a travel pass, which were individual tickets for each day. I thought I would get an Oyster card, which is like a Navigo, but he said these were better. It was only about 20 pounds, so not too bad.
Once on the train, it was only one stop to the area of the hotel. Once on the street, I was alarmed by how easy it was to find the hotel. London hasn’t been Google Earthed, so I had no way of doing it virtually, so I was exceptionally pleased to get to the hotel so quickly. The building was last renovated in the 1930s, or so it looks. It still has all the accents of that time period, which I liked a lot. It’s a bit rundown, but that only adds to the atmosphere.
The bathroom in my room looks like it hasn’t been changed since the building was built. The sink has two separate spouts, one for hot and one for cold. It made me laugh.
I watched an insane children’s show on BBC1. It was seriously the most crazy show I’ve ever seen. It was sock puppets who were completely mad. One of them lost his medallion and lost his mind and went on a shoe eating rampage. The very dainty sock puppet tried his best to get the medallion from Angry Pants. Then there was an old blind woman who wanted her floors waxed. It was bizarre and hilarious and disturbing.
When I went down to the lobby to use the Internet, I discovered that Paris Hilton was in town. I was of course excited, and began planning ways to find her. I thought and thought and realized that the best place to look for her would either be a theater showing her movie or Harrods. I chose Harrods because I was hungry. I had intended to go and eat at a fish and chips shop, but, I couldn’t help myself. One of my dreams is to see Paris. She is one of my idols.
The trains are so polite here. Every stop says what the station is, what the connections are, and other useful information. At every stop, they say, “Your attention please. Please mind the gap between the train and the dock, please.” So many pleases all the time.
On the train was this truly hideous woman who kept complaining about everybody’s fashion which I found rude and hilarious and ironic. She smelled bad. On the way out, you have to ride a very long escalator. It never fails to make me very dizzy and not sure if I am standing up straight.
So, I went to the food halls and had a very tasty chicken with roasted potatoes and a stunningly delightful lemonade. It was stupidly overpriced, but it was tasty. I’ll eat in cheaper places later. I could tell by the buzz in the place that Paris wasn’t there, so I just meandered about a bit in the expensive antiques, expensive electronics, expensive food, expensive clothes, expensive books, and expensive bags. I ended up buying two DVDs because they weren’t expensive! The French & Saunders DVD was on sale for £9.99 and the complete series, Little Britain, was only £10, down from £40, I couldn’t pass them up!
I went to the pet section next, but was disappointed to see that the area had been massively renovated since I was here last. It is a much bigger section now and they no longer sell live animals, so, it’s no longer fun.
After that, I left, because I knew that if I stayed, I’d spend more money, and that wouldn’t have ended well.
London is very green. They have shows about being green, they have commercials about being green, they have signs about being green, everything is about being green. It is a dramatic push here unlike back home where it’s kind of a suggestion.
They have Gossip Girl here. Who knew?
I’m tired now, so, I’m going to bed or watching TV for awhile, I don’t know.