Thursday, June 14, 2007

my first day in London

Abigail's art show, originally uploaded by supafly.

I can't believe it's been less than 24 hours since I landed in London. Although, it's been about 24 hours since I left my condo for the airport.

I flew AIr India from O'Hare. It was a flight to Mumbai that stops in London on the way. I got stuck in a middle middle seat, so far from the windows and between a nice woman who was sick and sniffling in an aisle seat and a man who struggling with the limited space in the middle seat next to me. It was a very no-frills flight. There was one big screen at the front of the plane which I happened to be sitting close to, but the picture quality wasn't that great. I got to see the animated film "Happily Ever After." All I can say bout it is that I definitely like Sarah Michelle Gellar better in Buffy. I enjoyed the airline snacks - it was chana dal - a spicier and tastier treat than your typical bag of pretzels. Meanwhile, the guy next to me had three glasses of Johnny Walker whiskey and water. For dinner, I had lamb curry and okra. Pretty good - again slightly more flavorful than typical airline food.

When I got to London, I did a lot all at once. First, I bought an Oyster card (similar to the CTA card) which you can "top up" online or at tube stations. With the Oyster, bus rides are £1 one way or £3 all day. Tube rides are £1.50 one way or £6.10 all day. It's twice as expensive for one way rides paid in cash. Then I took the Picadilly line tube from Heathrow to Oxford Circus. I went to the T-Mobile store to get a pay as you go sim card for my phone. It comes with a handy card that you can use to "top up" your sim card at ATMs. After that, I called Marshall and he met me on Greater Titchfield Street (I love how interesting the names are for streets in London) with the keys to the apartment. He walked me to the #12 bus (right across from the Apple Store) which dropped me off a few blocks from the apartment.

The apartment is in Camberwell Green (in the Southwark borough of London) on Peckham Road. It's right across the street from the Camberwell College of Arts (where out landlord's daughter Abigail goes to school) and down the street from Southwark Town Hall. There are four floors. The first has the kitchen, the second has our room and the living room, the third has the bathroom, and the fourth has three more bedrooms.

Something new to me was taking a real bath (in a pure bathtub, no shower curtain or shower attached), but I've also never had such a huge clawfooted tub. It felt very luxurious, but I also spilled a lot of water. Afterwards, I walked down to the closest biggish market, Somerfield. I bought some food (they had rhubarb and plum flavored yogurt!) but wasn't sure if was supposed to get bio or nonbio detergent for the washing machine. (I just looked it up to find that "bio" means it contains enzymes that helps get clothes cleaner but that can also be more irritating to people with sensitive skin.)

Soon after, I met our landlords, Mark and Denise, and their youngest daughter Charlotte. Mark is originally from Monroe, Michigan - which is only an hour and a half from Bryan, Ohio, where I grew up. (What a small world!) Their daughter Abigail was kind enough to invite me to her art show (for illustration students) and they drove me there. It was quite an adventure, as they didn't have the exact address of the show and are from Surrey so aren't totally familiar with the neighborhood - not to mention that London streets are very confusing. After many u-turns and calls to Abigail (it's illegal to call and drive here too) we found it. I most enjoyed the little books they had produced. There was a lot of sewing incorporated into the artwork, not just drawing.

After the show, we got lost while looking for a place to eat, but eventually found our way to Dulwich (a village within London) and went to the Bishop Pub for my first meal in London. I ordered slow-roasted pork belly with apple sauce and a side of chips and aioli. It was delicious and similar to filipino pig roast (except no rice, but applesauce and fries (chips) instead). Charlotte ordered fish and pea pie (so many savory pies here!) and we started off the meal with toasted hummus with chickpeas and another spicier red sauce. Marshall was back from work (but still working) when I got home. It was a long day and I slept soundly. Now I'm off to start my second day!

1 comment:

  1. I've been here for three days and I'm still sleepier than you? Something has to be amiss.

    I suddenly have the hankering for a cornish pasty. I'm not even sure why they call it a 'cornish pasty'.