Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What exactly have I been up to? Besides, that is, drinking incessantly, and somehow catching an inconvenient cold from one of my companions.

Last weekend I went to Dublin. I am not sure how to sum up the experience, to be honest. We went with no plans but where to sleep (because I had spent days finding and booking the hostel, and no one else wanted to do any of the work I imagine). In retrospect that was a bad idea. The other two ladies on the trip went on day trips to see the Irish countryside, whereas the two blokes and I wandered around the Temple Bar district and Trinity College on our first day there. Dublin, it turns out, is one of the most expensive cities on the planet, and not just as a result of the euro. On Friday, Alex and Joseph and I went to Burger King before a rugby game and our meals were 8 euro. Almost 16 dollars. And while we were ashamed of stooping to Burger King, it was really all we could afford. At least pubs and restaurants had lunch specials during the day, but in the evening an average dinner was 14 euro. So we ate at Burger King.

The three of us went to a rugby game that was enjoyable. You know how mascots are usually elusively silent? The person wearing the lion suit at the game was not so. He had a very heavy accent and yelled at the crowd that they were not cheering enough, which I suppose was true to a certain degree because what was coming out of their mouths weren't exactly cheers. Alex kept a list going and the one I remember best is the guy two rows behind us who stood up and yelled "you fucking wanker!" As for the game itself--I had trouble understanding it. Like football, all the players often ended up in a pile. However, unlike in football, the referee would only very seldomly blow his whistle at this and usually someone would emerge from the pile victoriously with the ball in hand. I never figured out what caused penalties, or why the game ended when it did. The time stopped at least 15 minutes before the game did, and we started to leave twice before realizing that the game wasn't yet over. However, I had a good time trying to piece together what was going on, and it was faster-paced than football because time was never stopped.

On Thursday we had gone to a pub by our hostel, but this night we felt compelled to branch out a little and go to the famous Temple Bar area. However, none of the pubs there would let us in because we are under 21. The drinking age is undoubtedly 18 in Dublin, so we still don't understand what kept us out of the pubs that night. Luckily we did not have the same problem on Saturday and got gloriously drunk before our 8am flight back on Sunday morning.

As for Saturday, we had planned a trip to the Guinness storehouses and Dublin Castle, but we lost one of our number and instead spent most of the day sitting in the lobby of our hostel, falling asleep on each other's elbows jackets and taking shifts to go eat at nearby pubs. The waitress at the pub we ate lunch at was a real hoot and a half, though.

We returned on Sunday morning and from what I understand all collapsed into bed for most of the day before performing some last minute homework miracles.

A typical day for me here in London begins with the toasting of a bagel in my oven and then eating it with cream cheese and a towel on my head as I either read Ginny/Draco fanfiction or perform general facebook stalking. I have one class each day, usually for 3 hours. Before class I usually eat another small snack, and then walk with my headphones on if it is being held at our classroom, although half the time we have class at a museum or we meet at a tube stop to have class as we walk. Afterward I will usually grab a cheap bite to eat with some of the class and then go back to my room to read before fixing myself dinner, then going out to the pub, which is usually followed by Greek takeaway. We've been frequenting a club called Roundabout on Thursdays because they have Jack and Coke for a pound fifty, which is fucking amazing compared to the three to four pounds we pay for pints at pubs.

This weekend is my first solo weekend. I take the train from Waterloo to Alton on Friday and stay at a Bed and Breakfast that night and Saturday night before heading back to London on Sunday to see what messes my comrades have gotten themselves into whilst intoxicated. I imagine I'll be spending most of my weekend walking and reading Sense and Sensibility. It will be pretty tame, to be honest. If you think it sounds like I drink a lot here in London, it's because I do. We get 80 pounds a week for food, and I always put 20 aside for future travels. Of the 60 pounds left I spend about 20 on groceries. Of the 40 left I spend almost all of it on drinks and late night Greek food runs. Maybe a lunch or two. Although to be fair I did go see My Brightest Diamond last week and bought a shirt for 15 pounds (mistake) and the week before I bought a pair of skinny pants at H&M for the same. But I do drink a lot. What can I say, I'm enjoying it.

Next Friday we are all heading down to Brighton (the coast) to visit one of our professors. She has promised to take me to Virginia Woolf's old house and to the spot where she drowned herself. I'm going to try to finish To the Lighthouse before then in order to prepare myself. The weekend after that begins our fall break, over which I am going to Amsterdam for 3 days, Brussels for 3, and then Paris for 4. I'm not sure how I am affording any of this, to be honest, so I will probably be paying my parents back for the next decade of my life. So far however I believe it has been worth it.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Alright, alright, I have Internet now. I've had my classes but who wants to hear about those? I'm sure everyone mostly just wants to hear the story of when I accidentally met Paul McCartney.

Which hasn't actually happened yet, but I'm still here for two and a half more months so give me time!

All of my RP friends will be pleased to note that on my first tourist day here in London, I went with some of the others on my trip to King's Cross where we saw Platform 9 3/4. Let me say--not as exciting as I would've hoped. It's not even actually between platforms 9 and 10, just off to the side. They've got half a cart glued to the wall as if someone were coming back through the barrier I guess, but it looks kinda cheesy. On that same day we went to see Tower Bridge, which is famous apparently, although not that exciting, to be honest.

There is a pub right down the street from us called The Malburough Arms (probably spelled differently)that we go to every couple/few days and get some pints (3 pounds each!). That's been rather fun, actually, which I am sure ought to be frowned upon. But I do like the beers they have on tap here in London.

This past week I went to see a few plays. One was an Ionesco play called Exit the King that was meant to be absurdist although I didn't think it was so completely absurd. I liked it, the themes centered around death which is always ever so uplifting. That play was double billed with a truly odd play called The School of Buffoons by some Romanian playwright, and its message in the end seemed to be that art is inspired mostly by cruelty, although I didn't understand that until the last few lines which were the head buffoon yelling "CRUELTY" over and over again while cracking a whip at the floor. Those two plays were actually in the upstairs room of a pub called The Lion and Unicorn pub, which was pretty neat. A couple nights ago I went to see Fragments by Samuel Beckett, which was basically five short bits in one play, kind of like some short stories in a collective anthology. I still have mixed feelings about it, but had been very pleased to see old people in the audience.

Last night I ate some truly delicious Chinese food. We accidentally found this one restaurant while looking for a different one, and out of pure hunger chose it instead. For an appetizer the four of us (there are 12 of us on the trip and 3 are boys, so it was myself and the boys) ordered some kind of duck that we put into sweet tortilla-like pancakes and it was seriously tasty. I had a chicken and sweet corn soup for a second appetizer and then my main course was stir fried beef over crispy noodles. For dessert they served us oranges! Anyway, for all of that and my Chinese beer it was only 11 pounds. I was very pleased.

Afterwards we went back to the flat and retrieved two of the other girls before setting out to go to Bloomsbury Lanes--a 50s bowling alley turned into a club. It still retains its bowling alley, and there is also a bar and booths to sit in with 50s American food being served. It would have been fantastic if it hadn't been so crowded--the bar was even out of the cheap beer it had on tap, so the boys and I were drinking gin and tonics all night. And despite having about 6, one of which was a double, I never got drunk because the line at the bar was always so long that I had time to completely recover from whatever I'd been drinking. The highlight of the place was definitely the large hipster boy clientele. We want to go back for dinner and drinking during the week and think we will enjoy it better then.

I had some kind of cheap Greek lamb thing at about midnight and then trekked up to bed. Today my roommate and I have been planning a trip to Dublin for the 18-21. The weekend after that I am going to discover Jane Austen.

Monday, September 01, 2008

I'm here.

We don't have Internet yet, and I don't want to pay to have it, and I don't have a converter plug thing ANYWAY, so god only knows when I will be able to update regularly. (Don't even get me started, I'm pretty effin' irked about it).

But, I am in London, after all. Our flat is tiny, and we have to trek up several flights of stairs to get to our room, in which there is a small kitchen and two slender beds, and a hotel sized bathroom.

Mostly we walk around a lot, and are trying to deal with things like groceries and having to buy our own TP at present. Fun to come later.