Friday, January 16, 2009


Mom, there are two letters already stamped and ready to go on my old desk in the office. can you send them off for me please ASAP as I forgot to do so myself. They are rent and final utilities that I don't want to get charged for. Love you mates.


London Stuff, Day 3

so I don't feel bad at all now when thinking about the weather here. Although it was 52 and raining today, something pretty common to dreary london, it had to have been better than -10 degrees where you mates are. That is for certain.

managed to make it to class this morning, although only on about two hours sleep, tea and orange and lots of medication. I'm starting to feel much better, although it seems that I am either shivering all the time or sweating all the time. Because london had a vicious cold snap last week, every building in the city had the heat cranked up to full blast. the weather then returned to normal so fast that they didn't have time to reregulate so it is 52 outside and 76 inside. Shiver, sweat, shiver, sweat, you know?

I have become very left out of everything because I can't go out at night. As I write this my flatmates gather amongst the other groups of flats to pub crawl and club hop. They extend the invite, but I can't in good mind go out and get drunk while taking pills. Seriously.

There really isn't too much else to report today. Stopped in at Al-Moustafa's to buy fresh fruit for breakfast around six this morning while most of you were either climbing into bed or starting homework. The tea here is sensational, as to be expected, and I'm slowly learning which people to talk to and which ones will be mean little shits. General rule has been that men my age and white brits= bad to ask, men my age but middle eastern or south asian= treat you like kings if you're kind in return. The barman at the Victory is a great example of that.

Broke down and bought Mcdonalds today for lunch because I wanted something American. Again they dont have and dont know what Ranch is, but they gave me a container of sweet curry that I've yet to try. They also don't sell double quarter pounders with cheese because they don't appreciate you asking for that much food. I had a big mac for the first time in years.

Honestly this is boring shit about today as it was, more or less a boring day. I managed to take a nap from 2 to 7 today which has probably screwed me over on any attempt at sleeping later. Maybe I'll pop on AIM then around 3 and try to catch some of you.

Cheers and all that filthy shite.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Day 2 followup

As a P.S. to my last blog, I did actually get my hair cut by a Persian guy named Omid. It was a bit expensive but I'm pretty happy about it. Also, we ate at an authentic italian place called Fino's. It was pretty much the best thing ever.

London Day 2

London is growing on me, even though that is slow and uncertain, its charm is starting to show through. Its pace is constant, the people a mixture of incredibly nice to terribly angry, but almost always helpful to a young American trying to get home.

I'm sitting as I write this at a little pub called The Victory, a Thai pub where they only serve food during "normal meal times" but liquor almost constantly. The atmosphere is loose and free, with American or faux American country music playing in the background and warm leather armchairs to sit in with your pint and paper. The streets outside are flooded with people, but The Victory remains a place of quiet calm where the patrons sit by themselves with pints of Stella Artois and Harps slowly warming in large glasses. I was sitting at the bar, this notebook open, talking with the barkeep about the other pubs. I expected bias, as it is so common in the states to see one bar pulling itself up over another because of predisposed thoughts, but I didn't expect the man's honesty. He was a man of Indian decent, although his Indian accent was intermixed with that of the Brits so I assumed he'd lived in the city all his life. He was telling me that the English pubs are good places to get a beer, but unless you are a local they treat you poorly. A local meant full blood UK, WASPish sort of stuff. He told me that he'd stopped going to the other pubs because they treated him poorly, despite being a british citizen, because he didn't look like a local. I'm going to have a look for myself, but what an unexpected thing to run into on Edgeware. That street, which holds the pubs the barman was talking about, is mostly owned and operated by middle eastern men with places like Fatoush and innumerable names prefixed by Al.

Almost everyone who I deal with on a regular basis would have been considered a minority in the states and they are some of the nicest and most helpful people I've met in London. We are treated coldly more often by white brits than we are by anyone else, something I've yet to understand. Maybe its because farmers beat them from the new world with bubble gum rifles and then demanded that they be friends with us. Its sort of like stealing someone's girlfriend and then demanding that the ex-boy still hang out. Whatever. I make an effort to be kind to them and they can sod right off if they choose to.

Our leaders of this program have a strange idea of what it means to come here I think. They seem to think that people who leave and return from places on their own (see "me") are not doing as they are supposed to. Part of the enjoyment I get from this city is exploring it on my own and at my age I think I'm allowed to do so. I've only almost been hit by motorcycles and busses on a few occasions, so I think I'm on par for holding my own. I guess when parents put their children under the care of professors it is obvious why said professors would be anxious about people like me. I like to explore things without worrying that the people I'm with are going to piss and moan about one thing or another. As sick as I've been recently, it is best I avoid them anyway.

My final point of learning about this city for now came when we went to West Minster College in order to register for classes and meet our main professor. By the way, I think I'm in heaven because I only have class two days out of seven. Every monday and tuesday I have class and then from wednesday to sunday I'm free. How bad ass is that?

What I learned at the college, though, is that the brit men my age that I've met so far are assholes. Asking them anything is like asking them if you can sleep with their mother and they answer just as short and angrily as you'd expect from such questions. The pair we met today looked as though they'd had a rough brush taken to their faces and when we asked them about the West Minster symbol they got angry and defensive. Tossers the lot of them, but then again they think the same of us. They stare at our women as we walk buy and glower at the three of us men as we follow suit. I'm not snogging them you filthy cheesewanks. Christ.

Anyway, I think this has gone on far too long. I'll post as I can, the 1000 minutes of internet is starting to put stress into my heart, but with as great as The Victory Pub is with atmosphere and discounts, I'm thinking that I'll spend less time inside of the apartment and more where I can get tea and beer for cheap.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

So, I went to London.

Honestly, I'm still hearing jet engines and getting over my ears being completely plugged for a few hours after landing.

The city is nothing like I expected. Too hot inside of the flats, strangely luke warm outside, and the people have a strange way about themselves that I had never expected. I saw, as we took a bus to our flats, an early 90's television thrown into the grass next to a Porsche Carerra. There were multi million dollar homes with two or three cars parked in their gated drives right next to broken ethnic shops and run down flats.

Maybe I should start at the beginning.

I left from indy on a small little plane that took us ahead of schedule to chicago. ahead by an hour. this meant that we had four hours to sit in the terminal and do nothing but wait. I hate flying to begin with, but to put me on a plane, fill me with adrenaline and then make me wait for four hours is brutal. Not to mention that I started running a fever halfway through the first flight and, sitting here now, have the flu like hard core. This flu set in in full force as I waited to board the 777 that would take us to London, and by the time we were taxiing off the runway, I was hardly more than a hungry man shaking and blowing his nose every thirty seconds. It sucked.

Lots of Dayquil and a handful of sleep later, I found myself trying hard not to throw up as we made our way through heathrow airport, stopping every couple of minutes for stragglers, for people who forgot things, for people who just had to go to the bathroom, for security checks, for baggage checks, for customs and passport checks. There were checks made to check that I had, officially, been checked. And then it was time to get on the bus.

We took a bus from heathrow to our flat, an hour long trip in total, and were escorted into apartments that had no conscious thought of maybe being too warm. Every one of the six furnace wall things was blasting on full, despite the warmish weather outside, and after waiting with 22 other people in the living room of one of these saunas while people forced paperwork and nonsense about drugs upon us, we were finally allowed to go back to our own boiling flats, adjust the heat, take a shower for the first time in what seemed like days and prepare for more exciting festivities that have yet to take place tonight.

As sick as I've been feeling I'm not sure of the coherency that this post has, but it is the best I can do with what I've got. I'll try to put something up tomorrow that makes a bit more sense, something not run wild with fever and medication.

Monday, January 12, 2009

London Town

I will be leaving tomorrow for foggy london town, something I've only dreamt of for the last six or so years. In leaving I'm converting this page into a sort of day to day account of the things that I experience while across the pond. Pictures will be posted here but I may have to link any videos I take from somewhere else. I don't think that I've ever been so nervous at any other point in my life, but I'm sure it will be fine. I hope so anyway. Jesus help me, mates.