Monday, September 6, 2010

Five nights and Four and a Half days in London: Night One

I would first like to preface the next few entries with a word about my overall feelings of London.

I spent five days in London and from the moment I started making my way around the city I started catching myself thinking, "I could totally live here."

There was a moment when I actually started looking at jobs in the area and considering blowing off the TEFL program and just staying. Yeah, I liked it that much.

However, I can't really afford to live in London. Not just yet at least. I'll revisit the idea later when I'm more financially solvent.

Obviously I very much enjoyed my stay in London. It was the general feeling the place gave me which may have been aided by the fact that for the first time in eight months I could read and speak without have to pantomime everything.

I'll try to start from the beginning though.

I think I may have mentioned that my passport got soaking wet in Bali a couple of weeks ago. In Kuala Lumpur they didn't really seem to care, but coming through immigration in London the woman totally grilled me. She let me through, but it was pretty clear that she wasn't excited about it.

Showing her my receipt for my next flight (to take place in five days) seemed to really help.

From there I had to take a bus to the center of London and then get on the underground and then walk about 200 meters. With a 40L backpack filled to the brim plus my smaller backpack, I was momentarily kicking myself for not forking out the cash to have a place closer to the center of London.

However, once I found my hostel, I was quite pleased.

I stayed at a hostel that is above a pub. Personally, I've always wanted to live in a bar, so this was honestly a dream come true. They had a separate back area of the pub that was only for hostel residents, and then all the rooms were upstairs.

The beauty of it was that you could hear the pub from upstairs in the rooms and it was in a residential neighborhood, so really the only thing disturbing my sleep was the guy in the next bed over who snored like a chainsaw chopping down a forest.

The hostel had only opened less than two months before and the guys running it are pretty fresh at it.

They were actually really nice guys. Since I got in so late and I hadn't slept at all on the plane I was pretty exhausted by the time I got there (just after 10 p.m. in London aka 5 a.m. in Kuala Lumpur), but I stayed up to get some food that wasn't made in an airplane microwave and a decent beer (because that doesn't really exist in Asia).

The owner ended up buying me a second beer while I chatted with the manager and learned a lot about their business practices and general experience. It was good to learn a lot about the place.

By the time I went to bed — the bottom bunk of a triple-decked bunk bed — I passed out in about two seconds flat.

The beauty of it was was that by not sleeping at all on the nearly 13 hour flight and then simply going to sleep at a relatively normal time in London, I had zero jetlag the next morning.

Which led to a perfect first day in London. Interested? Keep reading.

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