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11 September 2007

The Search for Internet

So this morning I embarked on a search for a place where I can get free internet. And I was successful, sort of. I had a list printed out (while I was still home in LA) of places in London with free WiFi. So I noticed that two of those places are really close to where I'm staying. So I went to check them out. The first place didn't have a good wifi signal, but there was a free internet cafe. So I surfed the web there for about an hour.

Next stop: Just down the street there's a library, part of the Wellcome Collection, that has free wifi throughout the building. It was annoying that I had to sign up for a library card in order to enter the library, they search your bags, and you have to check your bag in before entering the library. You can just go to the cafe though, but you're supposed to buy something to sit there and use the wifi. It's a nice place, very clean and modern.

Well I'm here now, so here's a recap of my journey yesterday:

The flight from LAX was good. No delays or problems. I got my student visa stamped going through immigration. I got my luggage and asked the information desk how to catch the tube into London. I lined ("queued") at the Underground ticket window and bought an Oyster card with a 1-week unlimited pass for all of zones 1 and 2 and a one-way ticket from Heathrow.

The tube ride from Heathrow to Euston was not bad; I was taking in every sight and sound the whole way. However, it was definitely a challenge to lug my luggage up several flights of stairs to transfer lines at Green Park. I didn't know that there would be so many stairs and no elevators (lifts)! I got off at Euston station, precariously pushing my two big pieces of luggage onto the narrow escalator, and I timidly asked the help desk for directions on how to essentially cross the street and walk down one block.

Arrived at the room where I'm staying and got settled in for a few minutes. I then met up with a family friend living in London, who walked me around some of central London. We walked around, heading to Soho, where we had dinner at a Portuguese chain restaurant called Nando's that specializes in grilled chicken. It was my first time having Portuguese food.

I bought a cell phone--excuse me, a mobile phone--from Carphone Warehouse. It cost 50 pounds ($100) with airtime included. Yikes!

We parted at Trafalgar square, and I continued exploring, walking to the Thames, seeing the London Eye and Parliament. I then took the tube back home, riding the circle line around back to Euston. I arrived around 9:30 and fell asleep shortly thereafter (which is remarkable considering the time difference!).

This morning I had breakfast at the hall where I'm staying. There are other EAP students there already too, but they are studying at other universities (mainly Kent and King's) and so they have their orientation going on now. I talked to some of them this morning.

Ok, I'm off to explore more of London now. It's a sunny and warm day today, which apparently is rare. I'll enjoy it!

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