2005-08-12: Come all ye scholars
Our first full day in England began with me turning off the alarm without even being aware of it. The night had been sticky and humid. The English love their heaters but don't seem to understand air-conditioning. I grabbed my first shower where I had to learn a new interface to turning on taps of hot and cold. One tap has numbers, the other a pressure slider. I haven't figured out what number is hot and what is cold, and if they even have any effect.
We had our full English breakfast, a mess of hash browns, bacon, eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes, toast and baked beans. We ate all we could, any food now has to last us a long time. Not wanting to walk to Oxford and not knowing any other routes we caught a taxi back into town.
We went into Oxford. We looked at the transportation options available to us and got used to the layout of the town. We did a little house hunting in case we had problems with the Swindon agent. By lunch time we had got mobile phone numbers and finished all we could do. So we did some sight seeing on the cheap. We'd already walked around the town streets. We shelled out the 5 quid to go into the Oxford botanical garden. That was mostly a waste and would have been better spent on hiring a boat and punting along the stream (the upper reaches of the Thames). We took some photos of some of the big buildings but didn't spend the fortune required to walk in them. We did pay to go up to the top of one church tower and got a decent view of all of Oxford in doing so.
I got a Vodafone mobile number. This may be a temporary number until I get a new one through Global Career Links.
An old library of Oxford
That Friday night we had our first McDonalds' for the trip and then got some instant noodles for later. While at McDonalds we did some crowd watching. The people just looked like any university crowd though probably with a more even mix of ethnicity than Australia (which is predominately white or asian). Edyta argues that the kids are more mature and edgy, I offered the counter point that they were still just young punks. Especially as one lot in the restaraunt were playing the crazy frog song from their mobile. On leaving I'd commented that the people don't wear trackies as much, and then Edyta and I immediatey started playing "spot the trackies". It didn't take more than a few metres to get bored of the game and prove that I was wrong, people can wear trackies anywhere in the world (though not with as much flair as a pure bogan).
A view over Oxford, taken from the top of an old monastery
That night we took the bus back to Bletchingdon and walked back to Heathfield Village. This was a two mile hike down the "road of death". We had to pop into an old English pub to get directions (left or right?). The road was easier to navigate when we could safely leap into the poison ivy and brambles because of our suitable footwear. We spent the night in our room, rueing that the dishes hadn't been taken away and cleaned for us.
After all of the days walking sleep came easily again.
Edyta by the gentle Thames River
Edyta by the English icons
Christ Church in the background