2005-08-15: To London, To London, to travel on a bus
Bright and early this morning we left for London. A little too early, for it seems I accidently adjusted the clock and not the alarm the night before. This gave us time to sit down and eat cereal and toast for breakfast (we had to leave too early to wait for them to make a cooked breakfast for us). I missed my shower due to impatience again. I set the dials for the shower and had nothing but cold. So I sprayed myself in deoderant and moved on to shave. The water was barely luke warm. Later Edyta tried and found all the water was hot. I guess water is only hot after a certain hour over here. We had our last expensive taxi ride and trip into picturesque Oxford.
I discovered we did have mobile coverage at the Oxfordshire Inn when I walked outside and my phone beeped. Seems that the coverage is fine out there, it is just that the building walls are to thick to let in a decent reception. I had my first SMS! It was Kelly apoligizing for her phone dying last night. Since then I've had far more messages from Vodaphone telling me of all their wonderful services.
England's cabs aren't like Australian ones. The front is fully separated from the back by a perspex screen. You can set up the screen so the driver can't listen to you. The doors are locked while the car is driving or the brakes are on. The taxi is roomy in the back, there is space for three and fold down seats for another two. It is a little awkward to stand up in to fish out your wallet to pay the guy through a little hole in the perspex before he'll unlock the doors for you. (Not all taxis require you to pay first and one taxi we where in didn't even have the screen).
Government building and coloured jumping castle
This building has been seen before
From Oxford we loaded up onto another bus. We had two loaded hand luggage bags, an over stuffed suitcase and a barely full suitcase. The (not) empty case is to be filled up in Poland. The bus was a luxury ride, there were toilets and seats and electricity. Edyta and I sat up the top floor and at the front, where it was somewhat spooky seeing buses tops coming at you and the buildings only inches away from the edge of the bus (and just as amazing seeing all the cyclists risk life, limb and potentially our travel time as they rode between all of these buses).
Once at Victoria station in London we had to find a taxi. After walking the long way around the building carrying very heavy cases we got into a taxi and took off to the hotel. Once at the hotel we dumped the bags and rushed off to the underground to get a train into the heart of London for my appointment. Luckily riding the tube is a wonderful experience, an easy to follow train system that is always running and fast. In your face Sydney rail network!
The appointment was just a rehash of what I've read and heard before. I did get to listen to a Kiwi giving the speech this time (yus, sweet as bro', it was choice). Edyta had wandered off during my interview, and this was our first time apart since getting here. Her phone hasn't been activated yet and she had no money, so I don't think she could get into too much trouble.
I wore a tie in London
Once I was done Edyta turned up on cue. We jumped on a tourist bus and travelled some of the highlights of London. We did jump off to ride along the Thames for a bit. However the tourist bus is mostly usefull for getting from one sight to another, from the back of the bus you couldn't get good photos or appreciate what was happening. We did get to find that to go to the toilet it costs 50p (not a bad price when in desperate need of a pee), but the real trouble is finding one in London. You also can't throw rubbish away, as there aren't any bins to do it in (yet the streets are surprisingly clean).
At the end of the day we caught a very crowded tube home. Within seconds of being squeezed in through the door I was drowning in the humid sweat of so many unwashed bodies (mine included). I was also edging backwards to avoid having the door cut my head off when it was closing.
Off the tube we met up with Kelly, made some jokes about Michael, and then handed off the overloaded bags to her and her boyfriend Dave to take back to their place.
We go off to sleep now, for tomorrow is the trip to Poland, and Edyta is so excited at the prospect of all the purchases she will be making that I think we shall need another two bags to return. And after we get back we then have to move all of our stuff to Swindon by train and then from there up the hill to our temporary bolt hole.