- My Spanish is helping me make friends as much as my English. So far I've met an Argentinean, an Angolan-Cuban, several Mexicans, and an elderly couple from Madrid visiting their doctoral student daughter in London. I love talking to random Spanish-speaking people. Their surprise at my language skills turns into delight after a few seconds and they're always so warm.
- I had my first skirmish with one of my hostel roomies. What happened was, she was reaching for the bathroom door and wanting to use the toilet just as I unlocked it after taking a shower. When the door opened, she thought mistakenly that I had left the door unlocked and said to me condescendingly, "This is a hostel, love. Lock the bathroom door if you don't want anyone going in." As she said this, I could smell the booze on her breath. She stalked away and I closed the second door that partitions her part of the room off from mine so I could change. I was almost done when she knocked. I said, "One sec"--and then she barged through in a huff to the bathroom. When she came out, she gave me this passive-aggressive apology along the lines of "I'm sorry if you were under the impression that this is your private room." WTF? Who does this drunken bitch think she is? I puffed up and said, "Listen, what happened was you reached for the door just as I unlocked it. It was locked the entire time. We can chalk it up to a coincidence of bad timing. And I'm not under the impression that this is my private room. I closed the second door because I was changing and our male roomie was on his bunk!" She probably thinks I'm a spaz now but whatever. Ironically, that morning--before the skirmish--she called me "the most considerate hostel person" she's ever met. It'll be good for her to learn that even the most considerate people have their limits.
- On the flip side I may have made an Aussie friend out of a different hostel roomie. She'll be in town in NYC when I'm there; maybe she'll join me for Halloween shenanigans!
- Not all musicals are created equal. I sprang for a ticket to The Phantom of the Opera because my experience with Wicked had been so outstanding--and I ended up hating it! So much, in fact, that I left during intermission and didn't return. I wasn't the only one. Some muttering Japanese tourists were right in front of me.
- I'm unintentionally saving money due to an overbooked itinerary. Often I'm rushing from one destination to another with not much time to sit down and eat a proper meal, so I opt for the ready-made sandwiches at the Pret sandwich chain and Marks & Spencer food shops. The more I learn about Pret, the more I love them. They use fresh, locally sourced ingredients and always make their preservative-free food on premises. At the end of the day, any uneaten food is donated to affiliated charities and shelters.
- The Tower of London. Wow. It's strange to be touring a building that's been there since 1066 and the site of so many executions of well-known historical figures.
- Westminster Abbey. Double wow. I loved finding all the plaques commemorating writers that I studied in the Poet's Corner.
- Europe is best done when you're young and a student. I still have my university student ID and it's valid until 2011, so I've been using it to get student discounts at the attractions I've gone to so far.
More Random London Notes
Posted by Lisa