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England Adventures Part I

2007-07-11 05:06

This'll be a summary of the first three days. I know, it's like, 3 weeks into England all ready, but this shit's pretty funny.  :P

It all began at 5AM on Wednesday June 20th, 2007. Sam and I woke up miserably. Then we proceeded not to sleep for 2 days. We had a shitload of luggage! But I'm getting to far ahead of myself.

We met up at 8:00AM in LAX. Finally said goodbye to parents and siblings at 9:00AM – much small talk after all – only to stand around for 2 hours inside terminal 22, where our flight was coming in. NWA flight 312. Once we got on the flight, we met this lady named Mary, who lived in Placentia next or near to the Wells Fargo thingie on Rose. We sat for 3 hours. Landed in Minneapolis and had about enough time to turbopee and run towards our next flight. Who knew they would be boarding 10 minutes after we landed?

So onto our second flight, which was the long ass 8 hour+ (with about 4 hours of night and 2 hours of intermittent sleep time) arch to England, which kept us close to land in case we started going down. Which obviously isn't the case as I'm able to write this now.

The longer plane had TVs for individual passengers (even coach), pillow, blanket, and an awful headrest that wasn't restful at all. Sam and I ended up perusing their free movie/music/plane maps. I watched a movie called “The Namesake” which was all right, I guess. Sam watched “Breach”, did not remember what she said about that so it must have been not that important.

When the airline served us food, there was a lot of it. Surprising. We both ordered chicken, and it wasn't terrible but it wasn't good. We met people (boys) from UCSB going to Sussex as well, and girls from UCLA and UCSB going to Spain. The flight was over soon enough, though sitting for 8 hours does no one any good. Also the lack of sleep would prove pretty frustrating. We landed in Gatwick, talked to the UCSB boys (one named Jesse) while we shuffled to get clearance with the passports/student visa. After that there was baggage claim.

Sam and I were not as exuberant as we figured we'd be once arriving in England – we were still in an airport and entirely lost as to what the bloody hell to do. After passing through customs and being thrown straight into the main airport, I tried to get change for pounds from 2 different stores, who both refered me to a third. I called and left a message for Kyaw Zyaw, whose phone number I nearly lost.

Sam and I traveled to the info booth and talked to a cute 30+ guy and booked a hostel for Friday and Saturday. By that time we spent 52.5 pounds already (not to mention the phone machine took up the entire pound I put in for a 30 second call :grumpy:. Next up was to find a buy a young person's railcard, which I needed a passport sized picture for, which of course I didn't have. 4 pounds gone there.  :(

Ticket bought to London Victoria, since I couldn't reach Kyaw Zyaw and since we needed a place to put our shitload of luggage. We needed trolleys, but they wouldn't let us take them to the train station downstairs, and the porters made me angry since they were adamant about “helping us” on the train, but Sam and I didn't want to spend more money than we already had to though the luggage was being rather difficult.

We missed the first train because we were slow. We ended up standing to protect our luggage. “Patience was wearing thin”, said Sam.

Once we got to Victoria Station we decided to chill for a bit. At that point we were probably awake for about a day. Whatever rest we got on the plane (2 hours max, remember) was unhelpful. I got this brilliant idea of strapping on Dad's squeaky rolley to the big rolley, and it worked for a while until we got to a ramp. Most of the Londoners thought we were retarded or something (or ignoring them, which wasn't the case. I'm just stiff and quiet when I'm tired).

One guy working at assistance helped lead me to a trolley to stack both Sam's and my packs to go to “Excess Baggage”, where of course I get into more trouble because I had a bag of food. (So did Sam, but they didn't stop her) The guy said he would store it on the promise that I would be there 24 hours later. If not they would throw it away! I still had clothes in there. He kept getting my “I can't store it here!” mistaken for “I'm NOT GOING to store it here!” I said I can't because I didn't think we'd be back in 24 hours.  :(

After that Sam and I went through the London Underground (a certain type of hell for a new tourist) to try to find the right connection to Birmingham to see Kyaw Zyaw. Apparently the directions from the travel info guy were wrong. And then the trains we got on to reach the right stop traveled in the wrong direction! Frustration to the max.

And once we got on the right national rail train, we were charged once more for having the wrong type of ticket.

But at least we got some rest on the train, even though our money (200 quid) was almost out all ready. Once we got to Birmingham, I tried calling Kyaw Zyaw again, but he said to go to Wolverhampton bus stop so he could pick us up there. I had the impression that he wasn't all that fond of talking to me, so I said “Sure, we'll meet you there.” But Sam and I just walked around Birmingham to take in the view, there are some pretty pictures in flickr if you'll head over there. We walked around for a bit, saw Victoria Square and finally got on a bus to head to Wolverhampton, though we had NO idea where it was.

At the Wolverhampton bus station, I called again and Kyaw Zyaw said he'd come to pick me up. We waited a good 30 minutes or so in the fucking cold! AAAhh. It started to rain, and then I finally see Kyaw running to us after Sam and I walked up and down looking for him on apparently the wrong side.

To give one of my Dad's best friends credit, Kyaw had a niece named Yolanda who I got mistaken for, and she knows her shit, so he was probably annoyed that I, the YOlanda, didn't know what to though she had been in Wolverhampton (I assume) many times. After he picked us up, he and his wife took us to a wonderful Chinese restaurant near their home and paid for our meal. They pressed us to keep eating, which I didn't mind since I figure it was a buffet and that I wouldn't be eating nearly as well when I got to Sussex.

After dinner, he took us to his home, which was pretty cute. His dogs were super cute. And I can dig a person who loves dogs. He let us call our parents from his phone, and I had to talk to Grandma, which meant nothing was really communicated. I gave the phone to Kyaw, who explained to her that I was all right. Sam and her parents talked for a while, and it was pretty much done. I took a much needed shower, and Sam and I headed off to sleep, real sleep!

When we woke up in the morning, the Zyaw family treated us to a mini English Breakfast. And then Kyaw gave me his daughter's former cell phone so I could use it. He even paid for my calling card, which was super nice and I don't know how to pay him back. :sad: I just gave him a box of chocolates that my family wanted to give to his. He packed some water bottles for Sam and I, as well as some drinks, and I forgot to pick up the bag of candy he had ready for us O_o

Though he wanted us to stay a bit longer so he could show us the sights around his place, we had a deadline with the fucking London Excess Baggage company. Past 2:45pm I thought my bag would be trashed. So we hopped train stations to get back to London and ran to the place storing our baggage, to get it JUST in the nick of time.

And then we decided to go to our hostel using a taxi. I lost another quid because the cart thingie “costs” that much. :(

I'm going to stop here for today 'cause it's already past midnight and I just done fisiks.


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