Exploding Art Mimbulus Mimbletonia style

A blog by Julia Felix about experiences on the CAMS New Media in NYC and Europe study abroad program.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

For the sake of updating...

Okay, I haven't updated this in a couple of days for two reasons:
1. I typed up a whole post on Sunday night, and it was awesome, and while I was adding some final pictures to it the internet exploded and ate it. I was too angry to try again.
2. I spent all of Monday night on an airplane/in London.
3. Wait, there isn't supposed to be a third reason...

Well anyway, I'm here in London, and so I was bound to miss a day of updating the blog, just because of the time difference. It's about 11:15 am here (According to my computer it's 5:15 in the Midwest) so I was asleep last night when I usually post. Oh well.

So we got on the plane at Newark at around 6:00pm on Monday. For some reason, it took a really really long time for the plane to take off (a little more than an hour, I think) but that apparently was scheduled because we were still on time. I ended up sitting between Stacy and Jenny on one of those huge planes that I thought they'd invented for movies. It had three rows of seats with two aisles instead of two rows of seats with one aisle. WOW!!! Okay, it wasn't actually that exciting. It did have screens in the seats though so that we could watch movies. I think we watched X-Men 3.

After that, I get confused about what time it was. At some point (it might have been 9ish New York time???) we got "dinner." It was so incredibly nasty. Apparently it was Chicken Parmesan, although I couldn't really identify any sort of chicken or parmesan in it. It was just some kind of weird crusty brownish thing. And yet I ate it. I must have been hungry.

I tried to sleep after that, but I just couldn't. I wasn't really tired enough. Eventually we got breakfast, which was considerably better than dinner: a Croissant with jam and butter and some fruit. The fruit was kind of gross because it wasn't ripe enough. I knew I had to eat something with some kind of vitamin in it, and I tried really hard, but I couldn't. I'm sorry! We landed in London at about 6:45 am (London time), went through Customs ("do you plan on working while you're here?" "..............no?" "Good."), and got on a bus to go to the International Students House.

I could already tell I was in a bad mood when we got here (I was really really tired, and in need of some actual food), and it was not made better when we went out to get food. The exchange rate is horrible right now (I changed $40 and got 17 pounds back) and although everything here is priced like it would be in America, it's twice as much to us. Apparently the school didn't consider this when they gave us $25 for food everyday, so we only have 13 pounds per day for food, which is like having $13 per day for food in America. So, I ended up eating a nutritious lunch of...bread! Yes. I bought a muffin and a roll from a grocery store for about 65 pence. I was kind of hoping for real food, but there wasn't anything there really.

So I was kind of mad that I couldn't eat real food. We walked back to our new dorm place to eat, and found that there wasn't really anywhere good to eat our food. It was too cold outside to eat, we weren't allowed to sit on the stairs inside, upstairs had a nice place to sit down but food wasn't allowed in there and they kicked us out, the main floor had places where food was allowed but there was nowhere to sit, downstairs had a restaurant area (which was empty at the time because they were closed) and we tried to eat down there, but a guy came out and told us we couldn't eat outside food there and that we had to leave. Finally, we found the pub here, which was closed also, but we went in and ate anyway.

No one kicked us out (for once), but I was really upset about how rude everyone here has been so far. The only nice people we encountered yesterday were the IES people in charge of our group and (later) the lady who gave us a tour. Although now I think I understand why people always say Americans act like they should be "treated better than everyone else." It's because in America, we're actually NICE to people, regardless of whether we know them or not. No one here ever says "I'm sorry, you can't eat that here. I'll have to ask you to leave." It's more like "You can't eat that in here. Take it somewhere else." I think it's funny (and a little depressing) that just about 36 hours ago I was talking to a lady on the corner in New York who was telling me about how polite british people are. LIES!!!!

Yeah. It was about 1pm here, I had been up all night, the conversion rate was horrible, I had no real food, and I was realizing that I was going to be stuck in a place where everyone hated me for no reason for the next two weeks. That was pretty much it for me, and I just started crying in the middle of this pub while a bunch of people from my group were passed out on the couches next to me.

I finally calmed down a little bit, and found that they had all gotten up and left without telling me or saying anything........rage. But at this point, I was actually so angry that I couldn't be angry anymore. I guess it's kind of like when you break your let and you're in so much pain that you can't feel it. But that's not nearly the end of the story. We still had 8 more hours of stuff to do! Yay.........

We met up on the main floor here and had our rooms assigned. It turns out there were only 4 rooms for all of us. Two for the guys, and two for the girls. I was assigned a room with Stacy, Alissa, Rachel, and Caitlin. The rooms are pretty small, but our room isn't too bad otherwise. The other girls have their own bathroom, but their room also smells really weird and looks a lot more like a prison cell.

Afterwards, we walked down to IES London headquarters where we had a kind of orientation. I don't know, I was kind of out of it at that point. I don't even know how I got there. Afterwards, we got on a bus to take a tour of London. I don't know how most of this went, because I actually passed out (I didn't realize I was going to sleep, it just kind of happened) for most of the tour. Caitlin did throw something at me to wake me up for a minute while we passed Diagon Ally. I appreciated that, but then I went back to sleep.

We stopped at Buckingham Palace at some point. I was kind of just half asleep and walking, so I didn't really know what was going on and I didn't really care.

I slept some more on the bus, and eventually we got to the British Museum where we spent half an hour looking at stuff. I have some pictures of that because I was finally semi-concious, but I don't have enough time/battery power to post them right now. There were some cool things there (we saw the Rosetta Stone, those wall things from the Parthenon, and the Egypt exhibit), and I can write about them more when I go back there and look at them for more than two minutes.

We had some other kind of meeting afterwards where I was still falling asleep, and then IES took us all out to dinner at a nice Italian place. I had pasta (more bread!) for dinner. For some reason, IES thought it would be a good idea to order a ton of wine for everyone at the table. Everyone, except for me and a few other people, drank a ton of wine and got really drunk. Also, I think the people working in the restaurant were either trying to make fun of us, or be nice to us by playing a bunch of semi-popular american music like Hole and Greenday.

Afterwards, we came back here, checked to see if the internet in our rooms was working (wireless in the rooms! yay!) and then I went to sleep.

Nothing has happened yet today, but we're about to go out and get our passes for the subway. I'll try to update again tonight, and add some pictures to this, or I'll just update tomorrow morning.
Sorry, this was kind of a rant.


Anonymous Mararrrr said...

Welcome to the wonderful world of international travel :)

I'm sorry London sucks so much. Maybe someone kidnapped all the nice British people and replaced them with facsimilies from Madame Toussaud's? Perhaps your mission while in London is to save them. Maybe.

6:30 AM  
Anonymous Talia said...

The exchange rate actually sounds pretty close to when I was there. I should have gven you the leftover British money I have!

On Food in London, on a budget:

Make candy your main food. It's cheap and high in calories. It is also one of the few edible things they have around there.

In Canning Town (I cannot vouch for other places), what with it being a ghetto, you can find a cheap fried chicken and french fries meal for, when I was there, 1.50 (that's pounds.) It was covered in ketchup and vinegar to cover the fact that it doesn't taste like anything. I think there is other cheap food there.

You've also got the right idea with the bread. In Canning town, I could buy a loaf of bread for 60 pence, and that would be my food for the whole day. I got tea for free at my bedsit, and was happy since as you know that is my main beverage. You, I suppose, may have to splurge extra for drinks, but that can count as food as well if you drink juices. When I was at that bed and breakfast in Scotland that served orange juice in the mornings I remember I finally stopped getting sick.

You know, recently a study was done of the most and least polite cities in the world. New York was that world's most polite city. London was 10th. I recall Bombay was the least polite city in the world.

5:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bread has B vitamins and fiber. Don't feel too bad about eating it but go for the whole grains when you can. Europeans eat a lot of white breads and they've lived through it. Eat all the add-ons -- jams and crackers, etc., -- too. They're often full of pleasnat surprises and sometimes a little food value.
Water is hard to get, for sure, and is rarely free in Europe because they bottle everything drinkable. It's often not a good idea to drink tap water when you travel. You have have time to build up a tolerance to its peculiarities. Try to find something boiled or alcoholic that you can tolerate. When I was in Spain I drank coffee with lots of milk and sugar and you know I hate coffee. They had hot milk everywhere there and sometimes orange juice. Maybe you can find hot milk or something. It's more important than vitamins or fiber to keep hydrated. Solve that problem however you can. Drink weak tea or something. Really.
You'll feel better if you can stay fed and hydrated.
Stay smart!
- YoMama

8:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We-ell, I hope you like bread! You certainly talk about eating it a lot... <.<

9:23 PM  

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