London Trip, Day 1

01 Apr 2014

Note: This blog post has been manually imported from my old wordpress blog that I used to occasionally update in college

For most of the beginning of my trip, I was asleep. I had to wake up early to catch the bus to Indianapolis, and I ended up falling asleep while waiting for the bus. Luckily, I woke up in time to catch the bus, and as soon as I sat down, I passed out for the 45-minute drive, and someone had to wake me up to get me off the shuttle at the airport. Once I got into my gate, I went to sleep again, because I had around a 3 hour wait. My first flight to Chicago got delayed, which made me worry that I would miss the second flight. When I got to ORD, I got to take the shuttle bus for delayed passengers directly to my terminal, which was nice. I didn’t miss my second flight, and in fact, that flight got really delayed due to catering issues.

The flight was really nice, because it had free food, lots of movies, touch screen display things, and there was practically nobody on the place so I was able to sleep sideways. When I got to Heathrow Airport, I navigated out and went to the underground station, and took the subway to King’s Cross. I couldn’t use my credit card at automated ticketing machines because most credit cards in England use chips instead of the magnetic strip, so I got my ticket at the counter to go to Cambridge. Fell asleep again, but luckily woke up right at Cambridge.

It was very rainy in Cambridge, and because I only had a credit card, no British money, and had to catch a cab to Dominic’s house, but cabs only accepted cash, I ended up walking in the rain for around an hour and a half, looking for a place to exchange money. I eventually went to a Day’s Inn (referred me to a place I couldn’t find), Bank (they only exchanged for account holder), and then finally a post office, which exchanged my traveler’s check. Might have ripped me off a little, I got around 160 pounds for 300 dollars. I think I should have exchanged less money, but I didn’t really care at that point. With that, I got a taxi to Dominic’s house and briefly stayed there before heading out.

We had to find his lost ID card (which he needed to get into academic buildings) and get an air mattress he got for me to use. Cambridge is divided into ‘colleges,’ which are more like ‘dorms’ in the US. We passed one college called King’s College, which was supposed to have cows… but there weren’t any. We went to the math department (Dominic is getting his Master’s in Math), and his ID was in the lost and found. Then we walked around some more, and went to a pub where apparently the people who discovered DNA ate often, called The Eagle. I had this steak pie thing and an IPA beer.

There is this store called Argos, which is like what Amazon would be like if Amazon had stores. Dominic ordered the mattress online and we picked it up at the store. Then we went back and I almost fell asleep, but got back up to get coffee at an on campus cafe and a very normal-looking roast beef sandwich. Then we played pool; I lost the first two and won the third by default. Pool balls in England are much smaller than normal. Then I played chess against Dominic and lost, and we went to the computer lab and played this flash game called Pandemic 2. After that, we ate dinner at the cafeteria, which was chicken, potatoes, and rice. I talked to Dominic’s friends, most of which were foreign. There was an American (Math), Italian (Math), Portuguese (Theoretical Astrophysics), and Austrian (Economics). They are all very entertaining. After that I went to a pub called The Sir Isaac Newton to drink, ended up having 4 beers, then went back to Dominic’s room and slept.