Collected Experiences of first two weeks in London:

Day 1: 16-5-06

After a safe arrival, we have landed in Heathrow. We disembarked from our aircraft and moved through security, excited by the new smells, temperatures and sensations of our destination. After passing through security we were escorted outside and got on a tour bus hired to take us to our new accommodations. This bus ride was to be our first exposure to London. Riding the bus, new sights and sounds surrounded us. As I looked around I saw old brick buildings, stone, mason work, mixed in with new high-rises and steel, and everywhere about us, Green. The city around us is a wonderful change from the hot, dry desert of phoenix. Instead of the eleven shades of brown there are a million shades of green.

We made it to our accommodations and proceeded through the steps which would allow us to start to explore Chelsea and Kensington. After a brief tour and registration for the computer labs we were allowed thirty minutes for a quick meal and some exploring. My room-mate, William Cook, and I began exploring and four our way to The Prince’s Regent, a small pub right around the corner from our new lodgings. After a startlingly refreshing Guinness (Much better than the American Guinness) we were back on our way. We arrived at the university which is hosting us and geared up for a brisk walk to our orientation. After some quick speeches on safety, shopping, and the general expectations and areas in London we were released to find our way around and get a real dinner.
We returned to our room and grouped up with four others, and then we decided to head to the pub and look for some grub. When we left the apts. we discovered it was raining, much to our glee. Sadly by the time we made it to the pub we discovered that the kitchen was closed and had to change our plans.

We hiked down Gloucester rd. and made our way to a super market a little over three blocks away. After figuring out the cheapest alternatives for food we decided to head over to the counter and pay.

This was a nightmare. I having a debit card began to pay for my groceries. The Debit card my father had worked diligently to procure for me, free of fee’s and charges for overseas use incurred a flurry of angry questions from the teller and the involvement of the manager. The ATM/DEBIT card is in dad’s name, the signature on the back is also his. Because the signature is his and not mine, I am legally not allowed to use the Card. After telling the manager again and again that it was my father’s card and that I did not realize that it was a problem I was forced to pay using my VISA Chase credit card. I was told that if I tired to use the card again, it was illegal and would not be accepted. It seems from here on out I use Cash until I can figure out whether the charges are waived on my credit card like they are for the debit card. Despite being frustrating I know there’s a way around it.
We came home, and after some thought I continued on with the help of William and cooked penne pasta with an excellent tomato and herb sauce mixed with minced lamb. The meal was excellent and quite filling. Now I’m about to do some class work for tomorrow’s first class – 9:00am!