I finally have internet access! (ok how typical is it that that's the first thing I write?)
Anyway, I'm safe and sound in the UK and I already have so much to say! Unfortunately I seem to have misplaced my camera cable so no pics right now. In the meantime, this is the first part of a series that is yet to be named. It covers my arrival and I wrote it while sitting in a Starbucks-like shop in Reading. I hope to update a lot more soon.
The plane ride over left much to be desired. While waiting to board, there was a baby screaming his head off at the gate. I could tell that everyone waiting for the same flight were praying to the diety of their choice, hoping that they wouldn't have to sit near the brat. God must have been checking my attendance cause he ended up in my cabin.
He quieted down eventually but the next thing to plight me was that the airplane's interactive console system was down. Lots of people told me about this thing and I was looking forward to playing with it. Instead, I had to resign myself to watching Crazy Tom in MI3.
Finally, I got my first experience with the differing view of "personal space" in Europe. I was in the middle row with a seat between myself and my nearest neighbor. Sometime in the middle of the flight I uncannily felt intrusion of personal space and woke up to see that my neighbor had decided to take advantage of the empty middle seat and lie down so that his head was practically on my lap. Indeed.
JD had arrived on another fight and I met at the Hertz rental station and so we had our first experience with driving in the UK. Let me tell you, those roundabouts they warn you about is only the tip of the iceburg. There's hardly any traffic lights and no stop signs at all, just "give way" signs which are sort of like 4 way "california stops". And by the way, "give way" only applies to other cars, they will NOT give you any way if on two feet. Be thankful I had to get honked and flipped off at to bring you that lesson of the day.
Oh, and for all the complaining about how the US needs to be on the metric system, it took JD and I a while to figure out that everything is in miles per hour and short distances are given in yards.
By the time JD dropped me off a my hotel (the Lismoyne) (not as nice as it looks) we were both a little loopy and starving and went hunting for food in the center of Fleet. Fleet's town center, it turns out, is just a street about a mile long. We walked about a quarter mile before giving up and we ended up eating at McDonald's. Yes, my friends. I move all the way to England and my first meal was McDonald's. Freaking A. At least I got a menu item I had never seen in the States, a grilled veggie sandwich. It was... interesting.
Even though I was completely exhausted, I was determined to get over jet lag pronto so I stayed up as long as possible (til about 11pm) (I mean 23:00) watching British television. Did you know they play an awful lot of American shows here? I ended up watching Third Watch, which I never saw while living in the States.
In summary, on my first day of my new life in a different country, I ate McDonald's and watched Third Watch.
Coming up in the next installment: Grocery shopping, watching the football, and the British must be fantastic at Scrabble.