Thursday, January 8, 2009

First 24 Hours


The First Day Of My Life - Bright Eyes

Fragmented thoughts as recorded in my moleskine notebook...

Listening to "Far, Far Away" by Wilco and "First Day of My Life" by Bright Eyes while sitting at the British Airways departure gate, looking at the plane.

Middle seat is open...wait.

Girl sits down with big pillow. UNC student headding to Sevilla for the semester. Noticeable southern drawl.

In-flight entertainment:

Featured Pop/Rock album: Beck - Modern Guilt. Listening while reading Uncut (British music magazine).

Simpsons episode - Sideshow Bob's extended family caper

Dexter

Dog Day Afternoon

(pause)

"Pre-dinner drink?" Heineken.

Dinner: Grilled chicken, penne pasta, spinach, small salad with balsamic vinaigrette

Another Heineken

Dessert: Apple crumb cake, kit kat, hot tea.

Snooze

Resume Dog Day Afternoon

Arrive in the dark; 6:35 A.M. Leave plane via external stairwell. Crowded, silent bus to the terminal.

Through customs in 2 minutes.

Hour tube ride with a transfer, taxi to hotel in Westminster.

Early check-in, basement breakfast: cornflakes, warm milk, tap water.

Pass out for 5 hours.

Shower, coin-operated email at Days Inn across the street.

Light dinner at coffee shop a few blocks from the hotel: chicken, bacon, butter on a baguette with hot tea. Somewhat hard to stomach.

Pick-up a 4-pack of Stella pounders, nuts, Head & Shoulders, Dove soap.

Tired.

Lying in bed; beers, nuts, and BBC news. Captain of national cricket team resigns, everyone is up-in-arms.

Later that night...

Wandered around for a half-mile or so surrounding the hotel eyeing pubs.

Settled at Prince of Pimlico. Pint of Carlsberg - 3 pounds.

Sat in near-silence with a group of men and teenagers watching Man U - Derby game on huge plasma. A pair of hyper-euro cougars hang on the bar.

Now I'm staying two nights at the Citadines hotel in Kensington. Spent the afternoon pricing pay-as-you-go cell phones and drinking pints with a faction of the people in the program. Penn State seems to dominate the scene, but I'm here to meet new people.