Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Saturday, August 11: Howdy, London

I arrive at Heathrow in the afternoon and manage to successfully purchase an Oystercard for the Underground and board the proper train. I had no idea it would be an hour and 15 minute ride from there. Better that way. By this point I am a little tired. For some reason the train car is filled with young men in their mid-twenties. The one next to me is reading The God Delusion. The one across from me is reading God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. Hmm. I’m definitely not in Boise anymore.

Hillary meets me at my stop and graciously lugs my suitcase up the final set of stairs to the street. We are staying with her friend Alain, who lives in a beautiful flat in East London. Check out the view from his balcony:

I was in pretty good shape despite my jet lag, so I joined Alain and Hillary for a night out on the town with a large group of his friends and acquaintances. The group had decided to visit a very touristy area right near where all the theaters are, with lots of bars and clubs. Never having been to London before, my notion of what the people would be like was only informed by books, movies, and magazines. Much to my surprise, the women looked like they were all dressed from cheap mall stores that cater to juniors. The whole feeling was very frat house/sorority. A lot of people were drinking cocktails, and the only beers in sight were Coronas. Alain’s friends were very lovely, but the club/bar we ended up in did not allow for much conversation. After a bit we went off in search of food and left the rest of the gang to continue drinking and sweating in the packed bar. I had the best falafel sandwich of my life. Accompanied by a Turkish beer, it was a perfect ending to a very long day.

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