Today for some strange reason I got up at 830AM. Not sure why considering I went to bed late. I guess the jetlag has worn off. I really wanted to go back to sleep, but I just couldn’t manage to do so. So I laid in bed, updated my blog, watched some movies and eventually made my way down to the kitchen for some breakfast.
Today was also the day I was meant to meet up with my long time friend John Messer. John and I met in New Zealand, while I was studying abroad in Australia in 2004 and he was doing his gap year traveling around the world himself. This was my third time visiting him in the UK and he has yet to come to New York. He says when I get married he will come for the wedding, I am holding him to that promise.
After showering up and getting ready, I made my way down to Kings Cross Station to get on the tube. John lived in Southeast London, directly diagonally from where I was staying so it was going to take some time to get to his flat. He lives in the Hammersmith/Fulham area for those who are familiar with London. After getting off the 91 bus, which has become a bus I am quite familiar with, I got off at Kings Cross and made my way to the Picadilly Line (dark blue). I quickly realized that I did not have enough money on my oyster card (like a metro card) to get to John’s so I had to find a place to top up. Well since this is probably the busiest train station in all of the UK, the line to top up was huge. I am talking like a hundred people deep, and I was certainly not waiting on that line.
I had an idea to walk to another tube stop, top up there and then get transfer to the right tube line to get to John’s. So after asking a Constable (police officer), where the next tube stop was, and after him telling me it was merely 5 minutes down the road, I thought about it for a second, but then realized there must be another place in the station to top up and surely there was. This time the line was not nearly as long and I barely waited to top up my card, and even better I was able to go straight to John’s stop without transferring.
The ride on the tube took about 25 minutes, and then I had to walk about 15 minutes from the tube, to get to his apartment. I got directions by using google maps (what a fantastic travel tool). He lived on the third floor of a really old building with really old doors to each flat. There was a place for the mail labeled “letters” and the door knob was at my waist. He met me at the door and we embraced one another in a very manly way; hearty handshake.
He gave me the quick tour of his rather nice three bedroom flat. Him and his roommates really weren’t paying a whole lot for the place and it had a really nice common area (which could have become a 4th bedroom and wireless internet). After catching up for a bit, I tried to help John set up the wireless internet connection on his laptop but to no avail. He needed a new usb connector for his rather old computer.
I also had the honor of meeting one of his roommates, Russell. Russell went to Cambridge with John and was a little snobby, but very funny and animated at the same time. I liked him and bet he would be fun to drink and go out with. Tonight though would not be the night as John and his friends were taking a 7am train to Edinburgh tomorrow for New Year’s Eve, which should be a blast and since he had to get up real early, he wasn’t going out.
At around 6pm I decided to head back to Harriet’s. It was freezing out and I didn’t have my winter coat, but did have my fleece, hat and gloves, which held me over on my journey back to the tube. Once I got off the tube I was hungry and wasn’t sure if Harriet and the girls would be cooking, so I went to a rather nice and extremely Authentic Italian Restaurant. It was reasonably priced and I enjoyed the meal. As it turned out though the girls had cooked back home and I was persuaded to finish the last slice of this gourmet omelet that was absolutely delightful.
After dinner Harriet, I and the girls just chatted for a few hours until it was time to get to bed. I stayed up to try and watch the Syracuse Men’s Basketball game against Seton Hall, and while I managed to stay awake, the feed that I use online wasn’t working! I was so mad, but luckily someone posted a link to a radio feed. In the end I was able to listen to the game but was really tired and only managed to get through the first 8 minutes before I turned off my computer. Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve, not sure of my plans yet, Harriet and I discussed going down to the Thames to watch the fireworks, but it is supposed to be cloudy so we will see.
I want to wish all of my dedicated and not-so-dedicated readers a Happy and healthy New Year!
Talk to you in 2009!