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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

To London

Woke early, had breakfast, did last minute packing, took a shower and got to train station and boarded the train to Marleybone which was sitting in the station. The ride to London was about two hours and we passed some lovely landscape. By the time we arrived in Marleybone, at noon, every seat was filled and people were standing. I got my tube back to Kennington, picked up some lunch and proceeded back to the B&B and had lunch in the garden. While eating lunch I looked over the bus map and decided to explore the White Chapel area of London. I took a bus to Elephant and Castle, aught another bus to Bank, and then another one into the heart of the East End.

Riding these buses has given me a whole new look at London. Once we left Bank we were immediately in another world, a very diverse world mostly Muslim. The signage was in both Arabic and English. The markets were South Asian, the people were dressed in different forms from women fully covered to shorts. English was not the language of the people on the bus. At one point, the bus was boarded by policemen who checked everyone's bus pass and pulled a couple of people off who had not paid their fare. This was a bus that allows people to board at three spots and uses the honor system. These buses are controversial for this reason of cheating but also because they are just too long, they are double length.

After that excitement, I noticed one college after another. The College of Finance, The London College of Accounting, The Technical Institute of London and so on. The bus was slow going so I got off at Stratford and caught a bus back to the City Of London, but not before stopping in a pub for a half. I was definitely in the styx as Young's was a guest ale, but I did spy a bitter I hadn't tried, Toad Bitter, so I got a half. While there a man, quite obviously a street sleeper, came in to use the toilets. There was a sign clearly posted on the door stating, the toilets were for patrons only because of the abuse of the use of the toilets. The gentleman left, but returned after having a conversation with a lady outside who must have given him more courage because he and she stormed back in and headed straight for the toilets. The barkeep a young lad called his boss who came down in a few minutes and called the cops. I left.

I knew I was back in The City of London when people getting on the bus were in suits. Quite the line of demarkation. Since it was getting late, I decided to grab a Northern Line Train to Kennington and head over to the Black Prince for dinner. I met another young couple who had just come back from Scotland. They had been in Uig at the same time we had been. As we exchanged our adventures there, they accounted how they had rented bicycles and had taken a ride that they misjudged and left them on the Quatraing late on Saturday night in the rain. Suddenly I remember passing a couple of people on bikes on that very and only road over the Quatraing that Saturday evening as we were returning to Uig after that very disappointing dinner. Small world indeed, here in the Black Prince where the bartender knows the lads of Hibernia in NYC. As we were speaking of Oysters, another couple joined in since they had just come back from NYC and had spent a great afternoon at the Oyster Bar in Grand Central. Finally the conversation got us to the Wright Brothers Oyster house and all agreed it was the best in London. It was getting dark and chill and we all retired to the innards of the pub. I watched the beginning of the Open and then left for home. It was 10PM and I had been up since half six this morning and done more than I needed to do on vacation.

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