Thursday, 30 June 2011

Holy Sphinx

There is one word to sum up today; Wow.
I started the day at the science museum. I thought that one day would do it..... naaaaah.  It was 1:00 pm when I got out of the steam section, and that was just the 1st floor. I didn't leave until they kicked me out. Even then I didn't have enough time.

From there, i walked to Harrods shopping centre. I wanted a 2nd jumper and a bowlers hat, (my Londony thing). I decided to start with some food at the food court. Clearly, i did not know what type of centre Harrods is. They have what i think is a food court, but all the places had a sign saying "please wait to be seated". I think i found a cheap dim sim somewhere, £10. I noticed a sea food place. The caviar (yes, they had 5 different types of caviar) was around £180. I should have been for-warned as the "food court" is in an amazingly decorated room. I decided not to eat at Harrods.
I walked from there to the watch shop. The best i found was a watch worth £68,000.  The place is not very easy to navigate, so i was getting a bit lost. I wound up in what appeared to be a pharaoh's tomb. No, this is the escalator. Well, i may as well go up.
I think i spent 4 hours hunting around, amazed at what was there, and who was there. I could tell who was rich. An amazing number of middle eastern families were there too. I eventually reached the top of the escalator. It was here i was confronted by a Sphinx. I actually found everything here, except the mens wear section. Turns out, that was in the basement. they had a half price sale on. Problem is, 50% of £160 is still more than what i can afford to spend on a jumper. The bowlers hat was £130. I left the place empty handed.
I wandered outside to find the expensive limousines, including a bright pink, left hand drive limo, with middle eastern number plates. The well to do people here somehow managed grid lock with only 12 cars. They took about 20 minutes to sort out their "grid lock", and not once, did they honk the horn.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011


Today was a quiet day in so I could organise some stuff with a couple of movies thrown In for good measure.
I have calculated the 1st weeks expenses to be just short of $500 aud. That puts me in the upper limit of my budget. Damn. I was hoping for a little less.
I had to switch rooms last night. I'm now on level one, on the top of a triple bunk. I preferred the dungeon. The "free WiFi" advertised for this place is a bit misleading. The WiFi is good, but the internet is so. slow it is almost non-existent. Back to McDonald's I spose. The showers get worse the higher up I go.

Monday, 27 June 2011


Why call this blog V? Because I somehow deleted it and replaced it with the letter V. Grrrrrrrrraaaaaaaaaaaaaag. Now I must rewrite. The cost of writing on a smart phone.
I have discovered an advantage of living in the basement; I can hear if the trains are running! The underground runs directly underneath.
The weather man reported 31 degrees today. Second day in a row. Apparently that is a heat wave! The hottest so far this year.
Bayswater subway sell halal meat. That's comforting to know. Not very relevant to me, but it is something different.
I took a stroll around Kensington palace. I have no photo of the building, but I did find a very curious little squirrel. He came right up to me, hoping for some food.
I saw a man basking as a statue today. When a coin was placed in his tin, he would do a little dance and slowly return to being a statue. That was alright, but more interesting was the man near him. He looked at me, then at his pad, back at me, then pad, me, pad, me, pad, then he turned the page. My glasses and wide brimmed hat must have caught his attention. His name is Aldous Eveleigh and he is doing 100 portraits every week for one year. I am in book 40.

The only other thing I did was an evening stroll around big Ben and district. The strangest thing there were a pair of scooters. The monument to the ww2 pilots was also amazing.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

The Royal Albert

I bid farewell to my kind hosts, took one last pic (below). The woman on the left is another pasporta servo guest, from France we surprised the couple by requesting a visit on the same day. Then I quickly walked to the station to try catch the train. I watched it shut its doors and drive away. Fortunately, I gave myself a spare 3 hours to get to my destination.

I arrived at "smart Hyde park inn" in plenty of time. The name is a bit deceptive though. This place is basic accommodation, but only 11pound. I am in the basement, and it smells like a basement. Pay extra for a lockable drawer. They do supply the electronic lock though. The beds make me feel like I am on cattle class in the hull of a ship (pic below). I am in the bottom left cell. The showers were weak with almost no hot water. They certainly spared the expense here. The place is comfortable enough though.

I had to cross Hyde park to get to the hall. The weather, being a rare occasion with pure blue sky's and 30°, had dragged all the bikini-clad woman and topless men out. There must have been one head per 2 square metre. Given the size of the park, that makes over a thousand bikini-clad girls! I thought it strange how they are out in swimmers with no water, But then I found a puddle of water, (pic below). Curiosity once again struck when I realised, nobody was swimming in said puddle of water.

The Royal Albert Hall is big. I was up the top getting dizzy looking down. I have seen this sort of place in movies before, but they don't compare to being there. The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra played 3 tunes, the last one I even new the name of; Oh Fortuna. I have never heard that piece in full before.

The return trip to base-ment camp took me along the serpentine; a long puddle of water. Still no swimmers, but plenty more..... oh, never mind. To the credit of the Londoners, the kids were playing in the Diana memorial fountain.


25/6. I woke up to a lovely Newbury morning. That makes it 2 mornings in a row! Lacking my cap, I was forced to use my wide brimmed hat. Ian asked me "kie estas viajn korkojn? To which I replied "mi ne havas gxijn" Surely the UK have wide brimmed hats, cxu ne? 
I found out there is the "Newbury coat" show in town. This is where a coat is made from sheep's back to completed coat in under 13 hours using traditional methods. Very interesting. The local farmer new a lot about the Australian sheep industry, although he is British. I saw another strange sign (below) in a location that does not appear very convenient. If I was in a traction engine, I would not see that sign down there.
After tagmangxo, they came out. I guess it was inevitable, being the homeland and all. But for some strange reason, I thought I could avoid them. I guess it is their nature, in their blood. The infectious disease that saw the English colonize the world. And with them came.......... The Morris Dancers! Totally unavoidable. (pic below). These ones were even more dangerous than the Australian variety as they dragged up poor unsuspecting kids for the last dance and tried to infect them with the Morris. Oh The Humanity!

After barely escaping with our sense of taste, we ventured down the canal. The canal boats were great; I would love a cruise in one of them. I would post a pic, but I nave none on my phone. We returned to the house through a field with waist high grass. My sense of self preservation kicked in and I immediately thought of snakes. Turns out, snakes are rare, and the most common is not poisonous.

Later in the day, I walked the town myself, looking for food. I came across 3 people drinking at the pub "the lamb". They responded in English! For a brief moment, speaking English felt strange. They informed me of a place called "Reo's" with the claim "probably the best flame grilled burgers in the south". (pic below) Well they can't be worse than what I had in London. I will give them a try.  Turns out, their good. Onward I dordle. There must be over 10 pubs in this town.
I return to the house, and, bonan nokton.

Getting lost with a map and an address

24/6/2011: Packing my bags, I discovered why the previous owner sold my big backpack to me for a bargan price. In other news, my sister will be happy to know, I have already used 2 cable ties....... now holding the shoulder straps of my bag on. I tried to find the hat I lost yesterday; I didn't find it.
I am back on the buses today. First observation, the light. Turns out, England does have a sun! First stop, the palace, again. This time to see the changing of the guards. The guards were alright, but the most amazing thing was the number and variety of people there. It was a game of spot the English speaker! Clearly royal families still have some interest left in the world.
Back on the bus for the next venue, the eye of London. This was truly an amazing sight. It was sooo big, it was incredible. The trip was worth it just to see it! No, I am talking about some oversized ferris wheel, I am talking about the line to get on! There is a permanent sign saying "half an hour wait from here", but the line continued on further.
From here was the boat trip, getting off at tower of London. I can almost imagine the building in it's heyday. I only had enough time to explore the edges before getting back on the bus and start travelling to my next bed. I tried to hire a bike to get back to where my bag was, but the payment system only accepts smart credit cards, and not magnetic strip. Poop. Train it is then.
Another train took me close to my pickup point. This is the point when I new I was in London. It is summer, the rain is falling (again), and everyone naturally grabs their umbrella! Everyone, except me. Well, when in Rome.....(or London). I now am the proud owner of a black and white pinstripe umbrella.
One bus took me within 500 metres of my destination, the London Irish association, where I will find the Esperanto meeting, and my contact. This is when the title of this blog becomes apparent. The map and the street address tells me the building should be here, but it is a block of flats. the street numbers are screwed up, and the street names do not make sense. I even got so desperate, I asked for directions. They all pointed me in the wrong direction. I found a pub and said I was really confused, so they gave me a business card........ with their address on it. Yeah...... great help fella's. after 2 hours, I finally found the place, on the diagonally opposite corner of the park. I finally met my contact: Ian and Helen.
The esperanto group here speaks only in esperanto! I tried my best, but often needed to use English. we then drove back to their place in Newbury , speaking Esperanto all the way. Wow, what have I got myself into? This is hard enough in an easy language. I would be very frustrated if it were a complex natural language!
Gxis la relego

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Wimbledon. Game, set and match!

Wimbledon, you win. You served up your finest. I hit back briefly when I found 2 nights accommodation, but you recomposed yourself. After some really bad McDonald's pancakes, and one morning of searching, all I found was 16 hostel's fully booked! I give up. I'm going country. Enter pasporta servo! "Saluton sinjoro. Cxu vi havas liton por mi?" Ok, I cheated, I spoke English. But I do have a bed for 2 nights :) just not in London. Last nights room mate was forced to take shelter on a mate's floor for tonight. For lunch I decided to grab a bar meal. Louise told me to buy a beer as well. The beer was good, but the burger left me longing for McDonald's, even after the insult to taste buds that was the pancakes. Turns out, the Brits do not believe in filling up burgers with bunny food! In the afternoon I finally got a chance to do the touristy thingy. I got on the open bus tour. I only got off once at Buckingham palace. I learnt something there I didn't know before; there is a queen Victoria monument in front, (photo below). The palace really does symbolise England very well; grey, dull and domineering, (but not boring). I got the last bus back home, but got off early at Royal Albert Hall. Then I purchased a ticket for the Royal Philharmonic orchestra. Oh well, guess I'm coming back on Sunday now. More fascinating was how specific British strictness was, pic below. I went to another pub for tea, hoping the poms were actually capable of cooking (pic below). This time both the beer and the meal was good! Even better, they had free WiFi. The WiFi connection was temperamental though. I successfully booked accommodation for Sunday and Monday through internet. That's right, I snuck in a sneaky hit without Wimbledon noticing :D I also used the other great feature of pubs; meeting people. Without even trying I have learnt where I might find a free tent, in London, and a pirate festival in Penzance on Saturday, Arrr

Monday, 20 June 2011

Flight to London.

I landed in London in one piece, and then it rained. The flight in Melbourne commenced nice and early; at the airport at 9:30 for a 12:30 flight. First purchase was a new wallet as the pound and the euro are too wide to fit in my normal wallet. Stulta paper currency! Oh well. This wallet has a security chain on it. I got to the desk and was put on a flight an hour early than planned; something bout an ash cloud caused virgin to advance some flights. We got out of Sydney with an hour before they closed the place. The flight was exciting, but that happens when I score a seat next to a cute girl. Her names Kate and its her third flight to the UK. I left the airport without properly planning my accommodation, bad idea. Almost all the accommodation centres are booked out due to tennis! I can tell this trip is going to be a challenge. I paid for a pee for the first time today. The sign said "self-cleaning" but I could still see a lot of the last user! I also found the Tardis (police box) for the first time. It is next to Earl's court station, near where I am staying. Gotta go make some calls for accommodation now. My current place runs out in 2 days. Let's see how well "passporta servo" works. (Its a bit like couch surfing). Hooroo.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

My house

This is my house. not very exciting, but it does give me the chance to practice blogging on my mobile phone.

Saluton Everybody

This is my first entry of my first blog for my first trip across the Equator to advance the first language that i have learnt (other than English). I am still packing my bags, and doing last minute preparations. I fly out on Tuesday at 12:15.
As this is trip is to improve my Esperanto, i will start by saying, mi estas tre ekscitata pri mia Eŭropa vojaĝo

Ĝis la revido