London, Day 2 I arrived yesterday morning and, apart from a vague eye infection, I'm fine. The weather is actually incredible--sunny, warm, not humid. The flight with Air Transat was worth the discounted fare I paid. No, they don't give you pillows or blankets (that's for first class). No, there is *no* protein in the *meal* they serve you (I bet first class got some chicken or something). But the pilots are competent (we didn't get lost once) and the plane looked newish. I'm glad I'm a small person, because lack of leg room doesn't really concern me. The lack of pillow made me buy one of these neck pillow things from Muji, a chain that sells fun Japanese things, for the return trip home. Happily, there was no one in the seat beside me, so I contorted myself into all kinds of positions throughout the flight, all of which gave me really sore muscles today. Getting from Gatwick to central London is the easiest thing in the world. You get off the plane and you get on a train. The train takes you to Victoria Station, where you get on the underground, which takes you to your hotel. If your luggage is on wheels, it's like doing the commuter things from the suburbs. And it's cheap! It took me all of 45 minutes to get to my hotel. Aeorports de Montreal, est-ce-que vous ecoutez? While on the Gatwick Express, I struck up a conversation with a young man and his mom. Originally from Columbia, the son was teaching his mom how to use their matching cel phones. He runs a cafe for some guy from Vancouver. They were so sweet: they made sure that I safely navigated through Victoria station to the underground. His mom kissed me goodbye on the cheek. Finding my hotel was not too much hassle, though I did get lost (I really *do* have no sense of direction). An italian delivery man pointed me in the right direction. It's notable that London's immigrants are the ones who lent me a helping hand. My hotel is very small, right opposite the University of London. I think I have the smallest room in all of London. It contains a small single bed. And a floor. It also has it's own bathroom with shower, which actually has more floor space than the room itself. But, if I stick my head out the window, I can see the gardens below, and I hear the birds every morning and every evening. Once I arrived, I took a shower and decided to explore the area around the hotel. I walked down Gower Street (which turns into Bloomsbury), past the British Museum, to Oxford Street. I walked east a little bit, hoping to find something to eat. I found a small Italian Cafe, where some sweet ladies made me a prawn and avocado salad. I ate it outside and it restored my energy level somewhat. I was trying to stave off the jet lag and stay awake for as long as possible. Since I was on Oxford street, I decided to explore it. It's like Montreal's Ste-Catherine Street, with biggish department stores (Selfridges and Marks and Spencers) at one end, and lots of stores leading west. The shops catering to younger women were full of peasant stuff. Poufy blouses, billowy skirts, elastic everywhere. This style was ubiquitous. I think young women will regret their purchases next summer, as they'll look completely dated. One or two pieces, yes. A whole outfit, no, unless you like looking like someone in a 60s period piece dressed by a very bad costume designer. Met quickly with my friend B, who works with Framestore (the people who brought you Walking with Dinosaurs and Dinotopia). We'll be getting together later for a proper English pub crawl. He's warned me about the broken glass. Bought dinner at Marks and Spencers takeaway and ate it picnic style on my bed. I fell asleep at around 8:00 p.m. Woke up this morning at around 6:30 a.m. Waited an hour for breakfast to be served. Was served a large egg, a sausage, two pieces of fried ham. Toast. Instant Coffee. Juice. Enough to keep me going for the day, I think. Off to the British Museum. More tomorrow.

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