London/Cambridge, Day 7 Before describing my day, I have to rant a little about the public phone system here. It sucks. My hotel has a public phone (non BT) that requires you to put money in some time after the person answers, which coincides with a little light going on. I fucked up. I missed my cue. I gave up on that phone and found a box that was clearly marked "Cards and Coins", meaning it should take both money and either a phone card or a credit card. First, try finding a bleeping phone card. I can find International cards, but few people sell BT phone cards. It's hit or miss whether my credit card works. Booths sometimes won't take coins, though they say they do. So I carry a lot of change. You need to, as you are charged for the amount of time you are on the phone. I can't tell you how often I've been cut off because I didn't put money in on time. And I roam from booth to booth trying to find the perfect match between me and the phone system. Unlike North America, where it's dead simple to rent a temporary cel phone, here it's quite difficult. I miss my cel. I miss being able to make a phone call from any booth and talk as long as I want for a quarter. I caught the train to Cambridge yesterday from Liverpool Street station. It was a milk run route that took me through some fairly non-descript villages, but the countryside got prettier and prettier the further I got from London. I arrived just after lunch and walked from the station to the centre of town (about a fifteen minute walk). Cambridge being a very green space, I figured I'd find a little park to eat the cheese and fruit I'd brought with me before exploring Cambridge proper. There was a little common (behind the bus station, I learned later), and I sat down on a bench. An older gentleman sat down beside me a few minutes later. He started talking to me ("Where you from?" "Oh really? Oh my parents went to Niagara Falls. Is that near where you live?" "You have nice hair."). He had that English drawl that I usually associate with groups of older English women (think of Monty Python's Diesel Engine skit), that made him sound either very patient or very simple. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, I was polite, but each question made him inch closer and closer to me. Sensing danger, I stood up and said that I must be going. He held out his hand to shake mine. I'm such a polite Canadian girl, I shook it and then he kissed my hand. Ewwwwwwwww. Before delving into Cambridge's architecture, I figured I'd look in some of the shops. I reckoned it was a good time as any to get undies from Marks and Spencers. I choose some panties and a few bras to try on. When I got to the changing room, the lady asked my if I wanted to try on the "knickers" I had in my hands. That word just makes me giggle. So, yes, I bought some knickers, but no bras. I wandered around Cambridge, whose centre is incredibly tiny. The various colleges and chuirches are impressive, but I think I was a bit touristed out and only took interest in the statue of Henry VIII with a bunch of pigeons on his head. I was to meet Lisa at about 6:30 at the Border's book shop cafe (yes, it's a Starbucks). I got thare about 45 minutes early, so started reading abunch of celebrity biographies (Cybill Shepperd, Madonna) and then switched to really big book on the history of hacking, which had a CD-Rom of all the postings the author had collected since the mid-seventies on phreaking (phone scams) and hacking in general. Geek heaven! I had no problems spotting Lisa right away. I was busy cleaning tables at Starbuck's when she walked in (the tables were a mess, they had run out of cups, the guy behind the counter couldn't identify the mint tea in the tea caddy...sheesh!). We chatted for a bit and then headed down to Jesus Green for the Cambridge Beer Festival. A bunch of her friends were there, including Jack and Heather, Jim (of "curse you, Jim" fame), Mickey, and a bunch of other people whose names I can't remember (and I only had 2 pints!). It was good fun standing about, "taking the piss out of one another" and balancing cheese plates in one hand and a beer glass in another. Lisa, you're a fun and beautiful gal, and I definitely will spend more time next time. Alas, I had to be back in London today. The train ride home was uneventful, except for the two men (unrelated) who picked their noses the whole ride home. The train took a slightly different route back, as it was heading for King's Cross and not Liverpool Street station. We passed through two villages that my parents lived in for a while--Hitchin and Stevenage--and it was unexpected to see these familar names on railway station signs. I'm proud to report that I sucessfully negotiated my way back to my hotel, which is conveniently located next to several stations on the Northern line. Get this: This line is actually two lines, which meet at Euston Station. I easily found the *other* Northern line, but wonder why they simply don't call it something else. Taking it easy today. Just going to wander around and then hook up with some friends later today. I'm just going to let London happen to me. p.s. Thanks for the emails! I enjoy getting them!

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