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Wednesday, Nov. 7th, 2001
When I woke up on Wednesday I felt a lot better, more settled in and rested up. I had breakfast and rode the subway to the Imperial War Museum, which I had visited two years ago, but had only seen about half of.
This time I knew where all the cool stuff was: downstairs, hidden in two unmarked basement floors. They had tons of posters, equipment and maps about famous battles and personalities. The best stuff was from World War 2, but they had a great set of
propaganda from the Korean War. They had Propaganda that British dropped on North Korea, and they had the
propaganda that the North Koreans dropped on British Troops. One leaflet had 5 tips for surviving the war, like "stay towards the back of the troop, the ones in front get shot first" and "try to avoid going on watch, that is the most dangerous thing for you" It was pretty neat, to see what tactics the Koreans used, and creepy to see it printed in English.
I also enjoyed the "London Blitz experience" where I sat in a fake cellar and the ground shook.
Next I walked around aimlessly until I noticed a homey eatery. I ordered Shepard's Pie. The woman taking orders seemed pissed off about something, but I don't know what. I ate and left.
I made a note of what underground stop was closest to the London eye, and then went to see the
Millennium Dome. The Millennium Dome is not that big. It is pretty wide, but the white skin is only about 3 stories tall in the center, although it does cover a lot of ground. I was also disappointed that I couldn't get inside, or even near it, because it was surrounded with fences. Apparently it is only used for big events from time to time, and the rest of the time it just kind of sits there vacant.
I went back towards the center of London and wandered more, eventually stopping in at the British Museum and seeing the new enclosed courtyard. There was basically a huge ceiling far above the stone courtyard, with a large round library in the middle. It was nice. It was strange that the best thing in there was the ceiling.
I met two of my roommates back at the room and we talked for a while. Elena is French and Daniela(?) is Italian. I sold them some cigarettes and I watched them eat a sad dinner. Almost everyone here is French or Italian or Spanish, looking for a job and learning English.
After that I hit the streets again. This time I walked too far, got lost and ended up walking in the rain for about 20 minutes. It sucked.
This was my first look at the London Eye
The outside of the Imperial War Museum
This guy is ready to host his own trophy night
This target Airplane was towed on a wire to teach anti-aircraft gunners to lead their targets
Dioxin protest outside Westminster Abbey
The slightly impressive Millennium Dome
Lattice roof of the British Museum Courtyard
Inside a car of the Orient Express Exhibition
Planing the chopping block at a Chinese restaurant
Laughing at their pitiful dinners
Thursday, Nov. 8th, 2001
On Thursday I woke up at a relatively early 8am and made my way to the London Eye. The weather was pretty crappy, windy and cold with a light rain. The website for the London Eye had been very particular about how hard it was to get tickets and that I should definitely be there 20 minutes early. Of course there turned out to be no rush whatsoever, and there were only about 3 people going in each glass capsule. Nevertheless, is was a really neat ride. Rising very high over the city, right on the river Thames. A helicopter even buzzed us. They didn't want to call it a "Ferris Wheel" so they made up some lame name for it like "viewing wheel". Of course, then they had to say it was the biggest "viewing wheel" in the world, which is even more stupid. At the top, the wind was blowing really hard, so that the water droplets streamed off of the glass, like when you are driving in the rain, or going through the carwash.
Next I rode around on a double-decker bus for about an hour, got something to eat and went shopping at
Harrods for thermal underwear. They didn't have any, and neither did anywhere else. I eventually started asking around, but it turns out that "thermals" are some kind of sports pants here, so I was coming up empty handed.
When I got back to the room, I sold some more cigarettes and got invited out by Elena to a pub to meet some of her friends. We went to a place called the Elbow room and played pool until they closed (11 pm), then we went back to our hostel's little nightclub and had a couple more.
I also managed to sell all eleven of my remaining cigarette packs, accumulating a total of 30.5 pounds, or US$45.75. This was a profit of $12.75, and people were VERY happy to get them at the fine black-market price I was giving.
The view in Camden Town
Arriving at the London Eye
Above the city
The view down inside Westminster Abbey
Look at me, king of my capsule!
Harrods at Knightsbridge
The slant-benches in the underground
Elena and the multi-national entourage