They drive on the left and walk on the right...
Dawn was till early, but after waking up at 4:00, I managed to go back to sleep, so it wasn't as bad as the day before.
Trip planning is stumbling along. There are so many places to go, and only so few weekends, and not all that much money.
I stopped at a pub with a few other Yanks, and laughed along with a Welshman who is in country for six weeks. He was a pretty funny guy, even if could barely make out half of what he was saying. After I nursed my half-pint away, it got increasingly more uncomfortable for me there. I tried to throw in for the next round, and they declined (They are correct on principle, btw: If you aren't drinking, you can't chip in for the next round.) Shortly after that I found an excuse, and walked her to the next pub. A couple blocks up the street I ran into two girls from my Shakespeare class, and walked them back up to King's Head before turning about again and coming back to the lab here.
Earlier this evening I made some progress on a few fronts finally. I found the newsagent, post office, and convenience store. I picked up a Week and an Economist (the tabs' covers were all really lurid, which does seem a silly thing to say, but I looked at least half a dozen of them and none were to be found that hadn't either the words "rape" or "sex", or just a nude picture of Brittney Spears. I do want to explore the magazine selection some more. I wasn't able to at Walmart (Asda)...), and was finally able to get some phone cards, so I called Mom at the office and spoke for a few minutes at not quite full duplex. The convenience store has computers on the Internet for hire (1 £ an hour) but I am unsure if I'll be able to jack in there. . .
The language barrier is quite strange. I'm not talking about the Chinese or the Russians (well, it sounded Slavic anyway) but the locals. Middle-class English accents aren't all that harsh by any means. I can usually make out every syllable and construe the meaning with some reliablility. The real trouble is when I try to speak to them. Particularly in the convenience store, it seemed easier to stick to numbers and pointing, followed by handing money. When I show up with my laptop, I'll find out if I can jack in. On the way out of town, I passed an elderly gent, half bent over, slowly crawling up the walk, leaning on his cane. I asked if he needed help (got it the second time), but he declined, saying, "It's very kind of you to ask, but I'm just going to the store."
Which reminds me of another annoying little difference here: The bleeding computer keyboards have a different layout! For instance, across the tops of the numbers we have :
and the double quote is over the two, putting the @ over the apostrophe. The backslash ( \ ) is left of the Z, and the tilde (~) is over the hash (#) which is to the left of the '/@, left of the semicolon.
After I walked back from town, I went by the library and managed to find in the stacks two books that should help me put together something passable for the Shakespeare class. I got some help from the desk librarian (name escapes me atm, Elaine?) and took the shuddering little lift up to 4 (fifth floor) and actually looked for it in the stacks (Dewey decimal system, incidentially). It struck me then that it had been quite a long time since I actaully used a library for anything. This is less a statement on information technology than on the slackness of my class load, and how lax I am about schoolwork.
I should have gone up to my room to try and do some homework, or at least read for class, rather going to the pub or here, bnut it seemed quite obvious that if I sat on the bed, I'd be going to sleep, as I think I'll go do now.
adric, roehampton.ac.uk, 22:37 UTC