Trip Start May 16, 2006
Trip End Aug 16, 2006

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Flag of United Kingdom  ,
Wednesday, August 2, 2006

So... goodbye Turkey, it has been great. Back to superficially glossing over countries and cultures. By the way, in the future I will not be doing this touring stuff. My whole trip has been fantastic, but it is far more satisfying to travel within a country for a decent amount of time, really get to know a city, a countryside, a society, a culture, a people. I know that I only got glimpses of the other places I have been, but my time in Turkey helped reiterate just how fleeting those glimpses were.

Anyway, London. It felt pretty much like being back in America. It had a New York feel, I suppose, but more sprawling, lacking that incredible packed-in feeling NYC got as a result of geographical constraints to expanding horizontally. Being able to communicate with whoever I please for a change was quite a nice shock. On the first night there was a glitch with my hostel booking, meaning that they were full and had to taxi me to another hostel of the same ownership. The Taxi ride was nothing short of shocking. The guy was very chatty and polite, spoke English of course, took me a more scenic route (the price was fixed, he had nothing to gain) to give me a better look at the city, and... here's the weirdest part... obeyed the general laws governing the flow of traffic. This is not the Turkish way. I will leave it at that.

So, the next day I eventually found another hostel to stay in (the whole city was packed, I was lucky to get one on such short notice that first night, and even that was pretty much a fluke glitch in the computer that they were forced to make good on) and made my way over to it. It was generally a good time. Hung out with Australians who, as per always, dominate the travel circuit with sheer numbers. I truly have no idea who watches Australia while everyone is gone. I may round up a half dozen friends one day and take it over, as there can't be more than that guarding it. I glossed over the usual sights and sounds, did the open-top bus thing, and went to a disappointingly non-crowded day at speaker's corner. Speaker's corner is a place designated for public oratory (much like our "free speech zone" which begs, of course, where are the non-free speech zones?) that is packed with loonies ranting on soapboxes about, well, pretty much anything... which all takes place on...aaghh... Sundays... not Saturdays. Oh well, next time in London I guess. I ate fish and chips at one point.

London is insanely expensive, by the way. I heard it plenty, but it still came as a shock after rock bottom prices in Turkey. There are still some deals to be had here and there, though... I got a KFC-esque chicken meal for 2.25 pount (~4 US). Oh, and I had the date in my watch wrong, resulting in a missed train to Paris. Oops. I got it right the next day, though.
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