Last Day in London (Nathan)

Trip Start Sep 03, 2010
Trip End Oct 27, 2010

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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Monday, September 27, 2010

On our last day in London, we caught up on the museums we were forced to leave early on the previous days... or tried to, anyway. We managed to see everything at the Natural History Museum, but only managed another half hour at the British Museum before they closed, which was just enough time to see the rest of the Egyptian stuff. We also went to the Science Museum, which was right next to the Natural History Museum, but only to the top floor, which had a collection of old medical equipment (and was the only floor not full of screaming children- apparently nobody wants to teach their kids about electroshock therapy and bloodletting). We kind of rushed through it, but I managed to get a few pictures. The only other person on that floor was another tourist with a very, very loud and annoying camera. It would make a loud beep when it focused, then an obnoxious "click-WHIRRRRR" when it took a picture, despite it being a digital camera. And, of course, she always used her flash, because taking pictures of things in glass cases with a flash is always a good idea, and certainly not at all distracting to everyone around you.

After the museums closed, we went back to Yo! Sushi for the third time. It was their Blue Monday special, which meant that all the plates on the conveyor belt were blue (second cheapest!). We were about to leave for France the next day, so I let loose and spent all my remaining pounds, except a few for breakfast the next morning. It actually ended up being about the same amount as I spent during our first visit, but I got three times as much food from it this time.

When we got back to our hostel that night, ready to pack everything up and get an early start the next day, we found that my stuff was missing- my backpack that was under my bed, and the books that were on top of it were gone without a trace, and the bed looked as though someone else had claimed it- it was freshly made and someone's baseball cap was resting on it. Although it was possible somebody had stolen them, I kind of doubted it- although the backpack itself was pretty nice, it was just full of toiletries and dirty clothes, and Glennica had left her Game Boy in the room, which hadn't been touched. I suspected that housekeeping had somehow thought my belongings weren't supposed to be in the room and had moved them... somewhere.

We talked to the people working the bar downstairs (the main hostel desk was closed), who looked around for my backpack and couldn't find it. Glennica was beginning to get stressed out, and while I kept my cool, I was getting pretty worried... that backpack had all my clothes, as well as my glasses and the chargers for our electronics. It was all replaceable, but replacing it would be a tremendous hassle, and while it wasn't the sort of stuff people were likely to steal, it also wasn't cheap. The assistant manager (Glennica kept insisting he was actually just the regular manager, who he claimed wouldn't be back until late that night) had no idea what had happened, but helped me look for the bag again... and, much to my relief, we found it this time, in the locked hostel office behind the counter. He had no idea why housekeeping would have put it there, and it turned out that something was missing- I had two plastic compression bags used to pack clothes, and my Smartwool shirt had been removed from one, and the bag (but not the little plastic tab used to help close it) was gone. My books that were on the bed were also missing, and neither the books nor the bag ever turned up, though we searched a few other places for them. All the employees insisted that the maid wouldn't have had any reason to move my stuff, and even if she did, I'm totally baffled as to why she'd take an empty plastic bag out of my luggage and nothing else. The mystery remains. Glennica gave me her spare bag, I took another, unoccupied bed in the room for that night, and in the end it turned out to be not a very big deal, although the books that went missing were for our next stop, Paris, and would have been useful to have.

So, that's about it for London, except for a couple more observations:
London has way more crazy people than New York City, at least based on my limited observation. There was a lady on the Underground who started yelling at a man for no other reason than because he sat across from her, a religious nut screaming about Jesus on the street, and then there were the drunks, who, though mostly harmless, are pretty numerous. There was a guy on the Underground talking to random people (which is frowned upon in London probably even more than elsewhere), a group of guys running wildly in and out of train cars, apparently in a contest to see who could go back and forth the most times without getting caught outside and left behind when the doors closed, and lastly, a trio of young men who stepped onto the Underground, one of them with a purple tutu (not wearing it, just carrying it around) and loudly declared that everyone was going surfing. They then proceeded to jump around on the floor as the train lurched into motion, acting as though they were on surfboards, and asked where we were from and if I was gay, then had an argument over whether my hair was blue or mint green. One of them asked Glennica for a kiss, and she, who I think maybe had had a couple glasses of wine at the time, went along with it and kissed him on the cheek. Then he asked ME for a kiss and when I politely declined, he actually grabbed my head and kissed me on the lips. I was a bit dazed after that, and sort of carried on a surreal, awkward conversation with them until our stop came up and we changed trains.

Glennica has been meaning to post one of her observations, but since she hasn't gotten around to it, I'll do it for her: Pepper in England is ground so fine that it's a gray powder. Glennica was trying to find fresh-ground pepper the whole time we were there, and all she could get were shakers of this pepper-dust.

Rowntree's Randoms are awesome. They're these gummies that come in the shapes of random objects like mailboxes, alligators, ice cream cones, men's room symbols and seashells, in a mix (again, pretty much random) of clear gummies, ones with a white foamy backing, and strawberry-and-vanilla flavored foamy ones. They were very common in Scotland, but became less so as we got down to London, and are apparently not for sale in mainland Europe. If you ever go to the UK, give them a try. There was also Irn-Bru (pronounced Iron Brew), an orange fizzy drink that's popular in the UK (again, mostly Scotland) and nowhere else. Rick Steves said it was abominable in our travel guide, but I tried it and it wasn't really anything special- just orange soda with a kind of weird aftertaste.

And that's it for the UK! Next update: Paris!

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