Day 1: Arrival
I arrived in Kingston yesterday and was exhausted by the time I landed. My flight lasted 12 hours considering I had a 4 hour layover in between. When I arrived in London and dragged myself off the plane after little to no sleep, I couldn’t wait to see someone standing outside waiting, with my name written on a picture. I had booked a car service through the university and he said they would be waiting.
However, that was not to be the case. I walked around scanning all the boards and names…nothing. A lovely person from Canada I spoke to offered to drive me. He said they were going south, but I didn’t know if my destination was south, plus I had the car booked so I thought they would come.
Alas, no, they did not come. I called, they seemed confused, then told me a car would arrive in 15-25 minutes. 35 minutes later I called back and got someone else. Unfortunately, I thought it was the same person I spoke to previously, the convo has something like that.
Person: Let me check your reservation. Alright, we’ll send a car in 25 minutes.
Me: I just called an hour ago and you told me the same thing.
Person: Madam, I have never spoken to you before, it was someone else.
Me: I’ve been waiting for more than an hour at the airport, how do I know that the car will really arrive this time? Can I call the driver?
Person: Ok, I gave you the ETA for the driver. You’re okay? Okay goodbye!
Ugh. Anyway, the driver finally came, but he called me, so I had to carry all my luggage on his cart to the drop-off area. Took me a while to find because I confused it with the taxi depot and my brain felt like it had been fried, and fried again.
The driver was nice, he was Irish and we chatted about our favorite bands and music. He is apparently not a fan of Elton John.
Finally, I rolled into my dorm with my luggage and checked in. I went to the helpdesk to encounter another confusing conversation with the welcome guide.
Guide: So there are several events. This week its bowling.
Me: *nodding head*
Guide: And next week’s event is a Poppy Room
Me: *deals with that* Is he saying they have a room full of poppy flowers? No, maybe its slang for some psychedelic something?
Me: Umm sorry you said “Poppy Room” what is it exactly?
Guide: It’s a room full of poppies
Me: Really? *still looks confused*
Guide: Yes, you know the poppies you can pet.
Me: *still puzzled*
Guide: *changes his pronunciation* Puppies do you know any dogs?
I had no idea accents could make such a big difference in understanding. I thought I had read all about British slang and what not, but I’m glad to hear there’s still a lot to learn. Here are new surprises!
Day 2: Explore
The next day was the Queen’s funeral. I looked online and decided not to go to London to watch the procession because people were queuing for hours (1pm!) just to visit his coffin so I figured I wouldn’t. wouldn’t get there to see anything.
Later in the afternoon I explored the Thames! I walked a bit along the Kingston river and a bit in the city. The sun came to join me on my walk, which was lovely. I crossed the oldest bridge in England (I believe) then walked along the other side of the river along Richmond Park. After that, I still felt great, so I strolled to the entrance to Richmond Park (where Hampton Palace is) and decided to explore a bit there.
The park was beautiful, I felt like I had been immersed in Pride and Prejudice. The patterns continued on and on, I finally saw the castle in the distance and walked towards it. There, on my way, I encountered a large herd of king deer. There were white fallow deer, fauns, big horn deer grazing and resting. I got pretty close! It was an enchanting experience.
I didn’t go to the castle because I expect it to be closed today, but hope I will in the near future.
Finally I had a cider and gluten free sandwich and Dukes Pub! It was delicious but hard to order at first. I kept saying I wanted gluten free bread, and they said they couldn’t legally say it was gluten free, but they had gluten free bread. I said, okay, give me that. And they kept saying it wasn’t completely allergen free, which I already knew. After 3 waiters conferred together they finally figured out how to get it into their number system and gave me a large overflowing glass of cider to go with it.
I ended the day relaxing in a large leather chair facing the window, listening to two local “guys” chat behind me about their respective families and love lives.
What a day!
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