Thursday, December 31, 2009

England on a Budget Part II

Day 2:

Due to being awake for over 20 hours straight the previous day/night, I awoke at 11 am. This is significant because everytime I cross an ocean on an airplane, jetlag causes me to wake at 5 am. So the previous night's drinking and partying forced my body to adjust to the new time zone. But I did miss the complementary breakfast at the hostel because I awoke too late. My friend Ji-Yeon had left long ago, to go to a Korean tour.



On that day's agenda, I was to go on a bus tour that I had booked, and a river "cruise" on the Thames. I believed I paid 25 british pounds for the entire package, and would have been worth it had my sister made plans to meet me in the afternoon, cutting my touring time short.



However, I saw many attractions of London that I otherwise would not have seen due to distance and my bad sense of direction. I wanted to go back to see these sites, monuments for photos and I pledged to do so on my last day in England when I return to London.



After all the touring and etc., I retired to the hostel to see what everyone was doing. We were all leaving the hostel very early the next morning, so it was the last hurrah. Went to the bar for a few more drinks, then left because it closed at 11 freaking o'clock. Weird, huh? Day 2 was far less intense as Day 1.


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Farewells

Today, my family and I saw my little sister off as she goes back to England for the semester. Due to Davidson's connections, she was able to attend King's College in London via Arcadia University's study abroad programs. She'll be living in the Hampstead Area, and could possibly run into some famous people. It was going to be a difficult goodbye already because we are close. But this becomes even harder if I do take that offer to teach English in South Korea for a year. My return date would be February 2011, and that 14 months is a long time to be away from my little sister. Well, I guess it's a good thing that we are so interconnected today than in the past.

Monday, December 28, 2009

England on a Budget Part I

I am taking this straight from Justin Ritchie's page, as he recounts his Road Trip Across America this past summer. I went to England for some sightseeing and to visit my sister from August 3-10 and I never blogged about it. I took over 500 pictures with my Dad's old DSLR and my little party camera.

Day 1: Landed at Heathrow very early, around 7 am Greenwich time. Then I hopped on the tube for a 40 minute ride to Russell Square, the area where my hostel was at. I arrived long before check-in, so I walked around to get a feel of the area and take some pictures. I eventually checked-in and saw my room... which I was sharing with 23 other people. It was my first hostel experience and probably not my last. I worried about sanitation and my belongings. But there seemed to be an unwritten rule among travelers because my "roommates" had their belongings strewn all over the place and nothing was stolen. None of my belongings were stolen during this whole trip and I stayed in a hostel for all but one night.



Then I hopped on the tube again and got off a random stop. It was Picadilly Circus. Took some snapshots, then began walking again. An Argentinian tourist wanted me to take his picture at the Crimean War memorial, and I obliged and he took my picture in return. It was my favorite monument. He then pointed me to Trafalgar Square and I resumed my walk. On the way to the square, I ran into the Filipino Embassy and I stopped to chat with some Pinoys who were hanging out there. Snapped up some photos at Trafalgar then saw Big Ben from a distance and started walking that way. I saw most of the usual sites there and eventually returned to the hostel at around 4:30.


Later that night, I went out to a bar crawl with some people that I met at the hostel. Got smashed and forgot the way home. The person sleeping above me, Ji-Yeon was tired so I went with her back to the hostel. We were lost for an hour or so then finally got back at 2 am, showered then slept.



Looking back on it now, I am grateful for the Tube. It was my primary means of transportation and does not reek like NYC's subway. Driving on the opposite side of the road confused me a bit, especially when crossing the road but I was never close to getting hit unlike some other American tourists. Since I was at that bar crawl, and was forced to stay awake, I did not have jetlag for the rest of my duration in England. I was glad because jetlag on my trip to the Philippines in '08 was debilitating.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Commencement '09

Well, this is a day that I've been looking forward to for quite a while. Many friends of mine have already graduated so UNC Charlotte has not been the same. I was glad to be in the ceremony with some of my best friends remaining, and I'm moving on to another chapter in life. I will miss college, but I don't want to be one of those guys that come up to their old school and party every weekend. It would not be as sweet if I did not have a prospective job lined up after. In my case, I was offered a teaching position in South Korea and I think I will take it. So after getting all the necessary documents (there's a quite a few), I shall be off very soon. Orientation in Seoul is on February 17th.




I will try to blog more regularly now that I don't have classes, projects, papers and tests to flunk.