Friday 27 Aug
9 pounds 77 cents. Thats pote`ntially all the cash I have until I get to Austria in 4 days. We're sitting on the ferry now heading across to England. It's pretty clear and you can see all the way across to dover.
The bus trip this morning was fine. We packed the coach and piled on. I was wrecked so I lay down in the isle and slept right through like a log until the first break. Once back on the bus I wrote my diary and fell asleep.
We went through Belguim today as well. Another beautiful place. I didn't see much of it though as I was sleeping. Out like a light. Then it was in to frog territory, again much of which I didn't see through my eyelids.
Once on the ferry I set about finding somewhere to try and use my credit card. There was a costas so I thought i'd give it a crack. It worked. I was so stoked. This coffee is the best tasting crap coffee i've ever had. The more interesting thing about the coffee was the accent of the lady making it. It was a really strong sorta boganish accent. It sounded like she was going to jump across the counter and clock me in the face with a wooden rolling pin at less then a moments notice.
After we got off the ferry we jumped on a shuttle bus with our bags. The Driver waas a big black guy who was wearing a hat that made him look just like tyrone out of 'lock stock and two smoking barrels".
The trip to london was un eventful and we got through traffic with relative ease. Which was good apparently there was a massive hold up on the outskirts but we managed to miss it. We were dropped off at the Generator, a hostel affiliated with top deck, and grabbed our bags. W then said our good bye's which people had different variations of. For the girls it was hugging every person individually, pretending to cry andd declaring that they'll never forget you ever. Where as the myself and the other blokes opted for the quick and loud, "all right seeya fellas, enjoy the rest of your trip" accompanied by a simple wave while turning our backs and getting out of there.
I was meeting katie at Waterloo station at 7 so I set off towards it. It was a good 3 maybe 4 k walk but it took almost an hour as I tried to use my credit card at a few places to no avail. God damn pins on credit cards, how are they different to a debit card with an overdraft if the signiture isn't used.
I got to the station well early, but due to my very depleted cash stores I just sat down with my pack next to a crazy drunk guy. He was pretty funny, ever now and then he'd turn around and talk to me. I had me head phones in and didn't make eyecontact but this didn't deter him tapping my foot, laughing and pointing every time a pretty woman in a smart business suit walked past. He truly was a gentleman yet I had to cut it short when he offered me some of his half drunk probably warm beer.
Katie eventually found me at about 10 past 7, waterloo station is evidently a bit bigger then i'd predicted and after walking the length of the station we sat at a table in an abutted pub with a couple of pints. Katie almost instantly knocked over the empty glass that had been left on our table and I thanked my lucky stars that it hadn't been her full one. How ever even though I was touching the wooden table apparently you must have to state out loud "touch wood" because less then 5 minutes later she knocked her, not quite full, pint over in my direction. I dont know how I got out of the way quick enough buut I was left only with a bit of beer on my arm and a puddle under my chair looking like i'd wet myself.
We caught the train back to Katie's. Its a little way out and the ride took almost half an hour. Dinner became the next hurdle. It was almost nine o'clock and katie pulled a couple of pieces of meat out of the freezer. She just looked at me and asked if i'd prefer we ordered a pizza, preferring not to wait for hell to freeze over while the meat thawed I agreed.
Although this wasn't as easy as it sounded. Both Katie and I had next to no cash as it wasn't katies payday till friday and I only had a pocket full of coins. We tried ordering a pizza and putting it on my credit card, but they wanted a card registered at that address. We ended up just getting in katies car and going down to the local tesco's. Katie had 6 pounds left in her account so she used that to grab some hamburger patties and some rolls while I attempted to buy something with my credit card. My card didn't even swipe this time and was declined. I was starting to fret a little.
Back at Katies we ate and crashed I was exhausted and Katie had to get up early for work. I had a shower, it the first in three days since we were in Berlin. The reason for this was as I started having trouble with cash I was spending nothing unless I had to buy a train ticket or something. The showers cost 25 Euro cents. This was 1percent of my total cash and I wasn't spending anything I didn't have to. Every one stank anyway and katie insisted she couldn't smell me, so in hindsight it was a wise decision.
That night although I had to sleep diagonally on the fold out bed with my feet still hanging off the edge I slept like a rock.
Saturday 28 Aug
After arising from my rock slumber yesterday the first priority was getting cash. Somehow. I decided to try getting mum and dad to western union me some money and jumped online to try and find some branches in Geelong. I then thought maybe I could just log in and send the money to myself. This plan worked a treat until I found out that to confirm the order I had to call Australia!! dammit. Luckily katie has a deal where she can call Australia for super cheap so I just used that.
It worked too and the money transfer was confirmed. The only issue was that it carried at 50 doller fee!! a lazy 10percent. But I needed the cash so I just went with it.
I left home feeling slightly demoralised and headed up the road to where the map said there is a few Western unions. The first one was inside an afro and carribean hair stylist and there was no way the guy in there had 250 pounds so I walked on to try the next one, just my luck it was closed. I loitered around the area, which seems to be full of criminal looking types, feeling like a criminal until the shop opened.
I dont think the guy behind the counter gets many people sending money to themselves and he looked at me a bit funny, but it was early and he was too tired to care. But I got the cash, thats a huge, huge weight off my chest and I celebratedby buying a local sim card. Much more efficiant then my austrian or hungarian one. But more importantly it means mum and dad can call me with out it costing me anything. So instead of it costing us both a fortune it only costs them a fortune, everyones happy.
I then headed up the road to get the train into town. I then had my first tube ride, It was pretty obvious to tell it was my first and the locals looked at me like I was a bit of a**** standing there taking a photo of myself in a drab underground station.
After the short tube ride I emerged at hyde park and made my way upto wellington's arch, (I think thats what it was called). Here I jumped on a free walking tour. That was good it covered buckinham palace, trafalgar square, westminster abbey parliament house, big ben and an assortment of other places which are apparently important also. To be perfectly honest appart from westminster abbey and the parliament house I thought the place was fairly dry. Its a nice city but the place has nothing on Vienna or Prague or one of the other Easter European countries.
After the tour I went and found a care with wireless, booked my flights and updated my blog, which i'm way behind on. I also had a chat to a local couple who were sitting beside me, the guy was a bit of a computer buff and wanted to pick my brain about my computer.
I then walked upto the Brittish Museum. This place is massive, and has a huge Egyption collection. And many other exhibitions mainly from the last 1500 odd years. I found the Egyption exhibition a bit over rated really. All the statues were squeeky cleen and polished and they just didn't seem real. The medievil section and the roman room was far more interesting. The statues of the Egyptions couldn't compete with 1500 - 2000 year old weaponary.
I was feeling pretty knackered by now and decided to call it quits. After another tube ride and a train trip I was back at clock house station. I almost missed the sttatoin as I had my head burried in my computer watching videos. I ended up scampering out the door clutching all my gear hoping I had everything with me. Passport, check.
I grabbed 6 pack on the way home and spent a good 60 seconds with the key in the door trying to get it to open. Luckily nick opened it for me and we sat down with a beer. Nick spent the next 15 minutes explaining to me the intricacies of the premier, championship, FA cup and champions legue. Football really is a religion over here. I'm pretty jealous really there's so much more to there soccer then there is to our Footy.
After sitting around not really talking about much Katie got home and joined us. Next we went back into town for dinner and a few drinks, plus a guided tour by the local. We had dinner at a place called... damn I forget... but it was good, our waiter was a funny bloke, a Hungarian who sat down and chatted to me about Sziget for a good couple of minutes. After that quick feed we started walking around town.
Nick had started his career in the west end area of london and knew his was around well. He was particularly interested in showing me "the ook". The hook as it turned out is the last remaining hook of its time. It's simply a hook mounted to the wall with metropolitan police force written underneath it. It was one of many hooks that used to be on every street corner for the cops to hang there jackets on while they directed traffic. It hardly sounds interesting but to nick, being a copper, it was really interesting and the way he spoke about it made this tiny piece of wrought iron quite interesting too.
The first bar we headed to was one of the oldest pubs in London, called the "lamb and Flag" I dont know who thought that combining those two words into a pub name was a good idea. This place appitimised what i'd expect out of an english pub. Small and crowded. Nick grabbed us a couple of Ales, which I was surprised to find were served warm out of a tap where the barman had to pump it out. I didn't mind it, despite the horrible taste and the warm texture it wasn't too bad.
We then headed into an area in the west end called Soho. This place was absolutely buzzing and there were bars everywhere. Most of them packed. Most of them packed with men too, apparently the area is a bit of a gay haunt, which was quite evident by the hoards of men dressed up like the villiage people.
We found the least gay looking bar and went inside for a drink. We grabbed some beers and headed downstairs to where the dance floor was. It was empty so we decided to try upstairs. Up the top was karaoke. It was pretty funny and nick got up and sang an Elvis piece. The guy running thee show was a huge black guy, wearing a white shirt that would have been too small for me. But damn he could sing.
I was feeling pretty tired as was nick so we decided to call it quits for the night. We caught the last train home to hit the sack. Katie started playing "the sunny cow girls" a cliché cliché australian country band. The lyrics were a crack up. Haha. Again I sooon crashed, almost equally as hard as the night before.