After an 8+ hour flight, I arrived at London Heathrow airport on Friday morning. The British Studies Program bussed us to our flats right near Waterloo (great location!), and a friend and I explored the immediate area. Looks as though we'll have some good local takeaway options! We went into Sainsbury's grocery store to do a bit of shopping--it's not as great as the Morrisson's in Aberdeen, but that probably results from being smack in the middle of central London.
Our whole library science group--32 of us, I think, almost all grad students--went on a neighborhood walking tour with our two professors and AI. We went down to the Queen's Walk along the Thames; it was lovely in the daytime, and I look forward to seeing it at night when it's all lit up.
Our tour ended, of all places, at the Texas Embassy, a Tex-Mex restaurant just off Trafalgar Square. The building used to house the White Star line, better known as the place that Titanic passengers bought their tickets, and the place where they posted a list of survivors and casualties of the ship. Now, however, it's just a Texas-themed restaurant, complete with an animal head on the wall and school flags.
Just as we were getting ready to pay our bill, this twenty-something British guy--from Birmingham, as it turned out--came up to our table and asked if he could get a picture with us. Amused, we agreed. He seemed very keen to stay and chat. He's a music student; jazz, double bass. He was very quick to emphasize that he also raps. (A double bass-playing rapper?) He said that his name is Stuart, but that he performs under the name Bernie. (Again, ???) He'd obviously had a pint or two, which made the whole situation even more ridiculous (and I should mention his friend came into the restuarant wearing a mullet wig...a Texas-themed restaurant...).
Quite an interesting, long, and at times surreal first day in London! Luckily I had a pretty view from my room to return to:
It overlooks quite a lovely little park, which I look forward to going into soon.