Thursday, January 10, 2008

First Week

I still can't believe that I'm here in Cape Town, SA. It is truly one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. The scenery with Table Top Mountain is incredible. It's very cliche to say this, but it really does take your breath away. Backtracking a bit...

Friday 4th-Sunday the 6th

The flight on Friday left JFK on time and was very smooth thankfully. The aerial view of NYC at night was quite a sight, and I wish I could've taken a picture. The grid-like structure becomes very clear, but the irregularity of the land mass prevents it from being a boring view. I was glad that I got the window seat! I switched with the passenger sitting next to me since he had a back problem. We struck up a conversation, and he mentioned that he had been to Cape Town before and that it was absolutely amazing. I got more and more excited as the plane took off, but I had a lot of reading to do as background for our Globalization and the Environment Course.

When we arrived in Heathrow airport, it was the morning. I was eager to get going to meet Cheryl in front of the gate at Hyde Park. However, the process was a little more confusing than I initially thought to check-in and obtain a boarding pass 7 hours in advance of the departure time. Everyone in the airport was extremely helpful since I needed a lot of assistance. The Heathrow Connect was my transportation of choice to downtown Paddington London. I couldn't believe how clean the train car was. Before leaving the airport, I quickly reassured my family that I had arrived. Just paying for the internet was at least one pound, which is pretty ridiculous since I only got a few minutes of time.

In London, I headed straight for Hyde Park since I didn't know how long it would take to get from Paddington to Lancaser Gate. Along the way, I couldn't help but stop to take pictures of some of the residential buildings as well as taking a really long time to cross the roads. I'm still adjusting to the fact that you drive on the left side of the road in London and South Africa as well. By the time I got to the gate it was around 12:15 PM, and I was worried that Cheryl may have left already. I decided to wait until 12:30 PM to see if she would come. It was fun to people watch, but since there were mostly cars and not many pedestrians people-watching wasnj't too action packed. Eventually, I decided that I should just start walking around Hyde Park since my time was limited, and maybe by some stroke of fate Cheryl would find me in the park!

I played the role of camera happy tourist very well and stopped by Kensington Palace, the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain, with several other stops in between. I stopped for lunch at a small cafe contained within the park, it was situated right on the water front. I couldn't believe how expensive food was. The conversion from USD to pounds was pretty painful. Overall, the excursion to London was fun, but it would have been much better if I could've hung out with Cheryl and Adrian!

Back on the plane... I essentially spent the entirety of the plane ride reading Meredith's very comprehensive and large book The Fate of Africa, much to the dismay of my fellow passengers. I felt bad about leaving the light on all night, but there was no way I was going to try and read by the dim light provided by the screen in the seat in front of me. I was able to finish, and I treated myself to a few television shows (The Simpsons and Sex and the City).

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