Monday, 6 September 2010

And so it begins

4th September 2010
MP3 track of the day - M.I.A. Paperplanes

Weather: hot but cloudy with a few light showers

Nervous ... excited ... terrified ... sad ... impatient ... these are all the feelings that kept me up most of my final night at home and so 7am came and I got ready. I'm not embarrassed to say that I was very Very upset to leave home, which seemed weird as when I left for Canada I don't remember feeling quite as sad as this. This is not to say that me feeling sad to leave my family is strange; recently it's been quite an emotional time with my sister getting married (the wedding was fantastic and my sister looked beautiful by the way) two days ago and I have enjoyed my six week break at home. My sisters new husband's speech, at the wedding mentioned of how close our family is and I guess you don't see that from inside the family, but as I walked out of the front door, I soon realised it.

I can see why people say don't come home half way through travelling; once I had left my family and boarded the train bound for London I did wonder whether I was doing the right thing ... is this really what I wanted to do? It took me a while to realise that this traveling lark isn't forced on me, it's not something that I have to do ... I can come back at anytime. I therefore decided, in my head, that I wasn't going to loose anything taking the flight tomorrow to LA and just seeing how I get on ... I may last the full course ... I may not, what is important is that I enjoy it.

As the train pulled into St Pancras International train station I decided to do the best thing to fight home sickness ... keep busy. This wasn't going to be that hard to do, I had taken the early train from Derby on purpose so that I could spend some time within the Imperial War Museum (I decided I wanted to visit back when I was in Ottawa, Canada). I therefore went down into the underground and purchased my £7.50 all day pass for London so I could drop my bags of at my hotel and then head to the museum.

Now if you blogger fans remember, last time I came to London I got on the wrong Heathrow train and ended up with an additional bill of £23.00 to arrive somewhere I didn't want to go (see the beginning of my Canadian tour if you haven't got a clue what I'm talking about). I was therefore determined not to be stung twice and so every time I boarded an underground train I checked, and double checked, the livery on the vehicle to make sure it didn't say 'Heathrow Express - were going to get you on our train by only stating on our destination board that we go to Heathrow and then charge you a fortune for a 10 minute ride even if you really didn't want to take it'.

I didn't bother asking anyone in London to help me with any underground queries as everyone seems just so rude; it's amazing to think that the UK, capital of the worlds greatest queuing nation has a capital itself that doesn't seem to understand the concept of a queue ... I swear I was the third person to arrive at a tube station and somehow ended up being 2nd last on. I hate London ... most people are so unfriendly, it's too big and its quite filthy.

Once at my hotel I dropped my bags off and then headed straight back onto the underground towards the Imperial War Museum. Once there it was 2:30pm and I was starving and so, before going in, I went to the cafe to have some sandwiches and a slice of cake (not sure when I'll get decent cake again). The museum is free, but they do have some special exhibitions on from time to time; I normally try to give a donation to a UK museum as I feel that you do get a lot for free, but this time I put my donation into a £4.75 ticket to see 'Horrible History: Terrible Trenches' exhibition as it seemed quite popular. I have to say that it was okay, nothing to write home about compared to the rest of the museum, but I did learn some new things; also if you have young children, it was a brilliant interactive exhibit which would have been very interesting and educational. I didn't spend long here as I was running short on time and there was loads to see.

I went through the WW1 and WW2 sections at a steady pace (stopping for the interactive moving blitz exhibition and the WW1 trench scene) before finding myself in the 'post WW2 section'. Did you know that there has only been one year since WW2 that Britain hasn't been involved in some sort of conflict somewhere in the world ... you don't realise that your country is permanently at war. I read about conflicts in Africa, South America, Asia and the Vietnam War (which was very interesting as I should be visiting Vietnam early next year).

After this I had 30 minutes before the museum closed to have a look at the 'Secret War' exhibition which was all about MI5 and MI6 which was very interesting .... did you know that Germany in WW1 was planning to sign a pact with Mexico to attack the United States ... MI6 found out, reported it to Washington, and that was one of the main reasons for the USA to enter the war.

Shortly after I left the 'Secret War' exhibit an announcement came over the speaker to say that the museum was closing and so I left and headed back to my hotel. The Imperial War Museum was really good and well laid out; I urge you all to go and have a look ... however you need much longer than the three hours I had.

On the way back to my hotel I stopped for tea at the same place I went to before I left to go to Canada and had the same (steak and chips) meal. It's weird but I remember where I sat, what I ate but I can't remember at all what my thoughts and feelings were ... I'm even staying at the same hotel and yet I'm numb to any memories of excitement or sadness from the 5th May 2010.

My final act for the day was to have a bath, shower and a shave as I didn't know the next time I would have the luxury of a bath in my accommodation (I was going to have a bath before I left home, however my sister was five hours late coming to say goodbye and so I ran out of time).

Now I'm watching TV ... wondering what tomorrow might bring.

Toodle Pip!

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