Monday, October 29, 2007

They may have the NHS but...

$16 for 24 Benadryl tablets? Are you kidding me? I can get 400 generic at Costco for $3.98. It's about $3.50 for 16 Ibuprofens and $20 for 50 lactaids, which of course I totally lost. I think in the US it's around $14 for 48 generics so I guess the markup isn't too bad on that. I think I spent $6 on 6 Immodiums- but I was desperate.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Thames South Bank

Some famous boat

The Globe Theatre

Part of the Louis Bourgeois Collection (didn't see the rest because it wasn't free)

London Eye

Big Ben and other buildings.
Kew GardenPalm House

Kew Palace

Temperate House

Temperate House exterior

Sculpture Exhibit

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Traveling in the UK

I don't think it's going to happen. The hotels are just far too expensive. Relative to Japan, train travel is roughly equivalent in price. However, the hotels are just a shitload more expensive and there don't seem to be as many package deals that essentially give you a hotel room for free for a night or two once you get the train/plane ticket. In London, you'll spend about $100 for a single before you can get a bathroom, and you'll probably spend $80 in smaller cities. In Japan, I often stayed in a single that was around $50 a night.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Happy Mole Day!

No, this has nothing to do with London, but judging from the shopping options in my neighborhood I'm sure that Speak Like a Pirate Day would be much more of a success in this area than a completely Geeky holiday like Mole Day. No one ever knows that such a thing exists. It warmed my heart to see someone else discuss it on his blog. I can't forget it since we had to do a Mole Video senior year of high school and mine was some instructional chemistry video where we tortured a clay mole as he "learned" chemistry- you know such things as getting dissolved in acid and getting blown up by firecrackers.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Greenwich is the home of the Prime Meridian and the Royal Naval College and some Palaces, which was where Henry VIII had another palace. The Prime Meridian is up a hill in Greenwich Park at the Royal Observatory. I would have a picture of the marker clock, but Blogger seems to limit me to 5 pictures in one post.

Royal Navy College

Royal Navy College

View of Canary Wharf from Greenwich

Me at the Prime Meridian in 2 Hemispheres at Once

Inside of Royal Naval College

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A day too late

Apparently I missed my chance to see Ewan McGregor in Othello as Iago. It sold out in a day (yesterday). I didn't even know he was going to be in Othello or else I probably would have bought myself a ticket. I want to see Patrick Stewart in MacBeth at some point- hopefully that isn't sold out. I can't say I am a huge Shakespeare fan (making me the Worst English Teacher Ever), especially the tragedies, but I'll go for good actors.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

What is wrong with banking in this country?

Seriously- they find like a million ways to gouge you. If I buy something online, I have to use a credit card, so why charge me extra for using a credit card? Like I want to buy a plane ticket that ends up being $10 more because of the credit card charge- but what other way can I buy it? It's not like they offer direct draw from my checking account. Apparently the Visa Electron is free to use online, but typically it's used for children or people with horrible credit- so the rest of us are rich enough to pay an arm and a leg everytime we use a credit card?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

2 In 1 Day?

I went to catch the tube this afternoon and it was delayed due to "a person under the train" some stations down. After going to several countries that are Suicide Door Lands, I of course think that means suicide. The ride took forever and I was across from a couple who couldn't keep their hands off each other. I hate PDA- go get a room or something. Then some ashtray-smelling guy sat next to me so I couldn't look that direction either. It never fails that I either end up next to an uber religious person reading the koran, bible, or torah, or end up across from a PDA couple.

On my way home, I went shopping to buy a new coat (Thank you H&M for cheap coats. I have to get a new one each year). The stop nearby was totally closed so I walked to another one that was completely delayed only to hear that another line was totally closed because of "a person under the train"- sheesh? Was there some sort of suicide pact? Usually the delays are due to "planned engineering works" or "signaling problems" and very occasionally a strike.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Camden Town Pictures

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Hampton Court

Hampton Court was Henry VIII's castle. It's about a 30-minute train ride outside of London. I guess it's technically still in the suburb area because it's in the London zones. Unfortunately no photos were allowed inside so I have only exterior pictures.

Hampton Court construction sign
Main gate
Exterior Area

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Credit Card Suspicions

For some reason, the UK is really suspicious of credit cards that aren't from here. Most of them have some sort of chip in them, while ours have nothing. In some stores, they simply won't take foreign credit cards at all, while others have to make a copy or take an imprint because they're afraid the credit card company won't pay. I've never experienced this in any other country. There were some differences in Japan and fewer places that took credit cards, but if a company/restaurant gave you the option of paying by credit card, it didn't matter where it came from. In the UK Ikea, you can pay the bill by any credit card, but in the delivery area they require a UK one.

Like Japan, the UK has places you can pay your bill by cash in a convenient store or grocery store. They aren't quite so nice about telling you where those stores are though. In Japan your bill will have a logo on the back for each store, here you just have to walk around trying to find a "pay point."

In other news, lots of services require a contract- phone, internet, cable. I don't remember any of those in the US requiring anything. I guess if you want a traditional landline you just have one choice, so there's no reason to require a contract there. Most people still only have 1-2 choices for internet and if you have cable you're going to go with cable and if you have something like Fios you'll get Verizon internet. What's the most annoying is that there are lots of limits- you can't get cable internet without cable TV or the broadband phone, you can't get a traditional phone line without a yearlong contract, which you need to get ADSL. So now we're stuck paying for 3 extra months of phone, but we'll try to cancel at the end and see what happens.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

More PicturesPrimrose Hill Area (right by where I live)
My apartment building
Hampstead Heath
Trafalgar Square
Oxford PicturesMost famous library at Oxford
Christchurch College

A pub on a canal

Saturday, October 06, 2007

I'm Delinquent

I just got internet installed today, so I haven't been able to update lately. Everything is finally worked out with the phone, which was so annoying to set up. Apparently they have like 15 different phone companies in the UK, 3 of which had jacks in our apartment. One may have been for the company we are using (the main provider), but we didn't actually find that jack until today because it was hidden behind something. None of the companies use the same equipment so the guy had to run an entirely new line and we have to hope that we don't get charged.

I'm living in an area called Camden, which is a bit on the funky side. It has a lot of goths and punks and lots of stores sell corsets, shoes, and bongs. I'm about a 5-10 minute walk from that area and a 2-minute walk from another area called Primrose Hill, which is very serene and yuppified. I guess sometimes you can see Gwen Stefani or Jude Law in the area. The apartment is just a one-bedroom at an absolutely ludicrous price per month. I wonder how on earth anyone affords to live here alone because a studio probably runs at least $1500+ a month. I guess they all live out in the suburbs.