9.23.2008

damp n' shit.

this marks a special occassion. i am making my first blog post from england. this means that i have just spent my first day in england. just because it was the sorriest excuse for a "day" that i could possibly have mustered, it still counts.

flight time: 13 total hours, ~10,000 miles. my current calculations show that i haven't had more than 5 total hours of sleep in the last 36. put some interesting jet lag, swollen tonsils and lymph nodes, dehydration, and two stiff pints of guinness upon landing (i promised two peoples i would drink honorary english pints) on top of that and you get the witch's brew that is my brain right now.

today, other than the long ass flight times, has been a little interesting. there was only one "hitch" and that was i didn't have a housing assignment the second i rolled into the university of hull's international office to check in. for 15 minutes i was homeless with a bike box and two large checked bags. for 30 minutes after that i was going to be in temporary housing that was going to be so temporary that it would've made sense to just sleep in my clothes. for 10 minutes after that i was in regular temporary housing with a couple guys from australia and, finally, the housing office found that i had indeed(!) filled out my housing application in june. i am now in my permanent digs for the next 4 to 5 months and it's a little bigger than the dorm i had my first year at evergreen. the room is quite a bit wider and, fortunately, fully furnished. the verdict is still out on the merit of the mattress, sheets and pillow they've supplied me. yikes.

i have yet to tell somebody that "we saved your ass in world war II" but i also haven't been exposed to the types of people whom might find the humour in such a tasteless comment.

a few observations:
-shops on street level and flats on the second level. all stores are small and have apartments above them and they exist in block long chunks of brick and mortar resulting in a really strange uniqueness despite the total homogeneity of the streetfronts.
-the dutch and the english seem to be plenty friendly. i have not run into the "ugly american" stereotype except for when i brought it up in conversation.
-one should know when to let dead horses lay.
-you could plug a washer or dryer into any standard wall outlet here, apparently.
-hull appears, so far, to be a rusted-out-but-rebuilding centre of industry in the middle of mudflat river plains and hedgerow countryside (to the north, beautiful).
-despite non-smoking signs to the nth degree placed on Airbus A330 intercontinental planes, they have friendly little ashtrays in the bathrooms. really, this is psycho and drove me kind of crackers. they're so all about not smoking on the fucking aircraft that you start believing that maybe they're pumping pure ether into the cabin rather than oxygen and if somebody so much as farted the explosion might shift earth's orbit 3 feet to the left. they even tell you, outloud to your face during flight prep, to not smoke in the fucking bathroom or so help them god they will throw your smokes out the door and toss you into the spinning turbine and then not send a hey-we're-super-cereal-sorry-about-that-little-mishap-check to your next of kin just to make a point.
-there are a lot of get-food-fast type shops. they all sell pizza, burgers, kebabs, falafel, and meat pies and are all "______'s Continental Takeaway". yeah, nothing quite so continental as a bunch of foods that america butchered and then pretended to have primogeniture on.

morgan asked if i had been asked, so far, to explain the US. i have not been asked to explain the actions of the states or the country as a concept rather than god's lazily planned experiment. the closest i have come to this was a briefly discussing the election with a nice gentleman from holland on the flight from amsterdam to humberside. i couldn't decipher him because he was very thoughful but was on a work trip for Total oil company.

okay, enough. sleep tonight and tomorrow begins five days of orientation. i'm holding my breath hoping it's more than icebreaker games.

big ups to spencer for driving me in to seattle at ungodly hours of the morning.

xo.

-e

photos to come, folks. we'll head out on a little walking tour of kingston upon hull soon.

1 comment:

Benjamin said...

i'm pretty sure the reason for ashtrays in the bathrooms is one of two.

1. (the most likely): the planes have not been refurnished since the no-smoking rules came about! most airliners have been around for quite a while--the 747 has been in service since like 1969. airlines don't tend to re-buy them terribly often; they're rather pricey.

2. it's possible that some (non-us) airlines still allow smoking. it's federal law in the usa, yes, but not in singapore! and thus, the interiors may still come with ashtrays to accommodate those customers. i consider this less likely because i think they tend to be largely custom jobs.