Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Jet-lagged day in London

My time in England started less than auspiciously. I handed over my passport to the officer and expected our conversation to take less than a minute, like every other time I have entered a country. The fact that I was planning to stay for 3.5 months and yet had brought no proof that I am a student was, in her view, grounds for suspicion. If I do not obtain said proof, I will be deported the next time I try to enter England. Oops! Not to worry; I got a letter within a few hours, thanks to the quick work of the Brown math department.

I spent the bulk of the day chatting with the family whose apartment I am staying at, and trying not to fall asleep. I only took a few short naps, so I should be okay.

In the morning I went for a short run in Kensington Gardens / Hyde Park, and was definitely dragging. I had to take walk breaks. In the afternoon I went on a six-mile run through all the connected parks, and even did some fast 200s, and a biker raced me on one of them.

Finally I decided that I better see some part of London other than parks. In particular, I wanted to see some Olympics stuff.

Here is the neighborhood around the apartment.

The London Eye is very big, and has an amusement park beneath it now.

Big Ben is still big and very impressive.

My new buddy Mandeville. I totally messed up the pose, but you get the idea.
Olympic stuff, yay!

Actually, there were lots of signs with Olympic information, in the pink or purple color scheme with the stylized 2012, all over the tourist part of the city.

A nice pedestrian bridge between the Eye and Trafalgar Square

I figured I should see Trafalgar Square, since I had seen it on many postcards but not in real life. The square is surrounded by embassies, South Africa, Canada and Uganda in particular.

Trafalgar Square

As I was just walking down a street, I saw these gentlemen ahead.

If you could get just one pair of Vibrams, these are the ones to get

Olympic advertising in the subway

Tomorrow the real adventure begins, as I embark for three cities, two countries, two flights, two places to stay, several trains and buses, and a track meet, all in four days. I am starting to realize why people go on organized tours.

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