Friday, Nov. 9th, 2001
On Friday, I had a jumble of loose plans for my last day in London: Buy thermal underwear, get my hair cut and modify one of the TO LET signs I had seen on the previous day.
First, however, I had to move out of my beloved room 39 due incoming guests. Room 37 was blessed with 4 Italian women, one French woman, and an Australian woman.
I tearfully moved my bag and said my goodbyes. Then I jumped onto a subway to Oxford Circus in search of some thermals.
I was passing a side-street and found about 9 people pulling sealed wine and vermouth bottles out of a garbage bin on the street. One woman had about 12 in her car's trunk, and everyone else was scrounging for some kind of bag to put them in. I managed to resist diving in. I have a strict policy about jumping into foreign dumpsters.
I failed at the thermal search, but found two "to let" signs and modified them to say "toilet". I know, I know, it is pretty weak, but how could I resist? I figured since the atmosphere in the US was now decidedly anti-prank, I had to make up for it here in England.
I found and photographed one of the covered-motorcycles that Mark and Stacy told me about. I also managed to find a place to cut my hair for less than $50.
When I got home to my room, one of my new roommates, Michel was sleeping in my bed. Did I mention that I was going to miss room 37?
I went downstairs to type for a while, and when I went back up, Michel was gone & Cassie and Valerie were there. They were speaking in French and English, so I thought Valerie was French, but I found out later that she was from Argentina. She was a great fan of Miller beer from the US. Cassie was French, and had a box of pastries from the Shop she worked at. We scrounged up a knife and shared them, sitting on the floor. One pastry, called "a thousand sheets" brought up a "sheets" vs. "shits"
pronunciation lesson by yours truly.
The pastries were excellent, but the picnic ended when Valerie started staring under the bed behind me, saying "no...no...".
This quickly became screeches of "NO!! NOO!!"
"A rat! A rat!", she continued, jumping up and away from the bed.
I wasted no time tackling the rat and pinning him to the ground.
Ok, actually I was jumping around and screaming just like the girls. That kind of behavior is infectious. Valerie held her fingers apart about 2 inches, indicating how large the mouse was. We stood in the doorway and tried to figure out where it came from for awhile. But eventually settled in and relaxed again. We talked for about 2 hours, it was great. Valerie had been all over the world. She gave me the name of her friend to look up in Turkey, although I wasn't clear until the very end if her friend was a "he" or a "she" because Valerie was using both pronouns
At about 9:30, Cassie went to drop Valerie off at the bus terminal, and I packed & went to a cafe.
Tomorrow I was leaving for Athens, Greece.
I had one last toast with my friends in the club downstairs and came to bed early to get plenty of rest. Of course I ended up chatting with the French students in my room until about two.
Funny posters for Banzai, a show.
Locals rummage through the bin for discarded wine
For Rent sign begs for it
My Multi-colour electrical tape to the rescue!
Some quick work on the roadside
Presto! The Benny Hill gag lives!
Good thing I had the multi-colour tape...
The covered BMW motorcycle...maybe a scooter.
Valerie and I pose with pastries