Cambridge Journal: Day 2

Bear with me here, because I’ve been out drinking with my colleagues…

Tonight I decided that since it was the first night it was necessary to bond with my classmates by going out to a club with them. I learned all about English change, because I had to ask the bartender what it was he just dumped into my hand after I handed him a 10 pound note. I think I’ve got it now. You have to be careful, because a cheap import in the States can be more expensive here. Kirin Ichiban, which is a relatively cheap import from Japan, is more expensive here than at home, for instance. Oddly enough, Corona was the cheap 2 pound beer this evening, which is still more expensive than at home, but was the cheapest deal they had. It’s real easy to stop translating pounds into dollars when you buy stuff. For instance my lunch was 8 pounds, which would be entirely reasonable in dollars, but afterward I was thinking how that was really like $15, and maybe not such a good deal on the American economy. Exchange rate sucks for us. Anyway.

So today was our first day of classes, right? It was also my first day to eat breakfast here at the hall. I’m going to get a picture of the dining hall for a later post, because it is awesome. The staff are all ultra polite to you, and the food is good, even if it’s not exactly filling. The KU people all sit together at the same bench to eat, which is cool because we’re getting to know each other and all that. Our classroom is pretty neat, and I can’t help but wonder about all the famous people who went through Trinity Hall who may have studied or lectured in it. I found out today that my dorm room is special, after comparing to some of the other people in my program it looks like I have one of the “special” dorm rooms. It’s just my luck manifesting, I suppose. And I do feel lucky to be here. And it is a luck I worked hard to build…

But I digress. Our “history of law” class started today and it was cool, and then we had our first law class right after, which was also cool. I’m really looking forward to all of this, and the first day was very interesting. Afterward some of us went out to Sainsbury’s, which is sort of like Wal*Mart but not, and we bought necessities like razors (I left mine on my bed at home when I was packing) washing powder, deodorant, groceries for the dorm, some of us bought bag fulls of booze (not me). That sort of thing. The line at the register was long, and the cashier lady suggested self service to us, and I made a joke about how I “don’t do business with robot folk”, and I don’t think she knew I was joking…

After we did our shopping and dropped our purchases off in our rooms we met back up on the lawn and picked a random direction and headed out, just to see what was out there. The driving situation here is crazy, let me tell you. Your average American would be wrecked inside of five minutes, because there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to who goes when at some of these intersections. And the bicyclists have nerves of steal, all riding down the side of the road inches away from getting hit by cars but not seeming to care, not to mention that the sidewalks are very narrow and sometimes you end up walking in the street and there’s not much you can do about it. Also, we spotted a bird that none of us knew what it was, and we instantly dubbed it the “silly footed cock-pidgeon”. A very nice retired fellow at the back gate of King’s College told it was a “Moorhen”. This is what they look like:

We ate lunch at an Italian cafe off the river, and it was very pleasant. Then we went back and fooled around individually until it was dinner time, then met back up in the dining hall. After I was sitting in my room when one of my classmates came and got me for an excursion out on the town, and I couldn’t refuse this first night’s fun. We went to this place called “ta bouche” or something like that which ended up being “la douche” by the end of the night. Toward the beginning of the evening I would say that everyone there were summer students at a Cambridge university, but at a certain point locals started filling in. One of my companions was bound and determined to chat up one of the beautiful women filling the place, so eventually I found myself in an interesting conversation with some girl’s aunt (because he was hitting on the niece, if you can believe that, and the aunt was totally my age). Eventually I had my fill of that sort of thing, because it really isn’t my scene anymore, so I said my goodbyes and headed out around midnight. Everything here is so unreal and scenic, even leaving a Euro trash techno bar looked interesting enough to take a picture of:

This lane was narrower than most regular streets in the city center, but not by much. Coming out of there I was confronted with this:

This is literally right after leaving the little alley the bar was in, this totally beautiful and imposing but just there architecture. Stuff like this is all over Cambridge town like it’s just no big deal. The best food I’ve had in England yet was at a street vendor who only operates after hours. While I was standing there some American students from some other program were overheard to say of me, “Ask him, isn’t he an American?” “I thought he was but he isn’t” or words to that effect. What? Bonus: this was the first place that had Dr. Pepper and not just Coke:

I got sort of turned around coming out on King’s Parade street and snapped a picture after I figured out I had been walking the wrong way:

Again, really scenic beautiful old city lane, totally random and no big deal thing.

So, I really have to get to bed now so I can wake up early enough to have a look at my readings and get to breakfast on time. I’ll try to remember to get a picture of the dining hall tomorrow, because it’s neat.

Reviresco!

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