Thursday, August 27, 2015

First few days

After having been up for 26 hours straight by the time I got to Cambridge, I was anxious to get cleaned up!  The flat that I'm staying in has a living room, two bedrooms, and a bathroom on the ground floor; the kitchen and dining space are downstairs.  Paul inflated an air mattress in the corner of the dining space for me, and I got to shower.

That's another thing guys - California is in the worst drought ever recorded.  I'm used to taking showers every three or so days.  England isn't in a drought (well, they say they are but I call BS), so I'm able to shower every day again!  What a luxury.  I also nearly cried when it started to rain while I was in London.  Seriously guys, water is amazing!

Anyway, by the time I'm done getting cleaned up and settled it's about time to leave for the pub quiz night at The Empress!

Yup.  Went out drinking and quizzing on about 30 hours of sleep.  Good thinking me!

The bartender and the few locals I met were genuinely gracious and happy that I had come to the pub on my first night in Cambridge.  They all stood up and gave me handshakes and asked if I was that polite all the time (um.....yes?  I'm sorry if other tourists aren't D: )

I also got to meet Paul's friends there!  Together the five of us made up Team Face Sandwich (don't ask), and did pretty well during the quizzes.  I started nodding off and taking micro-naps against my will during the music portion (I was at hour 33 at that point), but I had a soda and woke right back up again.  Eventually we made it back to the flat and I got to sleep.

Well, I slept as hard as I could, but being underground means it is very cold.  I kept waking up every two hours or so and having to add layers.  By the time I had to get up for food the next morning I was wearing socks, two shirts, a beanie, and a jacket that was zipped up and the hood over my head.  Paul and his flatmate are moving next week, and Paul had already packed up his extra sheets and duvet.  I basically had slept with a throw.

Anyway, it was my first full day in Cambridge!  And I didn't do much actually - but that's okay for a first day.  I woke up around 9:30, and then left the house for some food around 11:30 after showering.  I went to the deli just a few doors down and got a Mediterranean tuna sandwich and a bag of crisps for <£5 which was great.  Then after eating I read some more, and then took a nap from 2-4ish.

Around 5pm I left to go to meet up with Paul and a friend for dinner at the Churchill college campus.  It was about two miles to walk there, but I wanted to leave a little early in case I got lost or got distracted by some shops.  I arrived around 6, then we all met up for a tour and dinner on campus around 6:30.

I had to climb up a lot of stairs to get that view.

a lot

of stairs

This was the top of the tower - the building itself is actually a conference center.

Campus food was pretty decent!  And very affordable.  I had salmon, potatoes, broccoli, and I split a dessert with Paul - it was only about £4!

Also, fun fact, the Churchill campus has two bars.  What?!

Credit to RLP Surveyors for the photo

On the way back Paul took me on a preview tour of the backs of the colleges.  It was getting dark so it was harder to see, but he'll give me the full tour come Friday.

It was dark and we were far away from the buildings.

Bonus picture: The Jerwood Library
I just thought the architecture was cool.

We also stopped at a grocery store called Waitrose to buy some tea and dessert once we got closer to the flat.  I bought some earl grey and tiramisu!

Credit to RetailWeek for the photo of the exact Waitrose I went to

Once Paul and I got back, we had some tea with his flatmate.  She went back to packing up the apartment shortly after, and I stayed up online for longer than I really really should have.  Not sure if it was the jet lag, how cold I was, or the caffeine from the tea, but I was up until about 4am.  It also didn't help that around 2am I witnessed a giant spider crawl over me and then hide between my mattress and the wall.  I was literally paranoid for two hours.  Spiders are easily in my top 5 fears (maybe even top 3).

I did manage to get to sleep around 4am and then on through about 8am when Paul's flatmate made her way down to the kitchen.  She saw how bundled up I was and then she offered to give me one of her duvets!  Oh dear lord I was finally cozy in bed.

I got up around 10am today, did some more reading, took a shower, and then decided to do battle with the giant spider.  I flipped the air mattress over and holy crap that thing was a giant nope-monster.  I thought it was the size of my thumb when I briefly saw it last night.  NOPE.  More like half the size of my hand.  (I'm thinking that Australia inherited some of England's creepy crawlies, and then they just got worse over time.) I tried getting the spider with a shoe, but it made its way over to the stack of bedding I had removed and now it's lost forever and I'm terrified of going to sleep tonight.  UGH.

To take my mind off of the giant spider I went out for food.  There is a Tesco Express across the corner that I decided to hit up.  Tesco is like a super 7-11.  It has your basic 7-11 items like soda and sandwiches and milk, but it's bigger and you can actually do some actual grocery shopping.  I wanted to buy ingredients for a meal, but instead I just bought a few sandwiches, bags of crisps, a salad, and then scotch eggs.  That's what happens when you go buy food with your stomach instead of your brain.  Stupid stomach.

Got back to the flat, heated up a scotch egg, and then ate it with a hoisin duck wrap and a bag of crisps.  Finally worked up the nerve to shake out some of the bedding and the spider hasn't reappeared yet.

Let it be known - if I die it was that stupid spiders fault.

Tonight I'll be going out for dumplings and then tomorrow is my full daytime Cambridge tour!  Saturday we'll be going to Audley End and then London for a prom at 7:30!  (Prom, read: concert) Royal Albert Hall, I'm coming for you!

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