My First Time in London Essay
629 WordsNov 28th, 20113 Pages
My first time in London
I think that the most exacting trip that I have ever made was the one when I went to London England. I was on summer vacation in Thailand at the time and was supposed to be returning home to the Dominican Republic; however, I had a better idea, I was going to England instead. Leaving through the airport in Bangkok was absolute chaos; they were building another airport at the time to accommodate the increasing number of people, and judging by my experience, it couldn’t come soon enough. The lines at the baggage collection and check-in were crazy. It took me a while to realize that there weren’t actually any lines. This was very stressful and a lot different from what I was used to in my home country.
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There seems to be one on every corner, which is convenient. The people who works inside the pubs are called “Poms.” are not always the smartest, but they certainly know how to please a weary traveler. After watching a dance performance and thinking about what a fantastic day I’d had, I went back to my cousin’s apartment to get ready for some well earned sleep. Sightseeing is fun, but getting to so many places can be exhausting! I had to leave London the day after because my father found out where I was and bought me a ticket to go home.
I was very sad that I had to leave so soon, but I have to say that London is a sprawling city with a unique heritage and sights by the truckload. It is a “Must Visit City,” and even if you can’t handle the crowds and noise, you’ll get a kick out of just being there and experiencing such a historic place. These were just my first impressions of London, there’s so much more to it and anybody that goes to London would be foolish to not experience it for themselves at any chance they get. From just one day in London I came away with enough memories to last me a whole year, my time in London reminds why traveling is so great. I hope I can go back soon. I love
The night of my flight started off fine. My parents made sure to hustle me out the house to reach the airport on time, and check-in was unusually fast. After only showing my passport and boarding pass which I printed out from home, within a minute, my one suitcase was on the scale and then lifted on the conveyer belt.
After check-in, I went to a currency exchange station and changed about $100 US into Great Britain pounds. I was really excited to go through security with my new money, which wasn’t a lot since the US Dollar exchanged to Pounds, is almost nothing. I was not the only looking excited to travel. There were British families in line ahead of me, and college-aged students behind me, probably studying abroad as well, with smiles on their faces.
After security, I went to the waiting area of my gate. Almost all the seats were taken and it wasn’t even that close to the departure time, the plane was just that big. I did not have to wait long to board the plane though.
My flight was approximately 6 hours long. I was served a three-course meal dinner, which was actually pretty good, and then small breakfast which was just a croissant. I also had time to watch “A Million Ways to Die in the West” as well as countless episodes of Family Guy and American Dad. I only slept for about an hour and a half.
At approximately, 9:45am London time I hopped off the plane and attempted to cross the UK Border. However, I could not find my passport. When you enter a foreign country, you have to show proof of why you are going there. My passport and landing card was what I needed to pass the UK Border; however, I could not find my passport. Since I am a study abroad student and had proper documentation (i.e. a letter from my study abroad school), I was good to enter the UK, if I could find my passport. After searching for about 5 minutes and praying to find it, I had found my passport in my folder inside my bookbag. It was smooth sailing from there but only for a little bit. Baggage claim was next. I found my bag quickly, made a few calls home to my parents and brothers and then headed out.
Here’s where the struggle got real: my original plan when I arrived in London was to take the National Express bus, which is a coach bus service that takes you around England, to New Cross, which is where my school for the next 6 months is located. However, after waiting on the customer service line for 40 minutes (yes, that long), the teller told me none of their busses stop there. Furthermore, the guy did not even know where New Cross was. I was highly upset because I had researched this bus company many times, heard such good reviews about them from past study abroad students, and saw that it went to where I needed to go online. I could have even purchased a ticket online, but didn’t for some reason. I was even more upset that I wasted 40 minutes waiting for the teller to instruct me to take the Underground, when I could have been home already.
The Underground is the equivalent to the subway system in NYC, however, it is much cleaner, smaller, and prettier. I got directions from an airport help desk employee, only after phoning my mom and practically crying because I did not know where I was going and I had too much luggage to carry on the subway. A cab was not an option though because I would have been too expensive. The airport employee was nice enough to tell me where I had to go and how, but he only knew up to London bridge, which was 15 minutes away from New Cross gate. He instructed me to ask an Underground employee at London bridge for directions on how to get to New Cross when I reach there.
I did as I was told. I bought an Oyster card, which is the same as a Metro card in NYC, however, it is hard like a debit card and more expensive. I paid £5 for the card alone and then £10 for the trip, so £15 total. I only paid £3.10 for my actual trip though. A train which in England is called a ‘tube,” left directly from the airport, so I did not have to go outside. The Underground system was surprisingly easy to navigate. I hopped the only one I saw (Picadilly line) and got off at Green Park. I follow the signs to the Jubilee line, like I was instructed, and then looked for the tube that was going to the stop I needed, which was London Bridge. The names of the upcoming stops on the trains are displayed above the windows in perfect sight. They are also listed on the Underground walls near the platforms. All you have to know is the name of your stop, and I promise, you will be good in London.
I got to London Bridge with no problem, besides having to pull my heavy suitcase and little one, on and off the tubes and throughout the station. Good thing there are clean and working elevators, which in London, they call “lifts.” When I got to London Bridge, I could not find any staff to ask how to get to New Cross, but I did find a help point. A help point is like a machine where you press a button and a staff member answers any questions you have. I asked the respondent how to get to New Cross Gate and she told me two ways to get there. I decided to take her first option which just sounded easier. At this point, my back was hurting from wearing my heavy bookbag. My hamstrings were hurting me from walking and dragging my suitcase behind me, and my body, in general was tired from lack of sleep on the plane. I was so ready to reach my dorm.
The tube I needed, according to the lady, was actually not at London Bridge, but at Canada Water, so I had to get back on the Jubilee line which I was on and get off at Canada Water. At Canada Water, I still did not know my way home. I went upstairs to a ticketing booth and saw a worker who asked me if I needed help. She probably sensed my confusion. I asked her how to get to Goldsmiths college, and she called someone else, and then reported to me that New Cross Gate was closest, and pointed me to the rail that would get me there. Stupid me, however, did not realize New Cross and New Cross Gate ran on the same line but different tubes, so I hopped on the first tube that said New Cross, and it was the wrong one.
At this point, I was too tired and weak to be lost, so I asked a passenger how I can get from New Cross station to New Cross Gate. Lucky for me, the man said he was headed there so he would be able to show me. He grabbed my large suitcase and walked me up a hill and around a corner until I saw a building that said ‘Goldsmiths.’ I was so close to home I could taste it. The man had to go to work and did not know how to get to my specific dorm, so I looked for someone who did — a college-aged local. Just as I suspected, he knew exactly where Loring Hall was and it was not too far from where I was standing. I rolled my suitcase in the Management center, got my keys, had a staff member take my large suitcase up the stairs (I live on the top floor and there is no lift), opened my suite door, and then room door, and celebrated my arrival. By celebrated, I mean, I met my hall mates, looked for food, looked for an adaptor, set up my wifi, and eventually went to sleep.