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09 Jul 04

day 5: windsor

today was windsor day. jo and i used up day trip #2 of 4 and took a train, expecting it to be much like yesterday’s. in fact, it turned out to be more like a train in calcutta, in jo’s words. picture having to slide the window down and reach out to open the door while seated inside – pure class. to make things more fun, we were on the same train as about 15 kids who were absolutely out of control. we deduced from their incessant chanting of “legoland legoLAND LEGOLAND” that they were, in fact, heading to windsor’s legoland. regardless, their presence (read: “screaming”) was especially difficult on account of the tired this morning. (when i met jo today she greeted me with “yes, i’m tired.” that says it all).

windsor castle was pretty okay. we took a 45 minute guided tour which was essentially a brief history of england as related to windsor castle. it was interesting, although more rehearsed than the tourguide we had in cambridge yesterday.

we spent some time inside the castle as well. queen mary’s dollhouse is absolutely insane – it’s enormous and just goes to show that some people shouldn’t be in possession of enormous wealth. the rest of the public area is filled with stuff that was stolen from other places in wars (blah) and stuff that has been otherwise accumulated by spending insane amounts of money. i guess i wasn’t as impressed as many – mostly annoyed, especially when we were confronted with no less than 5 gift shops on the grounds, after paying 10 pounds for admission.

an interesting highlight of the day happened when jo was looking for a garbage bin before walking into the castle. the security guard explained that they all have to be manned for fear of bombings and the like. fair enough. before letting us go though, he asked where we were from. when we corrected his guess of “the united states”, he said that the queen is also our queen, and that she would arrive at around 4 to the castle (where evidently she spends her weekends). he also said that since we’d come so far, maybe we’d be invited to tea. we unfortunately weren’t sure how much, if any, of that was serious. as it turns out, she DID arrive at windsor while we were there, but she snuck in the back way. boo.

we also took a quick peek at eton at the end of the day, and took a few pictures. it was less than impressive and i’m not sure it was worth the walk to see. alas, they can’t all be gems.

we met up with andrea tonight and went to ciao bella piano bar for dinner, and had a pint at the lamb while awaiting a table. it was a fun and pretty late night, and i arrived home too late to use my normal internet cafes. on a whim, i tried out the random wireless signal that i can get in my hotel room, and it’s the strongest it’s ever been. i’m typing this literally in my window sill, and will have to post this asap so as not to lose it.

a couple more random observations about england thus far:
a) i really wish people would pick one side of the sidewalk to walk on. i blame this mostly on tourists who can’t adapt to walking on the left side, but christ, it’s really annoying.
b) i’m not certain, but i think i’ve run into as many people who aren’t british as those who are. and i thought kingston was bad for tourists.
c) what on earth am i gonna do with a pocket full of these enormous stupid 2p coins?

the tentative plan for tomorrow is rye. should be fun.

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Pronunciation: 'ch&mp
Function: noun
Etymology: perhaps blend of chunk and lump
Date: 1883

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