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10 Jul 04

day 6: rye

another day, another day out. today, jo and i used up another train pass and visited the south eastern town of rye. it was described in our tour book as “impossibly beautiful”, so i was a bit skeptical. we got off to a slightly later start than normal, and spent some time at charing cross station trying to figure out how to actually GET to rye. it’s a complicated process that involved first taking a train with 15 or 20 stops to a town we’d never heard of, and then change there to the “scenic route” train to rye. it was a long process, and we didn’t arrive in rye until after 1. the train rides were long but less obnoxious than yesterday’s – fewer little kids going to see the impossible beauty i guess.

when we arrived, we wandered around a bit with a map we grabbed from the train station and weren’t super impressed – the buildings were old and stuff, but they were just buildings. so, we went to the tourist information centre and payed 1.50 for an audio tour. i’d never taken one before so i wasn’t sure how that’d turn out, but it turned out to be quite cool, even though it was decidedly low tech – a sony walkman circa 1989 (in my case with slightly dying batteries and a very low volume tape). the tour itself took about 2 hours or so, and it was quite interesting. jo and i took a zillion pictures that i’ll try to post tomorrow at some point (i don’t have the camera’s usb cable at the moment, alas) whether you like it or not.

we didn’t end up finishing the tour til after 3, and we realized we hadn’t eaten yet. unfortunately, most food serving establishments in rye apparently close at 2 on saturdays, so we wandered around for ages before coming across a “cafeteria” that served us some lovely cheeseburgers, complete with freezer burnt buns. mmmm, mediocrity.

a fun bonus of today is that it was serious allergy day #2. the clarityn i bought a few days ago did absolutely nothing, so the pharmacist in rye gave me some zirtek, which may or may not be by prescription only in canada. i haven’t tried it yet (apparently it doesn’t mix so well with clarityn), but i guess i’ll see tomorrow.

i’m currently skipping out on going to a pub with some of andrea’s friends unfortunately. i intended to go, but i didn’t sleep nearly enough last night and going to a pub while blowing your nose every few minutes is the opposite of fun. i’d like to grab some food and head to bed within 1/2 hour or so. that’s the goal.

a couple more random observations about britain that i forgot to mention yesterday:
a) as you may or may not know, i tend to wear a lot of t-shirts with writing on them. often just band names, but sometimes longer things (like yesterday’s “i’m a rocker. i rock out.”) anyway, for whatever reason, i constantly notice people reading my shirts here – it’s unavoidable. andrea calls it a country of gawkers, and i’m inclined to agree. women in low cut tops receive similar treatment.
b) i understand that cars drive on the opposite sides of the road here, but good lord, i never know where cars are gonna come from. the fact that cars park on the wrong side of the road constantly (as jo is fond of pointing out) doesn’t help matters; nor is the fact that i have a lot of trouble telling when i’m on a one way street ’cause the centre line is never yellow. i look both ways repeatedly before crossing though, so i’m still alive.
c) the weather here is insane. it’s not unheard of in canada for it to be sunny in the morning and rainy in the afternoon, or to have a sunshower…but here it alternates: sunny, cloudy, hot, cold, rainy, sunny, etc. i find myself lugging an umbrella everywhere, and usually a jacket (except today when i could’ve used one…oops).

and now, i’m off to find some food and hopefully some sleep.

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

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