Thursday, June 25, 2009

London: Without the Fog

I have arrived and am now trying to adjust to typing on the British keyboard in the internet centre of my residence, a keyboard that has just enough keys out of place (including two extra character keys to the right of (;) which makes me type # every time I want to hit Enter. Ahh, acculturation.

The weather is astoundingly good. I spent the afternoon wandering through Covent Garden and actually took my lunch outside a French brasserie where the sun blazed down, making it almost too hot. Something that usually only happens on the sardine-packed Underground.

I've enjoyed bustling along reaquainting myself with the city. I have not gotten lost yet. Yay.

One of my favorite things about this British Isle is how beautifully its inhabitants make use of space. On a sun-washed afternoon like today's, every miniscule green space was filled with friends, families, and couples lounging idly in the grass or sharing a picnic. Even my university flat, which is cheap and cheerful minus the cheerful, has its own private garden.

England and its northern neighbor Scotland have a dearth of space. The two countries have been fighting over this little island for a long, long time. And the Scots know full well that though the highlands are sublime, they are the most hospitable to sheep and not metropolitan centers.

I think the multiude of green nooks, hidden flower beds, and luscious parks that thread through Britain's cities offer perpetual resistance to the press of population of this former empire.

Speaking of evil empires, when I tried to Google something on this computer (it's the hall's computer and not my beloved Mac) it refused to let me go to Google and forced my searches onto Microsofts new "Bing" search engine. Even when I typed in and started the search again, the computer overrode my action and sent me back to Big Brother Bing, with no way to escape.

That was when I got scared.

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