I started writing an e-mail several days ago, like I said I would. A little update on my trip. But I wrote it from my laptop and it’s not until today that I could get the thing online. By this point, I’ve got that whole blog idea and mailing list going. But since the thing’s already written, might as well paste it in here.
Subject: 'ello I'm in England, specifically MP Roger Casle's office in Portcullis House. I followed Nancy to work today. She's in a committee room 14; I'm waiting for her to get back so we can go to lunch. I missed breakfast. All I had time for was a cup of tea because we were going to miss the train from Surbiton to London. And because I had to buy a train ticket, Nancy didn't have time to grab her cappucino. I thought the British drank tea; I guess Starbucks is causing a cultural shift. Or is it just capitalizing on a cultural shift? Highly debatable. I still haven't spent any pounds. I've been putting everything on my Mastercard. I was just thinking this morning how amazingly convienent it is to travel in Europe. I mean, compared to years ago. Even 2 years ago when I was here last (3yrs since London). I mean, you can almost get by without any local currency, and when you do need it it's as easy as typing your PIN into the ATM. And now with the Euro, you only have to do that once to get your money on the continent. When I went around a few summers ago (with Micah and Alisha) we had to handle: sterling, Belgian franc, gilder, deutschmark, krone, krona, koruna, forint, lyra, pesos, and dirham... plus the dollar makes an even dozen. Wow. And this time I just need pounds and euros. How convenient. Another case in point: for 10 lbs I picked up a GSM SIM card at the airport, giving me my own phone number, free incoming calls, and 5 lbs towards outgoing calls. All I had to do was pop it in Jerome's spare Nokia 3310, which it seems everyone has an extra lying around. I remember talking to Gabrielle in Bordeaux, after we had both received cell phones from French friends, "they give them out like candy." So if anyone wants to call me: +44 07952 889284. Use a discount long distance code/card because calls to cell phones cost more. (Incidentally, they call them mobiles here. Their first network was GSM. In the U.S. the network was based on analog cellular first and then a bunch of new networks popped up: Qualcom's CDMA, Sprint's PCS, etc. I think AT&T uses GSM, but on a different band than in Europe. Europe itself has two bands, but most phones sold here are dual-band so they work all over. Tri-band phones are still expensive. You don't care, I suppose. But you may be interested to know that Hedy Lamarr invented frequency-hopping: http://www.cae.wisc.edu/~wiscengr/issues/apr98/hedy.html ) [above was written 03/06/2003 18:43. I didn't get to send it because I have yet to get my laptop online. All I need is a cat5 cable to rig something up at Jérôme's, but they don't sell them anywhere in Surbiton. I think I can exit the brackets now.] So it's 16:09, 05 June 2003, at the moment and I'm over the Irish Sea. Half past four we should be touching down in Dublin. I'll be staying with David, who works as a programmer, so I'm optimistic about getting a net connection and finally sending this e-mail. I've got my itinerary more sorted out now: Dublin till Sunday, then back to Surbiton. Then to Brussels Monday evening until Thursday evening. Then Mainz till Saturday or Sunday. ....crap, I have to put my tray table up. Attendez, s'il vous plait.