London Calling

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We arrived in Calais and discovered that the trains that would hypothetically usually take us to the ferry weren’t running anymore today. Whoops. A man in a suit came out and nicely called us a taxi, which we shared with two women heading into the city, so we didn’t have to pay the full 42 Euro, only 30, which we split.

We got to the ferry, bought tickets, and were seriously interrogated by British immigration. This woman was a bitch. We’re only staying in England for a day, but I had to dig through my back pack to get my returning flight ticket(from Berlin to US), and then she held it in her hand for about ten minutes saying “I can’t find the date on this.” The other woman eventually pointed out its obvious placement.

They asked about our school, what year we were, our ages, when we got to Europe, all that. They were more intense on Bailey, I had my hard-face on.

It didn’t help that we were the last in line. But some folks came up behind us and they passed us on. We went outside to a courtesy bus that was to take us to the ferry. It looked like this man and two women were unloading their entire apartment onto the bus, right there in the aisle where people are already standing because its so full. Their car had broken down, they said. They had to move it all this way. It was packaged terribly, as well. A framed picture, and a TV screen, all out in the open, no cover or protection. Lots of little things, lots of mini trips back and forth from cart to bus—the other folks crammed on the bus weren’t thrilled about the time it was taking, they were anxious to make it to the ferry and, most of them, make it home to England.

We made it, though, and went up to the deck and watched us leave the Calais port. Here we were, ferrying across the English Channel to Dover. I loved being by the water again, I feel comfortable near water.

We got a table by the window inside, and ate bread we’d saved from hostel breakfast this morning(hostel breakfast = bread.. that’s it.). Bailey went to change 40 Euro into pounds, and then I went to spend it.

“Keep calm and celebrate,” the bottle said—and we did, with beer and chocolate.

As the ship was pulling into port in Dover, I found myself, once again, surrounded by Englishmen (or so I thought…). How this happens, is usually it starts with two of them, but the more sentences exchanged, the more show up. There were eight of them, by the end of it. They were recommending cool places to check out in London, that sort of thing.

But the ship was in, so they headed to the stairs, I finished my beer and we strapped on our packs.

We went down a flight of stairs and out into where they keep the cars…we figured we probably shouldn’t be there, so we went down another flight, cars again. We went down a third flight and walked out, nearly right into the van of the guys we’d just met upstairs. It was a pretty big van, so I asked if they could give us a ride(you know, kind of joking but not really). They were headed to something North of London about 45 minutes…they said we could go with them then get a train from there back to London…but to get there would’ve taken 2 and a half hours, so it was a bit out of our way.

But the trucks in front were moving, so we had to decide something– we got in the van.

A few minutes of iPhone address-searching and all that, and they said they could drop us at Maidstone Station, where we could then catch a train into London, and to our final destination with Bailey’s relative whom she’s never met.

I told Bailey we should just hitchhike the rest of the way(now three countries I’ve hitchhiked in…Costa Rica being the first, Nicaragua the second…but that was last summer, and that was actually thumbs-out hitchhiking). I was half-joking.

There weren’t any instruments in the van so I asked why they were all traveling together. They live in England, but they’re all Italian. They’d gone to the Italy-Croatia match. It was a draw.

We were lucky, they’d started with 11, but three of them had flown back. We were a bit concerned about getting stopped by immigration, as there were now only eight guys, but two American girls in addition. But we passed through without a problem.

They sung a song they made for us, and Marcello even wrote down the lyrics for me. Its called the Blackburn song, and I recorded it on video.

We’re Backburn Rovers we are
supreme

We won’t Be Mastered By the
Burnley Bastards, we keep the
Blue flag flying high

forever ever we follow out team,
we Blackburn Rovers we are supreme

Come on Blackburn…

The rest of the ride to the station, they recommended all sorts to do in London, and told us to go to Liverpool, and also some places in Amsterdam. We made it to the station, and caught the 22:48 Train to London Victoria, where we’ll be arriving in half an hour. Then we switch to another train headed to Crystal Palace. We’d told Bailey’s relative, Deirdre, that we’d be getting there about seven…but Bailey called from the station to tell her we’d be arriving about 5 and a half hours later than expected.

 

Laptop battery dying.

London calling.

Adventure ensuing.