Sunday, November 6, 2011

Public Transport Woes and Bonfire Night

I am fully moved!

When I first came to the UK, all my worldly possessions (in this hemisphere) fitted into one suitcase and a backpack. Now I have enough to fill the suitcase three times over, as well as the backpack.And a plastic bag. And a small blue guitar.

On Saturday I dragged my empty suitcase back to my old flat, filled it and started back to the new flat. When I got to the tube station, the next train on the fast branch was eight minutes away (eight ENTIRE minutes) so I took a train on the slower branch and got off at Waterloo.

The change at Waterloo is quite long, but it includes a travelator which is fun. Just as I reached the Jubilee line, a train pulled up going west, and I just managed to get on.

At this point I should mention that, usually, I have a pretty good sense of direction. Unfortunately, it doesn't work in the Northern Hemisphere. It goes further than not being able to tell where north is - I keep believing east is west and west is east, even when I think about it.

So yes, I was on the wrong train. I lugged my suitcase, guitar, backpack and plastic bag of food off at the next station, Westminster (by the Houses of Parliament - maybe I was subconsciously trying to visit them on Guy Fawkes?),  up the escalator and onto an eastbound train.

All was well after that. Well, mostly. I caught the bus that set me at the top of the hill rather than the bottom, but halfway through the route the bodiless voice that announces the stops declared "This bus is on diversion", and kept declaring it every ten seconds.

We were not going in the right direction. We were not going to pass my stop.

The bus finally doubled back again, and I followed us on Google Maps until we were the closest we were going to get to my flat, then jumped off and dragged my suitcase, guitar, backpack and plastic bag up a hill,  muttering to myself all the way.

Stupid diversions.

Saturday night was Guy Fawkes, or as it's more well-known here, Bonfire Night. This night comemorates the day 406 years ago that Guy Fawkes and some other people tried to biow up the British Houses of Parliament, and in New Zealand people let off fireworks (it's the only time of year you can buy them) and watch public displays. In the UK, they have bonfires too, and throw straw effigies of Guy Fawkes on them.

I'd researched a few displays and had two options, but for one of them I didn't know the bus route and I wasn't going to trust myself to unknown public transport after the day's public transport adventures. Instead I went to North Greenwich, where I was able to see two fireworks displays as well as the Canary Wharf skyscrapers all lit up (one of them was doing fake fireworks in lights all along its side) and a green line of laser light shooting across the sky.

A green line, pointing north, near Greenwich. Hmm. Could this be the earthly representation of the Greenwich Mean Line?

And the bus got me back home with no trouble! Hurray.

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