notes from the road

A tale of two cities

I’ve just spent the week with Becky in London and have had a splendid time. I have spent a fair bit of time in London before, but haven’t lived there. It is obvious but useful to draw some comparisons between New York and London, having experienced both in such a short space of time. Initially I thought that London couldn’t touch New York, and my first impressions this time supported that. I had to pay six pounds for an all day pass to get to and from the airport which is about twelve dollars, and an average run on the subway cost about two or three pounds depending on the zoning, this is much more than the two twenty five that it costs in New York to go anywhere. Also Manhattan where I spent 90% of my time is very very small compared to London, and it really showed on the tube as it took ages to get about. On top of this, due to London’s age, the city is is sprawled all over the place and is quite hard to navigate. Yet it is for this reason that it spins around and pokes New York in the eye. London is beautiful. That is something that I have never thought about New York. I met up with Alison and Emma for lunch just off Bond street and we popped through this little doorway opening on Oxford street which lead through some alleyways to a hidden square where we had lunch in an Italian restaurant. Then afterwards I wandered to Trafalgar Square with Alison and we passed the most marvelous buildings, cobble stoned roads and ancient, well cared for parks. It really was fantastic in a way that New York just isn’t. I remember Emma telling me last time that we met that New York was a bit like it had been stuck in the eighties. While I was there I didn’t feel that at all, but in contrast to London I can really see that. It is all tall buildings. The people, accessibility and activities are what really sell New York. London is pretty.
So now I am on a bus bound for Portsmouth where I will  board a ferry sailing to Saint Malo in Brittany where it will dock ten hours later. I will then have all day to reach the tiny town of Romeenez or something like that where I will be picked up by Tony who will take me to my accommodation in Plelauff. I’ve been doing a bit of thinking about what I am getting myself into, as I guess would be wise considering the money I am spending on it and the place  I am going – and I am still quite happy with my decision and how everything has unfolded. I haven’t heard back from my Senegalese friend that I met while checking coats, but I will have the time that I am in France to sort out a job for next year. My only objective now being to get work in a French speaking country. I feel that I should really throw myself right into the French learning. I would like to do at least an hour of study a day with my program and really test myself with the locals so that when I return to England for Christmas I will have made some substantial improvements on what I now know. I would also really like to have a job lined up somewhere for after Christmas. Ultimately I would  like to go straight on to the next place, but I may have to look at a joiner job somewhere – perhaps in England. But I will sort that out while I am in Plelauff. Turns out that there will only be two other people doing the course with me, two females (so I can’t share a room and get cheaper accommodation). I’m not sure if this will be good or not, it could mean that as there are fewer people there then I will have more of a chance to speak French with the locals, or it could mean that we hang out as a group more often. Oh well, lets just see how it goes.

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