Cheerio! So we arrived safe and sound in jolly old Cambridge at around 3:00 pm (that’s British Time for all of you rubes still stuck on crappy East Coast Time) yesterday afternoon. The trip from Dublin to Cambridge was quite smooth…overall, the entire trip was surprisingly easy.
We touched down at Heathrow in London around 11:00 am or so. Wrangled our bags onto the luggage carts relatively quickly…in fact, the luggage almost beat us to the terminal…quite efficient. From there we made our way towards the train station downstairs. This was as far as we had gotten with our advanced planning. So, we were trying to decipher the self-service kiosk and I guess we looked sufficiently bewildered, because a friendly airport worker asked if we needed help. Luckily, I put my ego aside for a brief moment and asked how to get to Cambridge. She told us to take the bus (or coach as they like to call it…I think to distinguish it from the public transport that operates within cities) and pointed us in the right direction…which turned out to be a good call. In retrospect, not sure where we would have ended up had that lady not happened by.
Anyway, we made our way to the bus terminal in the airport and purchased 2 one-way coach tickets to Cambridge on the good old 787. I paid with British pounds and everything…because I’m super prepared like that. The bus left about 15 minutes or so after we got there…perfect timing. The trip took about 3 hours because there were several stops along the way. I missed most of it as I was sleeping off my hangover from the ridiculous amount of mini-cocktails I imbibed on the flights (not really). At the last stop before Cambridge, one passenger shouted out to the bus driver, “is this the Cambridge stop?” I yelled out “newb!” and heckled him relentlessly.
After that bit of fun…we off loaded in the middle of Cambridge…complete with our 7 bags. We were greeted by a nice young lady from the Cambridge Christian Student Society (or something) at the bus stop (I didn’t get a chance to ask her if she knew that there was room on the cross). All kidding aside, she was very nice and helpful in pointing us toward the taxi stand. Everyone we’ve come across in our short time so far has been very nice and helpful but…I guess I would say…not too hands on. This is a great improvement over a university I went to briefly in the U.S. (not UCF), where the people were friendly, but also liked to get all up in your business.
The taxi dropped us off at our college and we went about getting our apartment keys from the Porter’s Lodge (love that term) and taking care of some paperwork with the student liason person…who was awesome. After that, we made our way…with 7 suitcases in tow to our new home just up the street (about 200 meters or so). Of course, it had started to rain by this point, which was ideal. I have to say…the World’s Strongest Man Competition might consider adding the long distance suitcase pull/push as real test of dexterity, strength, and stamina. If they did…I’m quite confident I could finish in last place…at best. But alas, we did finally make it and lugged all our possessions up to our second floor apartment.
After settling in (and napping), we managed to spruce up and head back down to the college for a Fresher’s week pizza social for new grad students. This turned out to be rubbish as it lacked any semblance of organization…but we managed to throw down a few quid (or something) and cut to the front of the pizza line and grab our allotment…because that’s how Americans roll. Didn’t really talk to anyone as many seemed to have their little groups…or they were at least faking it…but I did make one very promising connection with a young Asian lad. He asked me if the party had started yet and I gave him directions to the person in charge (I think) and told him how much it cost. I think we really hit it off…though I’m not at all sure he was in the right place.
Anyhow, that’s how we spent our first night. Today we’re just working on getting some more administrative issues taken care of…for example, I apparently have to register with the police office because it says so on my visa. Can’t blame them really…I’d want to keep a good eye on me too. Hopefully we’ll get to check out the city a bit as well and purchase a few essentials…like tofu.