I arrived in \london this morning. \i'm using a British keyboard, so if this looks strange, deal with it!
\leaving Washington was more difficult than \i thought. \i made some nice friends there and \i will really miss everyone. \most of my classmates are off to their \posts; with just a few left taking language training for the summer. \laura and Cheryl drove me to the airport courtesy of Candy's available car. Candy is in Egypt visiting her family and left the car in the safe keeping of \laura,who is from \new \york and hasn't driven a car for over 15 years. We foreign service people are both flexible and helpful\1 Cheryl and \laura are taking french classes and all the way to the airport they were practicing. i can now say \'i am an american diplomat\' in French!
\i have a new method in how to pack for a trip. First, gather all your items and place them on the bed next to open suitcases. \next, open a really great bottle of champagne (the one that you had in the fridge and forgot to drink before moving). \proceed to throw things in the suitcases while alternating filling the glass with bubbly. \i recommend having a nice friend on hand to assist in the process and keep things moving. That was the best thing about moving so far!
I have a few things to say about the current state of international air travel. IT SUCKS! Well, maybe it only sucks on \united flights, but it really sucks. The service was fine, it was the accomodations. \i actually measured the space from the seat back of the large fellow in front of me to my seat cushion and \i came up with about 5 inches. \i mean, really\1 \you expect me to sit there for 7 hours with that little room? And \i'm a relatively small person; \i can't imagine what a 200 lb. man must endure. \i was on the asile, and \i had to literally jump over the arm rest and into my seat. my poor runner legs were really complaining with the lack of ability to stretch out. now, take all that info and TRY TO GO TO SLEEP FOR 4 HOURS. \yea, that's what \i thougtht. \i'm usually a pretty tolerant person, but \i really think they are pushing us passengers too far. \the food used to be good, but that has really gone down hill too. for dinner we got a choice of pasta or beef. both came with iceberg lettuce salad and banana cake. oh, you have to pay for alcohol now. it used to be free! \i had my own private stash, thank goodness. then after trying to catch some sleep in the pretzel position, we woke up to "breakfast." which was a cup of fruit and a piece of banana break in a plastic wrapper. Didn't the chef remember that we just had banana cake for the dinner meal? \yuck, even \i don't like banana desserts at every meal, and \i LOVE bananas. Anyway, try flying Air France if you get a chance. \i seem to remember they had good food and real silverware.
For some reason, my cell phone does not work in \london. \i'm going to try and email tmobile and see what the problem is. \I get a signal when \i first turn on the phone, then it goes away immediately. The bill is paid, so that's not the problem. \i expected the phone to work in \london and not freetown, but maybe the reverse will be true.
The hotel here in \london is fantastic. The Edwardian by Radisson. \i highly recommend it. It's only about 30 minutes from the airport and a shuttle will take you there for about 4£. \my room is completly modern, king size bed, (yea, like \i need that...\i'm alone!) all marble bathroom, can lighting, fluffy robe (perfect for my bath later) and crystal chandaliers in the hallways. There is a spa here but it was already closed for massage when \i got here, darn. There was an Indian wedding here when \i arrived. The ladies were wearing beautiful chiffone (sp) gowns and sparkly sandles. \Some of the men wore turbans. \it was really beautiful.
Well, \you're all probably tired of reading by now. \i leave for Freetown tomorrow at 1pm \london time. \i leave from the hotel at 11am, so \i guess it's time to get some sleep in this time zone...that king size bed is waiting\1
\love from this corner of the world,