It may seem a little late to start a travel blog after being away for over 2 months already. So we have a lot of catching up to do don't we!
1/9/2011 - We flew to London on a horrific 30 hour flight via Dubai. I shouldn't complain as it was a nice big plane and had only a 2 hour stopover, but having to sit in a chair for that long when you don't have the attention span to watch more than 2 movies is quite a challenge. Am not looking forward to doing that again.
Well the above paragraph turned out to be the least of our worries as our first email to our parents below would point out:
We have an update for you! Are you sitting down? A hint as to what kind of update this is is in the subject line of this email. Yep, we're in London!
Now before you freak out let us explain. It's a long story.
After spending our first weekend in London as tourist we were keen to get to Oxford and settle in to our new home. We knew pub work would be hard. But on the train out of London we both agreed that as long as our accommodation was ok then we'd be happy. We arrived at the pub at around 7pm after a long, stressful day of meetings and running around London while dragging our luggage behind us. (I started to get blisters on my hands from doing so). One of the pub managers took us to our room, which was up up several flights of narrow stairs (stairs are our worst enemy when we're carrying our luggage) and instantly we noticed how dirty the place was. Toilet paper strewn throughout the hallways. Food mushed into the carpet. It smelt really bad! And then there was our room. Half full beer glasses left behind by the person before us adorned the windowsills. Even the pub manager said that it was disgusting and whisked us down stairs for a free meal and drinks while he sent a staff member up to clean the room.
But that was only the beginning. The whole place was awful. The bathroom was worse than anything I've ever seen. While there was was plenty of toilet paper strewn throughout the rest of the building, there remained only a handful of tissues on the cistern. The toilet didn't flush. The floors and walls were moldy. I wouldn't want to attempt to clean myself in that shower. It was truly awful.
Then there's the staff. All a lot younger than us, and on the Monday we arrived they decided to get boozed and tell us what The Trout is really like. They said every staff member has cried at least once in the couple of months they'd been there. They said the pay was crap, they were all aware how crap the living conditions were and none of them wanted to be there. They then insisted on constantly 'visiting' us and we were forced to barricade our bedroom door shut with our luggage. The only time we were grateful for it being so heavy.
After a sleepless night, in the morning we decided we had to leave. We didn't want to be miserable. We felt completely uncomfortable and thought it was better to leave then, than leave in a couple of weeks when we'd started training etc.
So we told the manager that morning (after accidently setting of the restaurant and accommodation security alarm) and left right away. We had to walk a bit, in the rain, but eventually caught a bus into Oxford. We then got on a train back to London.
Now we are in London. We've found a house to rent in Kilburn near Camden and it's a palace compared to the Trout. We have a huge room with a fridge, heaps of storage, a couch, table and chairs and even a sink! We've paid our bond and first month's rent already. We have been on the hunt for jobs for 1 and a half days now. I've had one interview and we have applied for dozens more. There are heaps of jobs out there, it's just a matter of getting one. Yes it is scary, but we'll be ok. We are in the same situation as the majority of other Kiwi and Aussies who move to London are. I know you'll be worried about us, but please don't fret!
Will send photos of our house through soon. It's Saturday today so we're going to explore the Camden Markets and Abbey Road Studios.
Hope you're all well and are enjoying the RWC. We watched the All Blacks while eating our breakfast yesterday.
Pip and Steve