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Sep. 25th, 2005

I'm in the UK.

My trip over was uneventful. I wasn't very impressed with the TSA security in Boston, though.

As I was going through the line, they had a sign up illustrating what could not be kept in carry-on baggage. One of the items was 'tools of any kind'. It just so happened that I had two screwdrivers; one in my lumbar pack and one in my computer bag. I didn't want to lose both of them so I decided to play dumb and see what happened.

They missed both of them.

After I got checked into my apartment, I changed my clothes. When I took my belt off, my rescue hook fell onto the floor. I had walked through the metal detector with this incredibly sharp hook on my belt.

The folks in Boston havn't learned much, have they?

I managed to get my phone unlocked before I got here; now I'm a pay-as-you go Vodafone customer using my own GSM Treo. See rabidkitten or email me if you would like the number. My US carrier, Cingular, did not want to give me the unlock code for my phone. I had to beg, threaten, and cajole. They were unmoved when I told them I would be traveling overseas; they wanted to collect the $1.29/minute roaming charge. They were unmoved when I threatened to call the PUCs in California, New York, and Vermont. It was only after I pointed out that I was no longer under contract, my phone number was portable (to another carrier), and that they were going to lose our > 7 year relationship over some stupid roaming charges that they decided they could help me unlock my phone.

Vodafone is much cheaper than the Cingular roaming; the first three minutes each day are $0.60 each, then $0.10 each after that. Data is really expensive, though; it seems to cost about $1.00 each time my phone syncs with my Exchange server. I've switched off the automatic sync and will avoid using data.

My apartment is pretty nice; the building is right on the Kennett & Avon canal, though I can only see a small slice of the canal from the balcony. To get to work, I walk down the canal to the Thames, turn right, and there I am. The commute goes right by The Fisherman's Cottage, one of the two pubs in Reading that I know of that sell Fuller's London Pride, my local favorite beer.

The apartment is decidedly okay; it has every appliance that you might want other than a coffee maker. I brought a coffee maker and three pounds of coffee but no transformer; so sad. I've been using the electric teapot to heat water and pouring it through the filter section of the coffee maker. One thing our cousins know nothing about, IMHO, is making good coffee.

Conveniently, the apartment has a book with the instructions for all of the appliances; otherwise, I'd never have figured them out. Bizarre controls, if you ask me.

qrsline_small

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
rozebud
Sep. 26th, 2005 07:36 pm (UTC)
Wow - that's unbefuckinglievable about the security missing your screwdrivers and hooks. And yet, they had to "pat me down" because of the underwires in my bra when I last flew out of BWI. Idiots.

Never heard of Vodaphone; are they affiliated with Cingular? I keep meaning to look into a new cell phone (currently Spring PCS). I'd like to not pay more than I am now (about $45/month), but also get Mike one on the same plan. Just haven't had time to do the research, because there are SO many options.

How long you gonna be in the UK? Maybe you could post photos of the bizarre controls. ;-)
bxiie
Sep. 27th, 2005 12:35 pm (UTC)
Vodafone is a UK company... No relation to Cingular. All of the cellphone companies over here are not available in the US other than T-Mobile. FWIW, I don't think there is such a thing as a 'good' cellphone vendor.

I will be here for two weeks more. I will post pics at some point.
(Anonymous)
Sep. 27th, 2005 03:20 pm (UTC)
I don't think there is such a thing as a 'good' cellphone vendor.

Agreed.

Even tho you're working, I hope you have fun!
rozebud
Sep. 27th, 2005 03:20 pm (UTC)
I don't think there is such a thing as a 'good' cellphone vendor.

Agreed.

Even tho you're working, I hope you have fun!
bxiie
Sep. 27th, 2005 03:21 pm (UTC)
Thanks... I'm trying. ;)
readherring
Oct. 2nd, 2005 07:06 pm (UTC)
England, England
Wow, you're almost living in my world. Only, when I go to England, I stay in the village of Pensioner-by-the-Sea. Ask your co-workers to show you where it is on the map. Anyway:

Boston TSA: Yeah, they've always been a bit subdued. They probably have the waist area of their metal detectors turned down. Those things are regional - they turn them down for the waist to avoid nuisance tripping from buttons and rivets on jeans. If you had the hook strapped to your knee or forehead, it probably would've gone off. However, I wouldn't be too upset by it. The whole metal detector process is more of a nuisance than anything else. The important thing is that the pilot doors are now re-enforced so dangerous people like yourself can't take over planes with seat belt cutters.

UK Coffee: The best coffee available in the UK is from shops that use French Presses. You should be able to pick up one of those at Wooloworth's for reasonably cheap. ("Reasonably cheap" over there is double the American price) They don't call them 'French Presses', though. Too French-sounding. The proper UK term is 'Plunger Pot'.

UK Appliances: I commiserate with your mystification over UK appliance controls. But what really astounded me was that they left you directions. That's never happened to me with anything British.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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Bjamexza Q. Pyndejo / James O. Payne, Jr.
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