Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Breaking Culture Shock 2: Jetlagged in Staines

I was 17 hours in transit getting home.  To get a cheap ticket in October, I was forced to accept being routed through Chicago last Saturday.  So, the day went like this: 8 am dropped off at Montreal airport; 10 am, fly to Chicago arriving around 12 pm; wait for 4 hours in Chicago (I had originally been booked to leave Montreal at 11 leaving less of a layover but this was changed by the travel company); leave Chicago between 4 and 5 pm; arrival at Heathrow at 5:30 am, well before the 441 bus starts running to Egham, so instead I catch the 285 to Feltham.  In Feltham, last Sunday, the train was not running.  Another bus, and I was back in Egham and in my flat by 8 am!  That seems a bit long to me for what could be a simple six hour journey on a direct flight.

So now I was faced with a long day ahead of me and the strong urge to just sleep for a few hours.  To fight this urge I decided to walk to Staines.  I had not been there before but had always gone past in the train.  Being a new resident of this area I decided (actually my jetlag decided) that now was the time.  In my mind Staines lies somewhere in a hierarchy between Hounslow and Richmond, looking strictly at the high streets. 

The 'high street' in and of itself is a very British thing, although North Americans have the same thing.  It's usually called 'Market' or 'Main' street or something like that.  It's nice to have a place to walk around where there are no cars.  

I called my little excursion a 'psychogeography' though it was more 'psycho' and less 'geography.'  It did kill 4 hours and I tried to make a mental survey of the landscape as much as possible on a low battery.  I hit the back way home past the turn off to Virginia Water, got home and immediately jumped on my bicycle to keep the momentum going.  That was when I discovered the 'back way' to RHUL campus, by which you can get here entirely through farmers fields and forests.

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