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SURVIVING LONDON
 
by Grahame Beaton

     The Rosetta Stone, Elgin Marbles & other marvels at the Museum . . . manuscripts from Gnostic Gospel papyrus
     to Beatles' lyrics in the Library . . . . the Turners at the Tate or van Goghs at the National Gallery . . . a play on the
     West End . . . the view from St Pauls . . . the Tower . . . Hyde Park . . . . a brief stroll down Pall Mall, St James
     Park & Buckingham Palace. London is a moderately exciting city but why did they have to name all their streets
     after a Monopoly Board?

      Lord Nelson overlooking his domain. The Thames, Big Ben, Westminster . . . . squirrels in the park. A pelican
     shaking itself - wondering if it is in the right part of the world. It is.

     Rule No. 1  Stay warm. Leather jackets, long underwear, vitamin C, whatever it takes . . .

     Rule No. 2  Work out a rough budget, eg. how much can you afford to spend each day, & decide how
     much you are willing to commit to accommodation. (Keep a travel diary & laugh often at the way you keep managing to blow your budget . . . )

     Rule No. 3  Find some accommodation to suit. Now with the internet it is possible to find your room before you
     leave home. If you are young & don't need sleep & want to meet heaps of people then hostels  are definitely the
     way to go. But in London even sleeping in a dorm is not cheap. If you are older &/or want some privacy &/or
     have met enough people for a while - then a private room is probably more attractive. http://www.studios92.com/ provide clean
     rooms with essential shared facilities & close to the city. So you can grab a weekly train pass & each day
     tube-hop your way around the sights, the galleries, the plays, the concerts . . . (Hint: to get good seats to the
     theatre half-price go to Leicester Square in the afternoon. Good luck!)

     Rule No. 4  Find out where the closest internet cafe is located so you can keep in touch with home & with travel
     companions in other parts of England, Europe, the world . . . EasyNet  in the city is hard to beat for price &
     convenience. Internet Exchange  has scanning facilities for those holiday snaps that just won't wait. If you have a
     laptop then Free ISP  will interest you.

     Rule No. 5  Find a local to show you the great places to drink and cheap places to eat. (A bit of advice on what
     places to avoid - not all the streets are paved in gold.)

     And then getting up early - a walk in Russell Square thinking TS Eliot something about 'coffee spoons'  - sitting in
     a cafe & watching the Londoners & the tourists. Everyone is so busy - talking about money shares property web
     pages marketing . . .  I should feel guilty.

     I compose myself in a more business-like aspect and compose a few email. 'The weather this winter is so mild' &
     'I dread to think what London is like in summer - the plays all sell out & the streets are all so busy and it is only


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