What did just happen? Neither my mind nor my body are quite able to understand what’s going on.
I woke up to my alarm at 8:30 am, and I wasn’t able to move my arms or even my fingers well enough. The whole body felt like cotton wool. I went back to sleep and woke up with a headache, still not feeling rested.
The thing is – it’s moving. The ship is moving and rocking, and you can feel every bit of it. I’m sure many of you were laughing at Jack Sparrow’s walk in Pirates of the Caribbean, but hey – that’s how we’re all walking right now. For someone whose sense of balance is below zero it’s quite a challenge. I feel like everything is moving – my organs, my brain, my whole being, rocking right to left, left to right.
Me and my roommate Rachel got out of beds and crept to lunch which was our breakfast. We went down the quiet corridor, up the stairs to the cafeteria. There’s a piano lounge on the way there, and the beautiful sounds of music reached through the corridor. The lounge was empty but for the player, who turned out to be this Russian professor, Dmitry, that we have aboard. So in total there are four Russians aboard: him, me, and two guys from Kazan. The amount of international students turned out to be pretty small – about 50 in total, but only 17 of those who study outside of the US.
I still can’t navigate the ship well enough, but there are seven decks, three of them mostly occupied by cabins. The dining halls are on upper decks, swimming pool is on deck 7 and is unbelievably tiny (sad me). Everything is shining and neat, the ship is well-cared of. It used to be a cruise one, and now the MV Explorer is a floating university with the biggest library onboard that any of the cruise ships have – over 9000 books. Yesterday and today we’ve been having all these orientation meetings which were really long, although informative. I was only able to set up my email account earlier today. Tomorrow is the first day of classes and I really hope my organism will adjust to ship realities by that time. I last sailed when I was twelve, down the Nile river in Egypt. The trip lasted only three days and I remember I was fine. Well, I’m getting older… And it’s a sea.
London was amazing. It felt like home from the very beginning, and I’ve been able to navigate quite well from the very beginning. British accent was a piece of cake [thank you BBC’s Sherlock]. I walked so much that my feet still seem to be angry with me. I’ve been to British museum, National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Victoria&Albert museum, and even made it to Tate Modern. I’ve seen Rock of Ages and We Will Rock You at local theaters (real pity we didn’t book in advance and couldn’t see Les Miserables, Wicked or Book of Mormon). I’ve actually never been to a musical before and I loved it!
The only drawback of the city is pricing. Everything is stinking expensive (actually, just like Moscow, but you know, I don’t have to eat out two-three times a day in Moscow). Local buses are great, but the Tube, even new trains, have bad ventilation system – the one that old Russian trains have, when the train is only ventilated when moving. The city also has a [seemingly] amazing bike rental system, Barclay’s. However, my “Jewish luck” (Russian expression) got the best of me and the system charged me 150 pounds for nothing. They charge you that when you don’t return the bike to the docking station in 24 hours, but I never borrowed one for longer than 30 minutes, and always made sure I docked it properly. Still mad about that, emailed Barclays, now waiting for a proper answer.
I’ve been couchsurfing – for the first time – and it was cool. Will have to plan my further couchsurfing ASAP, as I totally forgot to do this while in London. It was a fun experience when I planned everything perfectly before arrival to London, and then my flight was delayed, I missed my train to London and had to get to Putney where I was to stay via bus. But London turned out to be full of awesome people ready to help, so it went smoother than expected. Maybe I’ll be able to post my small London diaries, if I’ll succeed to finally set up emailing from my iPhone.
So, back to MV Explorer. Headache seems to be vanishing, which is great. It’s chilly in here – the Americans, as usual, don’t care, they grew up under air conditioners, but I have to wrap myself in a few layers of clothes. The cabins have the heating, though. Was fun to meet people with whom we interacted a lot via Facebook in real life, including my roommate.
Will try to go and explore the ship now, practicing my Jack Sparrow walk. Tam-tadam… Tam-tadam… Tam-tadam-tam, tam-ta-da-dam…