Spent some time like a true tourist over the weekend, walked around the West End, Westminster, and the South Bank, taking in all the sites and making my feet sore.
But on Monday it was time to behave like a proper Londoner. Donned my suitcase-creased pants, put some MGMT on my iPod, and took the tube down to Southwark for my first day on the job. The office is small, about half a dozen people, and everyone's very helpful and friendly. I think the job is going to be challenging but it has lots of potential to be very rewarding professionally. My coworkers took me out for some beers after work at the neighborhood pub, The George, where (I was mistakenly told that) the the pilgrims in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales imbibed before heading south. (I for one can't think of a better way to start a pilgrimage.)
I'm living at a short-term hostel right now, so all the people here are on the same 6-month work visa that I am. Life here is eerily reminiscent of a dorm: the ubiquitous stench of body odor, the incestuous drama, the late nights. The variables are the manager, Bill, a socially awkward Deadhead, and Doris, the Maltese cleaning lady. She reminds me of that homeless woman who "feeds the birds" in Mary Poppins. I think Bill and Doris deserve their own post. I'm here for about 5 more days before I move into a flat in the East End.
So, have you been to London before? I'm on the prowl for free (or at least freakishly cheap) stuff that's worth my time, so if you have any recommendations shoot them my way.