Travels – Part B

… after arriving at Paddington the volunteer that showed me the nice luggage cart directed us through Paddington station – Elliott and Karl had to take three different subways a few days before to get to UEL (University of East London where we are staying) – so I was planning on doing that even with all my gear.. but she directed us towards some old mail tunnel in the building which fed us out to some loading dock under the building.  From there there were a bunch  of cabs there they were being used as shuttles.  Like I said in the pervious post I hadn’t researched as much as I should how i was going to get all of my stuff from Heathrow to UEL and was even thinking of cabbing it the whole way – that would have been super expensive – like $150 us… So instead I paid $0 (you’re welcome faceless bean counters!).  For the Olympics we were given a free Oyster card – basically a card to ride all of the subways and buses.  Anyway, long story short, I got in a cab just like this one:

it took about an hour to drive from Padding Station to UEL – had to drop off some guy I shared the cab with but it was considered a shuttle so it was free.  Luckily Linda K, our telecoms guru, provisioned my iPhone for data so I could figure out where I was during the trip – I also downloaded the subway – or Tube rather – map-ap.  I was struck at how short London was – I mean buildings – there aren’t that many tall buildings, well at least the route we took.

After I got to the UEL nobody really knew where I was supposed to go.  A nice lady directed me to an office in a building at UEL… and I waited, and waited, and waited, for an hour for someone to help me.  It was a little frustrating to be steps from my hotel room and not be able to get inside.  I was hoping to take a quick nap and shower but that wasn’t going to happen… well I did take a quick shower but not a quick nap.

Here’s the building we’re staying at and check out the video Elliott did of the rooms – reminds me of being on a cruise ship – except smaller!: I have a nice view of the water and London City Airport.  Planes start to take off at 6:30 am.  But actually that doesn’t bother me at all since I live kinda close to the San Jose airport so I’m used to hearing plane noise.

Needed food and needed to meet Elliott and Karl to go and buy some local phones for talking.  I’ll talk about the logistics in another post – but long story short – this Olympics is going to be logistically very difficult.  We are intermingling with the public A LOT.  Which I don’t like, especially when carrying around expensive gear, kinda freaks me out.  It takes two subways to get to the main Olympic complex and then after that we have to wade through the largest mall in Europe to get to yet another bus that will take us to the MPC (Main Press Center) or Olympic Stadium, etc…  ridiculously busy mall traffic – 4 p.m. on a Monday!:

One of my favorite foods is Mediterranean food, especially gyros, so I figured since we were half-way to Greece the gyros must be good in London, even the mall, looked decent… ended up being the worst gyro I ever had – it was so gross.  And I was starving and I couldn’t finish it… Met Elliott and Karl and we walked over to get some local cellphones.  Also picked up a towel (the one towel we are given feels like sandpaper) and soap.  For Linda:  Elliott watches guy writing hand-written receipt for phones and sim cards – haha:

Afterwards we walked back through the mall to get to a bus which would take us to the MPC (Main Press Center) – there I ran in to a few familiar faces – funny enough Elliott and I were riding the elevator up and the door opened and my friend Jed Jacobsohn, a great bay area sports photographer, was standing outside waiting to get in!  We were heading up to the USOC (US Olympic Committee) office and he was heading up to the New York Times office (for whom he is working the Olympics for).  Also ran into Julie Jacobson (yes spellings are correct), from AP, Ronald Martinez (Getty), legendary Terry Schmidt (UPI), Stephanie Mullen (AP) and John Leyba (Denver Post).  While I was there I got my Olympic photo vest (required to wear), internet access ($250 US for the whole time), locker, and a few other things.

Afterwards Karl and I decided to walk over to the Olympic Stadium, not an easy feat – but we did it… took about 15-20 minutes.  I did a few 360 panoramas:

Afterwards I walked back to the mall and Karl went to the MPC – I relaxed at the mall for about an hour and waited for them for dinner.  We went to the World Food Court in the mall and I had some pretty darn good Indian food – but I was starving so maybe it wasn’t so good… but I thought it was:

Finally headed back to the room – took a few subways and we were back… I had to do a little bit of work, about an hour or so, but after 31 hours I passed out around 12:30, but then woke up at 2:30, then passed out, and then woke up at 5:30… and finally fell asleep until 9.  Gonna take it quite a bit easier today… hopefully check out a few venues and do some more panorama’s.


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