Let’s see, I left you all on the train to Cambridge. Well Cambridge is really cool. It’s like a really, really dressed up college town crossed with a medieval walled city crossed with a Disney World ride. After I arrived and checked into the hostel, I went to a pub called the Eagle. A few notes on the Eagle. 1) It is located about half a block from King’s College (possibly the single most famous school in the world--think John Maynard Keynes, Alan Turing, and Salman Rushdie). 2) It is more than twice as old as the United States and has been in continuous operation since 1525 (that’s not a typo). 3) During WWII, RAF and USAF squads on R&R would meet here and write the names of their fallen comrades on the ceiling in the back room. You can still see the names today. 4) And the only thing I knew about it--Watson and Crick went therefore lunch six days a week for two years as they hashed out the structure of DNA, and it was in the Eagle where they first announced that they “had discovered the secret of life”.
I talked for a couple of hours with some air force pilots in the back room, and turned in relatively early, as all of the pubs close around 11, whereas the “social clubs” stay open later. Most of the students appeared to be dressed up in ridiculous costumes for I guess socials or something.
In the morning, I alit from my hostel to see the college and town. The town is nothing too special--a couple of plazas here and there--but the university is amazing. It’s located on what seriously looks like a fake river (the river Cam). The river is incredibly picturesque, maybe because it was actually sunny for once. It runs through most of the colleges, and I guess provides a large source of income for the students as everywhere you go, you are accosted by them to see if you want to go “punting.” I did not “punt” the river, and instead, I just walked around and took a nap in a quad (I am incredibly sleep deprived--hostels have been somewhat hostile to my sleep patterns--I think every night so far I have been woken up at 3 or later by either a neighbor or a roommate).
I rode the train back to London and by the time I got back to King’s Cross, I had roughly 13 hours to kill. I decided to go to Arsenal, and see if I could catch any of the “football match” (you’re welcome Billy). Note: soccer talk begins here, read at your own risk if you don’t know anything about soccer or just skip to the next paragraph. The fixture was level at nil-nil deep into the second half when I got to the stadium. I walked around the stadium and found a pub about a block away, where you could hear the stadium noise at about the same time in real life as on the tv. I hadn’t realized that this was kind of an important game for Arsenal. They are in second place in the league, down seven points to United with six games left. They basically had to win the game, but if they did, they would only be down four points with five games left including one with Manchester at the Emirates. So, there was a big injury in the second half which set up for 8 minutes of stoppage time (preposterous). Then in the 7th minute of stoppage time, Arsenal got a penalty kick after one of their forward was tripped in the box. Place is going bonkers. They take about a minute and a half to set up the shot and eventually score. Place is going more bonkers. 9 minutes into stoppage time at this point. Liverpool are desperate. They drill the kickoff at the goal almost goes in. They get the ball back, drill it in one last time. They draw a free kick on the edge of the box--last kick of the game. It get deflected by the wall, and in the scramble for the ball, an Arsenal player falls on top of a Liverpool player--PK. Liverpool score and the full time whistle is blown. Tie. It’s as though the queen just died. People begin to file outside the bar, all in shock and dismay. Let’s hope that Madrid-Barcelona is this exciting next Tuesday when I’m in Barcelona.
I spent the night in the Luton airport as my check-in time for my flight to Dublin was 5 AM. A miserable night, and I am even more sleep-deprived than I was yesterday. I am in Dublin now though awaiting the first friendly face in a week in my friend Stephen. More to come.