First a word about where I’m staying. It’s a hotel called Base2Stay in Kensington, about 5 minutes’ walk from the Earls Court Tube station. London hotels are ungodly expensive, and when researching a place to stay, I came upon horror story after horror story about cheap hotels that had terrible service, or no air conditioning, or smelled funny, or were in crummy locations, or whatever hotel horror you want to imagine.
All at a price I could not afford.
Base2Stay is pretty nice so far.
For £105 a night, I’m getting a clean room with a personal A/C / heater, a mini-kitchen, which few hotels can boast in the £100 range, and a nice bathroom with a towel heater, which is really handy for drying clothes. And the people here are nice in the “go way out of their way” sort of nice, plus they’ll shower you with restaurant coupons, should you so desire.
Room 114 is tiny. Microscopically so. It’s smaller than just about any hotel room I stayed in when I did my grand tour of Japan, and if you’ve read my Japan trip entries, you know I stayed in some tiny hotel rooms.
So I was a bit surprised when I saw what my £105 was getting me.
But in spite of that, it’s a nice little room with all the amenities I need– even a decent-sized shower. (But the shower head is too low, and the water can’t make up its mind if it wants to freeze or scald me on a regular basis.)
Is it perfect? No, but it’s a really good little place to crash that’s cheap for London, and expensive for most of America.
Like Elvis, Krispy Kreme is Everywhere
Anyway, on to the day’s activities… what excitement awaits? Well, today I got the phone straightened out. It wasn’t using the Internet properly, so I had to take it by Car Phone Warehouse to have them fiddle with it for a few minutes to get it to use the 3G properly.
Then I decided to head to Paddington Station to see about some lunch. Nothing really grabbed me inside the station as a lunch source, so I went outside and started wandering.
I found a nice little deli outside of the station, and had a chicken salad baguette and a coke for £3.50. Not bad for London. I went back to the station and did some grocery shopping at the Sainsbury’s there, and discovered that my U.S. credit card doesn’t work there.
I’m not even going to bother with it, I think. If I pay cash, it’s more painful, so I’ll spend less, and I will know when I’m spending money, because I will experience it in a more visceral fashion.
Spotted in Paddington Station, two things: 1. A statue of Paddington Bear. (Of course.) 2. A Krispy Kreme. (They really ARE everywhere.)
I went back to the room to study for the test after that.
Of course I bought doughnuts.
In the evening, I decided to go out for dinner for a break. First, I stopped by Boots’, the chemist’s shop, to pick up some liquid shower soap. Nivea for Men for £1. Inexpensive, and I’ll smell manly in a Euro way.
Then I headed on to Tokyo Spicy, a relatively new Japanese restaurant a few stores down from the Italian place I ate at the other day. The food was very good. I had okonomiyaki, which I haven’t had since I was in Osaka in 2007. I had it with pork this time. Yum. Wasn’t a big fan of the ginger beer, though. I prefer American ginger ale. The ginger beer was too sweet, and wasn’t very spicy. Give me Blenheim’s Ginger Ale any time. Mmmmm.
After that, I headed to Cafe del Coin, because the sign said they had crepes. They did not. They did have this chocolate caramel thing however, that was crunchy and went well with a cappuccino. Good enough for me. (I would have really liked a chocolate and whipped cream crepe, though.)
I haven’t had a good crepe since I was in Osaka in 2007.
Then back to the room to study. I love the room, but good lord, it’s tiny. It has just about everything I need, except a real desk and chair. It would be nice to sit on something besides the bed for a change of pace.