So yesterday ran as smoothly as it possibly could’ve. All of my connecting flights were on time, had an empty seat next to me each flight, and when I arrived at baggage claim in Heathrow, I walked in the room just as my suitcase came into view. My train from Heathrow pulled into the station just as I was walking up and my hotel happens to be only about 4 blocks from Paddington Station, where the train ends up. My hotel room is tiny but so cozy. The bed is a little twin bed, but could be a giant down-filled pillowtop mattress compared to the beds I slept in in Sofia. Anna and I went around the corner for Indian food for dinner. I had the most delicious lamb masala of my life. We came back to the hotel to sleep because we’ve only got 1 day together and we wanted to get up early to pack as much in as possible. We’re hoping to see: The Tate Modern, British Library and Museum, the Tower, and some other odds and ends along the way. It’s about 7:30am now and the sun is rising (good sign!) and the forecast is for 10 degrees C (50F). I plan on uploading photos tonight when we get back.
The greatest thing is that everything is in English! No more Cyrillic alphabets and quick-paced Bulgarian! My whole psyche is breathing a huge sigh of relief just for this fact. One downside of being here: things are expensive! I’m having to do new mental math when I read prices. In Turkey and Bg, 1lira or 1lev was about the same as $.70USD. Here it’s the opposite. 1 pound is equivalent to about 2 dollars.
Alright, I’m off to start my day
We made it! It only took two long plane rides, a lot of lost time, and a little bit of recouperation. But we made it, luggange and all. We are staying at the Sultan Hostal in the old part of Istanbul and they’ve miraculously got wireless! For 5 of us girls for 4 nights it came to 57EU or 108 Turkish Lira, which is roughly about $80USD. It’s not luxurious, to say the least, but it’s definitely comfortable. We’re about two blocks from the Haiga Sofia mosque and they broadcast morning prayer, and I mean broadcast, every morning at 6. I’ve forgotten my camera cord up in the room (no elevators), so ‘ll upload pics later on.
Well in a little over 7 days, I’ll be flying over to Turkey to begin my adventure. Last week, we had a conference call with Herbert Achleitner and the other attending students to discuss the conference and any questions we had. I am slightly concerened about the wifi situation in Turkey and Bulgaria, but I’ve been assured that there are actually wireless spots in and around Istanbul and Sofia. I am also somewhat concerned about the level of security I’ll have with my laptop over there. I suppose that this is one of those instances where you’ve got to throw caution to the wind and trust that no one’s going to steal your identity. Maybe I’m being naiive…
Anyway, we’ve got no plans in Istanbul except to explore the Mosques and the Bazaar. From there, we’re planning on taking a bus from Istanbul to Sofia, which was recommended over the train in terms of price and comfort.
If everything goes smoothly wifi-wise, I will be heavily covering the conference here on the blog with photos and discussion. Amy and I are almost finished with our poster for the presentation. I’ll be interested to hear what people think about it. It’s a rather tricky subject to be discussing library services related to virtual education in a global market to a group of Europeans. As an American, what I’ve come to think of as a library here has a very different meaning elsewhere, actually everywhere else. In some respect, we’re not really able to address the world’s education situation coming from a country where 1. basic education is free, 2. access to technology is rampant, and 3. libraries in the U.S. strive to be everything to everyone. But we’re posing the solution to some of the most basic road blocks to global higher education: technology. I’m fully prepared to get schooled, but if being overly optimistic is wrong, I don’t wanna be right.
Cross your fingers for safe travels and abundant wireless signals!