Currently there is a Category 4/5 hurricane, Gustav, heading towards New Orleans, only about a week after we left. The whole city is being evacuated. And we thought our Tropical Storm Fay was bad enough!
So we left poor Geoff alone on Tuesday morning, and moved into our new flat in Milton Keynes. (Geoff has very graciously been putting up with having both us and Donna in his room at his flat - there was no actual floor space left!)
Carrying two huge bags each onto the Tube was a bit of a hassle, since there are lots of steps. The British are actually really nice - at each set of steps, strangers have helped us carry our bags down each time! In America, people are very friendly, but they don't usually offer to help you.
Our new flat is in Bradwell Commons, one of the nicer areas of Milton Keynes apparently. We also looked at Fishermead and Eaglestone, both of which are dodgy areas, but decided the slightly cheaper rooms didn't really compensate. We have four guy flatmates from Sri Lanka. They cook really yummy-smelling curry each day. We have the downstairs room, which opens onto the patio outside. It also has its own bathroom next to the kitchen. It's about 15 minutes' walk to the railway station from our house, and about 5 minutes' walk to the city centre.
Milton Keynes ('MK') as a city is the most American of British cities. It was manufactured about 40 years ago from three different villages, so it's a series of roundabouts arranged in a grid. The city centre itself is essentially a huge mall surrounded by various bland office buildings. Walking around, you mostly see car parks. It's a car city. In fact, the whole city is rather bland and boring for our tastes.
But we do feel that we've missed the interesting bits, and the "English village" look - maybe they're in Bletchley (part of MK) or something. MK is supposed to be an extremely hip and vibrant place to live for young people, but neither of us can see it. Although David Beckham occaisionally rents out the whole of the Xtreme building, which has the largest indoor ski slope in Europe. So I think we'll have to try that out at some stage.
We're at Martha's for the weekend, since Brendan has a course in London on Monday. We're about to go to the British Museum - it's incredible! Hopefully we'll have internet and a phone by Tuesday.