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(Still on the 1st of February)

I have a hard time pinpointing the Welsh accent. It sounds kind of like Yorkshire, or just Northern English accents by the way they stress certain vowels, mainly at the ends of words. And it's very intriguing to me that Welsh is actively spoken today. It's a freakishly hard language. Apparently the sounds change depending on their placement in the sentence. And don't even think about trying to pronounce the words. The ancient Welsh must have considered vowels evil, or at least the alphabetic symbols for them. Geez. But absolutely entrancing to listen to. I found a Welsh tv station while going through the channels on the tv in my room and my mouth was literally hanging open as I watched and listened. So weird. Also, British drama sucks, so when I was done gawking at the strange Welsh speech, I found a channel that was showing Futurama (which I had never seen before but enjoyed). It was nice having a tv and a room to myself. Very nice.
On the 31st, I walked to the university and found the building where I had to meet Stevie. She brought with her Nigel, the poetry tutor, so I could meet him. That was nice. They were both very encouraging and open. The pogram seems great, and if I'm going to write in a place of inspiration and beauty, Swansea is a great spot for it. I hear the Gower Penninsula is spectacular. So yeah, I'm definitely leaning towards Swansea. It would be hard to be away from Nick, though. Very hard. The more I think about it, the more I wonder how it will work. But there's still many more months to be had with him before I would go. So, I shouldn't worry about it right now.
It's been exhilarating to explore new places by myself, but also exhausting, especially in Belfast (where I am right now). I just have to be constantly aware of my surroundings.
[this is when I found out that I had been accepted to the program. I wrote about it already in a previous LJ entry]
For finances, Emily told me that I could get a part time job with a student visa in the UK. So that would work. I'm sure the university has available jobs...
But yeah, I definitely think I could write well in Swansea. The ocean is so beautiful, even if it will be raining there a lot. After going to the uni, I walked back along the beach. It was so pretty. I liked seeing all the old people with their dogs on the beach. Oh yeah, that's another thing. It seems there are only several kinds of breeds acceptable for ownership in Swansea: Australian shepherds, collies, shelties, and the occasional small and shaggy terrier. Very interesting. The old men seem to favor the collies (both border and regular). But anyway, it was a nice walk back despite my feet starting to get blisters. I took some pictures then saw this couple on the beach hugging. Then that made me lonesome so I walked faster and then just chilled out in my room until I wanted to get something to eat.
I ended up eating at the closest pub to the BnB. I have since forgotten the name, but it was close. Therein lay its appeal. The walk to it is very interesting (and to the Tesco, which is further down Oystermouth road). I grew quite familiar with that main street, Oystermouth road. It faces the sea, and should be immediately renamed "accommodation row." It makes perfect sense, of course, why the street is lined with little independent hotels, as Swansea is more or less a beach resort town in the summer, or at least a gateway to the other more "lush" beaches on the Gower Peninsula. They were probably all built at the same time, the city council most likely fearing to run out of accommodation for the bustling tourists. Consequently, according to my proprietor, Richard Baber (a non-native Swansea resident actually), the city council has a small town reluctance to make decisions, so "accommodation row" may have very well been their last hasty decision, and since the scuffle of development have adopted a more cautious approach to city improvements. As such, I noticed several sorry looking "Lynchase" hotels boarded up and vacant for quite some time. They're all very small, these independent places. Maybe 15 rooms each. The Beachcomber Hotel (called a hotel but really a BnB) has 10 rooms, most facing the sea, and has the most cheery exterior that attracts attention, being painted a very bright red. That's a way to bring in business. Plywood windows are not really a good welcome sign for visitors, but I suspect that when the proprietors have to close shop, it's up to the city to fix up the outside. But again, the city council has better things to do like save money on a post office by putting it upstairs of another building. Yeah. I don't know what nitwit cast the deciding vote on that measure but they're very stupid. And mean. I guess handicapped people can't be independent and send their own mail, huh? Richard told me that this proposition gave Swansea and its little old ladies with canes something to riot about, but the city went ahead with this move anyway. Very gutsy for an ocean town.
To get to Tesco, you also have to walk past a big wall on your left on Oystermouth road. I wondered what was hidden behind it, until I saw the sign for "Swansea City Prison" not long after I wondered when the wall would end. Note to Swansea's previous city council: what the hell? Why are you giving convicts views of the ocean?! Prime real estate! Aren't they supposed to be serving a punishment?? Geez.
Regardless, it's a cool building with big beefy front doors that could survive a Viking siege. I suspect it was built in the Victorian era when people were starting to feel generally more humanitarian.
"Oh yes, Roger. Give him 15 lashings but return him to cell 1A where there's a fabulous view of the bay at sunset!"
Frickin Victorians. They were messed up.
After dinner, I just walked to Tesco again to see if they sold alarm clocks. They didn't. So I bought some cereal bars and went back to my room. I watched mindless tv until I was tired and went to sleep. End of day 2 in Wales.

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Rachel

September 2007

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