Jason: After last night's festivities, we're ready for a day of playing tourist in Bournemouth. Bournemouth is an old resort town, and people have been coming to the area for a long time to soak in the rays on the beach and enjoy their holiday (note usage of British term for "vacation"). According to informative posters, the town's primary source of income before tourism was that of smuggling. Arrr, matey.
To get a good start for the day, we head downstairs for the "breakfast" part of the Bed & Breakfast. Amy heads straight in on the Full English Breakfast because she was the only one that liked all the items offered (toast, eggs, sausage, "bacon", tomatoes, mushrooms, and coffee), while Carolyn and I opt for a smaller subset of the same. I say "bacon" in quotes, because it's not quite what we're used to in the USA. Here, "bacon" refers to a thick slice of ham that's been browned thoroughly; much what we would call "Canadian bacon". What we yanks consider bacon is called "streaky bacon" here, and so far we haven't found any.
Anyway, after tanking up on a (very) full breakfast, we upload the latest from the blog (sorry it took so long, no other internet in London that we could find), and head out for the beach with Sharon and Phu. We walk directly towards the shore, which is a dramatic cliff overlook of the beach and the water. After walking for a short bit, we find a path down to the beach and proceed to walk towards the center (centre?) of town.
The main part of Bournemouth reminds us of Santa Barbara; there's a pier with some amusements on it, plenty of food vendors, an arcade, and lots of people out enjoying the sun (and it is a nice day; partly cloudy and in the 70s). We walk around, play an arcade game or two (Phu is a big fan of live-action horse jockeying), and settle in on a fish and chips restaurant for lunch. After our fill of battered and fried sea creatures, we head down to the Oceanarium to see some live ones. It's actually a cool little aquarium, complete with several tanks representing fish from around the world. They even have a large tank with a plexiglass tunnel through it so you can see the fish from below. I enjoy the Hawaiian reef fish exhibit, as it reminds me of home.
After this, we wander around town a little more while (whilst?) Amy and Sharon flirt with purchasing clothes and accessories in some of the many stores. We even run into Max as he runs some last-minute errands. After resisting the Siren Song of Retail, we agree it's time to walk back to the hotel, and strike out in what we think is the right direction. Alas, we have no map (Sharon and Phu tried to buy one, but the machine ate their money), and my usual sense of direction is not as spot-on as usual. We wander in the correct general direction, but end up at the train station instead of the hotel. Tired, we decide to catch a cab back to the hotel rather than walk another mile to the hotel.
Back at the Balincourt, Jill (another high school friend) and her husband Kyle have arrived from their first stop in Iceland. We regroup and head back into Bournemouth (by cab this time) for dinner at a pub. We enjoyed a new drink - a pear flavored hard cider. As it stays light late into the evening, we spend some time after dinner walking around town, and taking Jill and Kyle down to the beach (since they weren't with us earlier). We walk back the way we came in the morning, and after a steep ascent back up the cliffs, we're back in the hotel.
We settle in for the evening, reading the paper, catching up on the blogging, and checking our e-mail. The girls head out to briefly meet with Sarah, and when they get back we decide to call it a night. We've got a big day of wedding tomorrow!