Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Days of Doing Administrative Stuff...and the first beer tasting.

But again, at least I'm doing administrative type stuff on campuses that look like this:

That's Brookes University Harcourt Hill Campus, not the campus I'm primarily located on (pics of that to come later), but it's where I had to go to get things like my faculty ID.  It's not quite like the campuses located in the city center:

(that's New College [I think]-- I'm sure it was "new" at some point).  But Brookes is still charming.  What I really have to take a picture of is the Sports Center at the Brookes Heading Campus-- I figured out how to register for a gym membership, and then when to tour the facilities. I've never seen so many machines packed into one space.  It's hard to tell if it's simply that they don't want to waste space or if it's a really heavily utilized gym (the students haven't returned yet, so there was barely anyone in there)-- but when and if it's full, I'm betting it's hard to even move in there.  But, even better, there's a cafe located in the same building-- with beer taps.  It's a bit of a culture shock-- for one, it's a student dining area, which means students can drink pints at lunch (it was open when I arrived there yesterday-- sort of around 1:30, so I'm guessing it's open every day at lunch-- there's almost no one on campus for the next week or two, so I'm guessing if it's open when no one is around, it's open during the regular semester.  That's all conjecture though.) and I'm just not used to seeing bars located in the middle of college campuses. Two, I don't think of bars as part of gym culture (except for protein shake bars...I don't think a protein shake was an available option)-- there's a certain appeal to it, except post-workout all I ever really want is water and more water.  (And, pre-workout drinking seems really ill-advised-- at least for me.)    Now, I have to figure out how to work going to the gym into my actual schedule.

There's a part of me that, given how beautiful the weather is here (not at all like what I would have expected-- everyone keeps telling me the summer was awful, cold, and rainy and this gorgeous sunny weather is an anomaly) thought rather than join a gym, I might just run in this park, Bury Knowles, which is across the street from my flat:

(I love that there are animals carved into the benches).  I think I may be being lured into a false sense of good weather... I'm trying not to get too used to it. It's a nice change from the US even-- when I left from Dulles, the temperature was close to 100.  Low 70s and sunny here really is perfect.

I'm going to have to do some regular exercise, for may sanity mostly, and because I would like to spend more time in places like The Turf Tavern, which I went to last night and am now in love with.  (I'll need to get better pictures later... it was getting dark when I took the few I did.)
That's the back patio-- I was going to take pictures of the chalk boards on the walls that talk about the tavern's connections to famous literature, like Hardy's Jude the Obscure, and famous people, like Bill Clinton (it's rumored to be his favorite hangout in Oxford) but it was too dark.  I'm hoping I can find my way back though.  This is where the entrance is:
There's an alley way right before the arch, with a sign you wouldn't notice unless you were looking for it (though for someplace that seems really difficult to find-- you really wouldn't know it was there unless you knew it was there-- it was amazingly crowded).  Fortunately, it's right near the Bodleain Library (which is the building beyond the arch), so at least there's a pretty famous and visible landmark to guide me back. It's much easier to see and appreciate (and universally recognize) from the other side of the arch.

 I need to try more beer there (and other places...hence the need for a gym.  I also need to avoid sounding like I'm an alcoholic.), mostly so I can discover what I actually like to drink here. Beer tastes really different here than it does in the US-- but it's hard to describe how it's different now that it's the next day and I don't have the beer in front of me anymore. I normally favor darker beers in the US, but the one dark beer I tried at The Turf Tavern was pretty sweet and probably my least favorite.  Surprisingly, I think I liked the lightest colored beer best-- which actually seemed a bit heavier than the darkest one. I also tried what looked like it would be a red ale (I need to start writing the names of these things down... some of them have really great names) but was nothing like what I would expect a red ale to be.  I think that's what's strange-- it's not that the beer isn't good. It is-- but it doesn't taste at all like what I would expect based on appearance.  There's a beer festival (I think as part of Heritage Days) at a pub (that brews its own beer) in my neighborhood this weekend that I may try to go to (the weekend is a bit packed because all the High Point students arrive tomorrow )-- I'm wondering if the actual brewing process is different.

I also still need to try fish and chips here... (the whole gym thing seems more and more imperative, even considering how much walking I'm doing).

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