A Brighton Diary: Where do I go and how do I get there?

Note: This is the second part in an on-going series chronicling my study abroad trip in Brighton, England. I am joined on this trip by my classmates and friends Cassie Jenkins, Claire Robertson, Vy Nguyen, Jhocelyn Alvarado, Morgan Collier, Abigail Pennington and Susan Salvo, led by director of student publications, Andy Coughlan.

Day 2 — June 13

I awoke Wednesday morning to the smell of bacon and quickly got dressed and headed downstairs. Fortunately, I had slept well through the night and got about 12 hours of sleep.

Andy decided he would make us breakfast every day of our stay in Brighton. We were treated to a traditional English breakfast — bacon, sausage, fried eggs, toast and baked beans.

The bacon is thicker here than it is in America, but tastes the same. The sausage is good, but it has a weird texture — soft, almost like boudin, but without rice. It’s not for everyone, but I liked it. The fried eggs, over-easy, were perfect. Along with my toast, I had butter and orange marmalade, a new favorite of mine. On its own, orange marmalade is too tart, but the saltiness of the butter evens it out. I opted out of the baked beans, I just couldn’t eat them so early in the day, but I’m sure they were great.

Coffee, milk and orange juice (with “juicy bits”) accompanied my meal. The perfect start to a long day.

Our assignment for our first official day in Brighton consisted of a scavenger hunt — a way for us to figure out our way around town. We hopped on a bus (yes, a double decker bus) and proceeded to Clock Tower in Churchill Square, a central hub for the comings and goings of almost every bus in the city.

The Clock Tower features portraits of Queen Victoria, Albert, the Prince Consort, King Edward VII as the Prince of Wales, and his wife Queen Alexandra, when she was the Princess of Wales. From the left, my friends, Vy (front), Susan (bottom row), Morgan, Cassie, Jhocelyn, Abigail (top row left), Claire, and myself. Photo by Vy Nguyen

We were given a list of 14 places to find as a group without Andy. But first, we needed a game plan. We headed over to a coffee shop called Pret A Manger to figure out the rest of the clues, and to develop a route of how to get to each place.

Look, we’re all communications majors, so reading maps is not exactly any of our fortes. Luckily, a local couple exiting from a bus saw that we were struggling to understand the bus schedule, and they told us which one to catch, where to be picked up, and let off. They saved us from at least another half-hour of confusion.

The number 13 answer on our scavenger hunt list was the house of the late actor Laurence Olivier. His was the farthest out, so we decided to go there first.

Well, Baron Olivier’s place turned out to be more trouble than anything. First, we got off at the wrong bus stop because Morgan thought that she had seen a house with his name on it. She did, but it was just an apartment complex named the “Olivier House,” and, as far as we could tell, had nothing to do with Mr. Laurence himself. So, we turned around and proceeded to our route — 15 blocks later, we reached the flat with the official black plaque stating its authenticity.

Then came problem number two. Morgan filmed each of our stops as a vlog, and everyone from the group read one of the clues that was presented to us on the worksheet. I read the clue for the video and then we were positioning to take a photo in front of the plaque for our assignment when a lady approached us and asked why we were on her front door steps. We had no idea that someone still lived there — we figured it was just a landmark, maybe even a museum. She asked us to stop filming and to leave, so, off we went.

Laurence Olivier’s house is number four in this row of houses on Royal Crescent. We weren’t able to get our selfie, although in hindsight, we could’ve taken it from the street. Photo by Olivia Malick

Next was the West Pier, a rundown pier that fell victim to arson twice in 2003 and was left to rot in the sea. It has become quite the tourist attraction since, however.

The pier, circled in green, is parallel to the Brighton Palace Pier. Photo by Claire Robertson
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Another view of the West Pier taken at a later date. Photo by Olivia Malick

We then journeyed on to the Brighton Fishing Museum.

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The Brighton Fishing Museum is a small tip-of-the-hat to all the fishermen who solidified Brighton as a commercial hub for England. Admission to the museum is free. Photo by Susan Salvo

By this point, it was after one, and we were all hungry and had only found four out of 14 places. We met up with Andy, and he led us to the Caroline of Brunswick pub, another location on our list. Their kitchen was closed, however, so we headed down to the Open Market (another location marked off our lists) to find some grub.

Caroline of Brunswick was the wife of King George IV. They did not have a happy marriage, however. It was often characterized as tragic. Photo by Cassie Jenkins

The Open Market was just as it sounds — an open area with various markets. It was interesting to see everything the place had to offer. Small shops with handmade crafts, local restaurants and even a Vans store lined the sides of the space. After much deliberation and increased hunger, I decided to eat at the Korean Japanese Deli with Jhocelyn, Claire and Vy.

Definitely one of my favorite places that I’ve eaten at so far on this trip. Not only was the food great, but the service was excellent. The shop is run by two people, a man and a woman. Photo by Olivia Malick

I had the bento box (£7.00/ $8.88), which contained beef, seasonal vegetables, seafood and fried tofu, along with white rice. I have never tried fried tofu before, but, boy was it good.

Photo by Olivia Malick

We left the Open Market and Andy continued to show us the rest of the locations on our scavenger hunt list.

We found the King and Queen pub, the Brighton Dome, the statue of Max Miller, or, “Cheeky Chappie,” the Lanes and two classic red telephone booths.

King and Queen pub. Photo by Vy Nguyen
The Brighton Dome. Photo by Olivia Malick
Cheeky Chappie. Photo by Andy Coughlan
The Lanes. Photo by Olivia Malick
England’s calling. Photo by Andy Coughlan

We headed back to the house, feet sore (or, in my case, blistering). We met Andy’s nephews Ashley and Daniel, who is legally blind. We also met Daniel’s guide dog Pebble.

Daniel got us in touch with the Brighton and Hove bus station so that we could organize a meeting of sorts to discuss how they’ve made public transportation more accessible in Brighton. The meeting was the majority of day three.

Daniel’s guide dog, Pebble, has been with him for about 10 years. Photo by Olivia Malick

Anyway, while talking to Ashley and Daniel, we all realized how hungry we were, but we didn’t really want to leave the house. We ordered in Indian food from a restaurant called Hove Tandoori. We called in the order and Ashley was kind enough to go pick it up for us.

I had a sheek kebab (£4.60/ $5.84) and chicken makhani (£9.90/ $12.56). We sat around the dinner table and talked about everything we had seen so far in England and how it compared (or didn’t) to America. It was one of those discussions that really lets you inside the minds of the people around you. It was insightful and helped me see things from another perspective and to understand my friends a little bit more. Everyone had different hopes for this trip, but we were all on the journey together.

The sheek kebab (left) and the chicken makhani were so tantalizing that I almost forgot to take picture of my meal before digging in. Photo by Olivia Malick

A shower and another video call with my parents closed out the evening and I soon fell asleep, already eagerly anticipating the next day.

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