Long time since I updated this. Oops. Oh well, onward!
I got to sleep in a little bit after all of my open-air market trekking. However, I didn’t count on the fire alarm blaring through the hotel at 5 AM, scaring the ever-loving bajeesus out of me. After the alarm shut off (someone must have accidentally opened an alarmed door), I went back to sleep.
Now this being a Sunday, it’s a good day to go to church for most people. That’s what we did. We went to a service at St. Paul’s Cathedral to take in the historical significance of the building. The cathedral is one of the oldest structures in England and during World War II, was the target of the German bombers during the London Blitz. Miraculously, while everything around the cathedral was decimated, it was almost completely intact.
Anyway, we went to a service in this building. The outside was spectacular, but HOLY SHIT THE INSIDE. The inside was GORGEOUS. We weren’t allowed to take pictures of the inside unfortunately so hopefully the link suffices. Throughout the service, I had a hard time focusing on the sermon because my eye was always caught by something different, usually the artwork on the ceiling. So you could say I was staring at the ceiling for most of it (SHUT UP). Being a person of no religious affiliation, I felt pretty awkward being in such a great building of such importance, but as an art person, I felt right at home. Is that weird? Continuing on!
After the service, we headed across the Millenium Bridge to the Tate Modern for a Paul Gauguin exhibition. And yes, the Millenium Bridge was the one destroyed by the Death Eaters in the fifth Harry Potter movie. I’m pleased to announce that there were no dead muggles nor Death Eaters to be seen. Once we arrived at the Tate Modern, we had close to two hours before we had to meet at the Gauguin exhibition, so most people headed straight to the cafe. Needless to say, even without a bunch of hungry Londogoblins in line the cafe was plenty full with other museum-goers. Rather than waste precious museum time waiting in line, I headed to the exhibits and had some me-time before meeting up with the rest of the group. I spent quite a bit of time wandering around the Surrealism wing, basking in the excellence of the likes of Salvador Dali, Man Ray and others. Also, it was not difficult to find the Andy Warhol room… Those of you who want to find it, look for the room decorated like this. I’m not going to lie, I’m really not a big fan of Andy Warhol, and I felt like I was going to have a seizure in this room. My eyes hurt so badly upon leaving it. xD
After I finished going through the museum, it was time to meet for the Gauguin exhibition. Now we know where all the hungry cafe-goers went… the exhibit was PACKED. If you didn’t want to be squashed between pushy people or their screaming spawn, you had to keep moving and quickly. Which really sucked considering I wanted to sketch some of the work since photography wasn’t allowed. I managed to get a few quick sketches, but in the end, as much as I love good art, I was happy to be out of there and to sit down where I wouldn’t get trampled. After that, it was back to the hotel for a much needed shower and relaxation period.
The next day, we visited Parliament and Westminster Abbey. Upon going into Parliament, we pretty much had to go through airport security. And I was pat down. >.> We were broken into groups for the tours, which for some reason, we were completely forbidden to sit down. EVER. We weren’t allowed to take photos in here either. The tour was surprisingly quick, so after that we quickly made our way to Westminster Abbey for *le gasp* ANOTHER TOUR. However, this was an audio tour, so each of us were given an audio guide (with narrations by Jeremy Irons :D) and turned loose. In the end, I never enjoyed tours as much as just being turned loose because they lack the exploratory aspect that makes everything fun. Once I was done wandering, it was only 12:45, which meant I had a good five or six hours to myself before having to meet with the group for an evening theater production. So I decided to go to Chelsea.
My destination was World’s End, otherwise known as the Vivienne Westwood boutique (previously known as SEX, Anglomania, etc). Only knowing the general area and street address of the shop, I began my journey, map at the ready. I ended up wandering around Kings Road for over an hour looking for the correct building, thinking it’ll be large and boldly decorated. It wasn’t. After going up and down the road for probably the third time, I noticed a small building with a large clock on the front. I couldn’t read the writing inside the clock, so I crossed the street and looked at the building more closely. This small and almost subtle building was World’s End. I quickly entered and did a little shopping, buying a t-shirt and a necklace. With about an hour and a half to get back to the hotel, freshen up and meet for the play, I hurried back.
The play we saw was a production of “A Flea in Her Ear” at the Old Vic Theater. A few people in the group have already seen it, saying very good things. It was a very funny play about a woman believing her husband to be unfaithful after noticing his disinterest in sex. She tries to catch him in the act by having her friend write a phony love letter from an unknown mistress, and it doesn’t take long for all hell to break loose. While the hysteria was certainly humorous there were times when I wished the Benny Hill-esque antics would die down in favor of plot development.
Not much happened after the play, so I’ll just skip to the next morning.
The British Museum is big. Like, really big. Like, in an hour and a half, I only got through one and a half floors (out of four) and I was rushing. Also, I tried avoiding school groups like the plague. They’re like vermin… obnoxious, rude, road-blocking vermin! Anyway, the British Museum is awesome.
Their collection of Ancient Greek statues, urns and artifacts was simply jawdropping. I must have been whipping my camera out for every other object, because I have more pictures of that area than I really want to count. Also, within the first few minutes of wandering the rooms, I saw the Rosetta Stone. It was big, old and AWESOME. Also, their collection of Ancient Roman artifacts was amazing. Just, oh my god.
So as I was wandering around the Buddha statues, I noticed that if I wanted to go to lunch, I needed to get myself un-lost and meet people in the foyer. Without even seeing half of the museum (including the original print of Hokusai’s “The Wave” :D), I decided that I would return to the museum to finish what I have started another day because after lunch, I needed to go back to the hotel to do laundry.
The group went to a ramen restaurant called Wagamama, and I shit you not, that is the best Ramen EVER. Also, the bowls are huge. While I enjoyed my soup with great gusto, I was also painfully aware of how out of practice I am with a pair of chopsticks. Isn’t that just the most gorgeous bowl of ramen you’ve ever seen?
Anyway, after some epic ramen, I went back to the hotel to do some laundry. I’ve failed to mention this before, but upon arriving in London, I had very little money in my pocket. Since the exchange rate between dollars and pounds is so drastic, I had even less money than I began with after I switched it all over. So naturally, the best choice is to withdraw money from the ATM. Whenever I tried it, my transaction was always declined, which is not good. So while I was figuring out what the hell was going on, one of my professors floated me an eighty pound (or APX $100) loan so that I could still eat and shop. However, I had no change and the launderette down the way required exact change for the machines. So what did I do? I bought laundry detergent at the Tesco so that I could wash my clothes in the bathtub.
While I was doing that, the hotel phone rang. Hoping that it wasn’t somebody who was going to bark at me for washing my clothes in the bathtub (Paranoia: It sucks), I answered the phone, and was quickly made even more nervous because it was the guy at the front counter. This is where it gets weird… he doesn’t berate me for not doing my laundry in the launderette, he asks me on a date.
So right now, I couldn’t be more of an awkward ass; I’m doing laundry in the bathtub and now put on the spot for a date by a guy I don’t even know. Wanting out of the situation ASAP, I politely turn him down and resume washing my socks, having a good laugh/awkward groan about it. By the way, those who (like me) think that hand-washing your laundry and letting it air-dry is a good idea, it’s not. Even in your hotel room, it is so humid in London that nothing will EVER air-dry. Just so you know.
So that night, I go out to dinner and spend the last of the money my professor lent me on food. Broke and in debt, I go back to the room to call my bank to see what the hell is going on with my transactions. It took forever to finally get connected with someone I could talk to, but they weren’t very helpful; they never answered any of my questions. Finally, they put me on hold, which is aggravating enough, but after being on hold for over a minute, the LINE FUCKING DISCONNECTED. I sat in silence for a few seconds, trying to maintain my composure. Thankfully my roommate was out, because my composure sure didn’t last long.
I called my mom to talk to her about it, and I completely lost it. The conversation went something like this…
Mom: Hi Trace! What’s up?
Me: MAWWWWWWM!!! ICan’tWithdrawMoneyFromTheATMAndI’mBrokeAndInDebt ANDIREALLYNEEDMONEYANDTHEBANKJUSTHUNGUPONME!!!
Mom: Okay, calm down and let me help…
I LOVE MY MOTHER. Needless to say, she helped me out really quickly, and I felt like such a nimrod afterward because I freaked out over something small and easily fixable. So, without going into detail about my bank, we fixed it and I was able to withdraw money and pay back my professor and everyone else who lent me money. Yay! Also, just goes to show that you’re never too big to ask your mom for help.
Stay tuned for Part Four! And hopefully I haven’t bored anybody too much… these entries just seem to get longer and longer… Anyway, until next time!
- stirfryarcade posted this