Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Officially a tourist

I used to be addicted to blogging. I'd think constantly about how I was going to write up any given event. I'm over that now and despite having all day to sit around on my ass (which I dutifully did, in my pyjamas), I didn't even think about the fact that I should maybe update people on life, especially as it feels like I haven't talked to some of you in AGES.

So. Sightseeing with Jacque was fun, though it was quite cold and we are both wusses, so we were mildly unhappy through much of it. We kept trying to find indoor sightseeing activities. Still, I think we got a lot done, and it was all fun and interesting!

We started with Camden Market, which I love. There so much interesting stuff there, unlike any of the other markets I've been to. Then we went to Harrods, the polar opposite. In the pets section of the store, along with designer collars, leashes, and dog pillows, we discovered that Harrods actually sells pets. Two thousand pounds for a Chihuahua puppy! Soon after we got there, a man came along and shooed us away, saying, "Viewing the livestock is closed for the day." Puppies, kitties, and ferrets=livestock! That's Harrod's for you, I suppose.

We went to Greenwich for the National Maritime Museum, then had three minutes to straddle the prime meridian before they closed for the day. I definitely want to go back there, first because we didn't make it to the Royal Observatory, but second because the park there looked nice. Maybe it was just because it was twilight, but it reminded me of an Austen novel. Actually, lots of things reminded us of an Austen novel, and we would link arms and say, "Let's take a turn about the park!" In the evening, we failed to procure cheap tickets to either Mamma Mia or Spamalot, so we wandered down to Westminster to marvel at the Abbey, Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, and the London Eye. That whole area is really breath-taking at night. Then again, maybe that was the cold.

We visited Kensington Gardens and the palace, caught the very tail end of the changing of the guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace, had lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe, and....the afternoon is a blank. Any help, Jacque? In the evening, Jacque's friend's friend got us really good seats for Blood Brothers for ee to the frizzle! Okay, I might have just tried to mix pig-latin and Snoop Dogg speak. Anyway, free. And the show was really good, if depressing. In my mind, I thought Blood Brothers=Band of Brothers and so I assumed it was a war story, but it totally wasn't. Which is good because war=BORING!! Beforehand, we bought Kinder Surprise eggs, then opened them in the theater and made asses of ourselves by playing with them. Fun!

We bought tickets to go to Stratford-on-Avon on Wednesday, but just barely missed our bus. :-((( Luckily, the ticket man we talked to was super dooper dooper nice and offered to change our tickets to Friday for no charge, even though that wasn't really allowed. I love you, Ticket Man, wherever you are! So instead of Stratford, we hopped on a bus to Windsor. We checked out the queen's weekend digs, saw Queen Mary's dollhouse, etc. Actually, that was mostly it. Then we returned to London and spontaneously decided to see Twelfth Night. After that, we followed the crowds down towards Big Ben to see the fireworks. We weren't exactly sure where the fireworks were going to be, so we walked until the crowd was so thick that we couldn't go any further. We got ourselves lodged into the middle of a seething crush of people, and then waited for two hours to see if we had picked the right spot. We were basically on a street parallel to the river, but separated from the river by a long row of buildings. We were standing on the road looking at the space between two buildings, so if the fireworks weren't visible in the space between the two buildings, we would have waited two hours in a bone-crushing crowd to see jack squat. Luckily, though, we had happened upon the correct spot, as the fireworks were basically directly in front of us! Then we went to my school and used the internet for two hours, before returning home to drink vodka with juice. Good times!

Thursday, Rania and Ben arrived. Yay!!! Jacque and I wanted to go to Shakespeare's Globe Theater (a reproduction of the original), so we dragged jet-lagged Rania and Ben along. What with lunch, and sitting around chatting, we didn't make it to the theater until dusk, but it was still awesome! They even gave us each a cup of mulled wine to warm us up in the open-air theater. The theater was gorgeous and I definitely want to go see a play in spring or summer. Rania and Ben headed home to rest after a long flight, and Jacque and I walked along the river, then crossed Tower Bridge. I *heart* Tower Bridge! It's so beautiful.

Friday was more Shakespeare fun as we headed to his birthplace, Stratford-Upon-Avon. If you buy a ticket to the house the Bard was born in, you also get free admission to four other homes loosely associated with him. We skipped the two houses that were outside of town, ie. the farm his mum grew up on, and his girlfriend's house. But we did see the house of his daughter and son-in-law, and the house of his granddaughter, which was adjacent to the ruins of the house he bought when he became rich and famous (which some grumpy old clergyman bought, then tore down when he got fed up with tourists trying to get a piece of good ol' Shaksey's mulberry tree.)

We headed to Portabello Road market on Saturday, but I think the market was seriously truncated that day. It seemed to end quicker than usual. Still, Jacque bought a really gorgeous pair of earrings, so it's all good! Afterward, we were feeling too cold and tired to do any more sightseeing, so I took Jacque to Oxford Street to go shopping, and I spent a bit of money. John Lewis was having a sale on YARN, which I couldn't resist, though perhaps I didn't need 12 balls. At Debenham's, I bought two pairs of really cute pyjama bottoms. Adorable and cozy! We tried Mamma Mia again in the evening, to no avail, so we went home. The internet network in my building was still down, and so we were forced to watch some random show that Jacque had on her iPod. It was called "Three Moons Over Milford," and was an ABC Family pilot about a town dealing with the fact that the moon has been split into three parts by an asteroid, and the planet will, at some unknown time, be destroyed when one of those pieces falls to earth. All the elements required for an uplifting family drama, right? It is ridiculous how ABC Family so effortlessly makes a heartwarming tale out of a girl accidentally burning down the school during a Wiccan ritual. What a little rascal! And her underaged brother steals his dad's car, then makes out with an older woman. Haha! Those silly kids! And the dad leaves the family to chase adventure in Africa, so they're all penniless, but they've still got each other, and that's all that matters in the end, isn't it? If only all families could have sweet, law-breaking, school-burning, Wiccan children!

1 comment:

  1. After Kennsington and Hard Rock... let's see... oh! We left Hard Rock after 2, I believe. Then, we walked around the park some more and found Peter Pan. After posing with the Peter Pan statue, we walked through that little Christmas fair for a little bit before heading back to the city to go to the show. Is that right? Does that fill in that blank?