Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Soaking up some culture

I guess I'll have to soak up culture here in London because we don't really see the sun much. Oh well, I'll leave tanning for Malta this weekend!

Tonight I went and saw the London version of Wicked (which I saw in NYC in a few years ago). I didn't take any of the drama classes at ICLC, so I've been on my own as far as seeing shows has gone. I've seen Richard III (in Stratford-Upon-Avon, and it only reaffirmed my boredom with Shakespeare), History Boys, Cabaret, and now Wicked. London's got a slew of half-priced ticket booths that make it infinitely more affordable to go to the theatre. Plus on weekday night shows it's very easy to move to better seats.

Wicked is my favorite show by far, and I have to say that I think I loved it more here than I did in New York. The actress who played Elphaba had a voice that gave me chills and Glinda was hysterical. However, some inadvertently funny parts occured when British accents came into play (dahhncing through life and all), which sort of messed with the rhyming and rhythm. But I loved every moment anyway, especially when we hung out by the stage door and watched the actors come out:

That's me looking like a dork with leading man Fiyero.

And that's me and my new love Kerry Ellis, who played Elphaba. She got ungreen reallllly fast.

On a side note, my internship ended today, and I already miss it. It was such an amazing experience with a great group of people. I totally lucked out.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Spring has sprung and all that jazz

Spring is definitely here in London - people are out en masse on my street (And only my street. Seriously. It's the most crowded place in the world). Some of them eventually make it to Hyde Park, where they undress and hang out in their bathing suits or (not kidding) underwear. I go there and attempt to write my final papers. I don't get much work done, and can you blame me?

But London is in bloom and it is absolutely gorgeous. I live right next to Hyde Park and, on my way to work, I cut through the Victoria Embankment Gardens, where I eat lunch every Monday and Wednesday. There are strategically placed flowers everywhere in grids of red, white, yellow, and pink. The sun is actually shining (Ithaca kids, are you jealous yet?) and I really can't complain.

Oh. Except for the fact that it has become all too apparent that I am allergic to said pretty flowers. Which was helped today by my boss putting 24 lilies (my favorite!) in a vase directly in front of my desk.

But I'll take the sore throat and runny nose any day just because those flowers are so pretty.

Anyway, life in London is pretty good. I feel really removed from the States though and want to just say now that all of us over here are thinking of everyone at Virginia Tech and their friends and families. No matter how far away we get, we still feel the pain of tragedies from home and think of everyone all the time.

I've entered the teen countdown of heading home (18 days now, I think). I leave for Barcelona tomorrow and next weekend I'll be in Malta, so I don't have much time to say goodbye to London. I'm going to miss a lot of things, my internship in particular, but it will definitely be good to get home (and have a decent bagel!).

Again, I miss you all and I'm thinking of you constantly. Cheers!

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Land Skee Ball Forgot

Now I grew up in a beach town, but I wouldn't say my standards are unnecessarily high. However, I do have to say that a beach town is not a beach town unless its arcades have skee ball. Is that asking too much? I think not!

Also, caramel apples and fresh squeezed lemonade? C'mon people!

But those problems aside, Brighton is a really cool place. It's on the southern tip of the UK, so it has a "beach" and you can swim in the English Channel (if you're a polar bear). In order to illustrate why I am calling it a "beach", I provide exhibit A:

Ignore the dorky girl in the sunglasses. Yes, ladies and gents, those are some gigantic rocks. Apparently no one has explained to the British that sand, while being made of rocks, is actually a lot finer. When you tried to lay on the beach, you first had to check to make sure Stonehenge wasn't underneath your towel (but I heard that the rocks make for a spa-like experience in the heat of summer).

Brighton also has Brighton Pier (almost as creative as Scotland!), which has rides and candy floss (cotton candy) and slot machines. It also has Regent's Palace, which is either the ugliest or most attractive building in the world (you can decide for yourselves):

Brighton is very cool at night - that is, unless the person you're day tripping with has decided to wear shorts and therefore you can't get into any bars after 7. We had dinner at a fun American restaurant and attempted to find margaritas, but couldn't because of a). Tim wearing shorts and b). they apparently don't make margaritas in Brighton.

So, in conclusion: Brighton does not have skee ball, caramel apples, lemonade, or margaritas.

They also, however, do not have Bennys. And that made my day.

The rest of the Brighton pictures are here

Sunday, April 08, 2007

I'm wicket good at cricket

I am so witty.

Anyways! Before telling you all about my amazing cricket skills, a quick summary of the rest of the week with Mom. We went out to dinner, found an amazing gelato (!) place, saw Cabaret, and went to a wine bar.

Then, on Friday, I figured that we hadn't really gotten our fill of British sport, so I took my mom to Hyde Park where a bunch of ICLC-ers (plus Bill) had gathered to learn to play cricket.

(Note: I am not going to explain cricket to you here. That would take more time than I have energy to type)

BUT it appears as though I have an underlying talent for cricket, particularly for bowling (which makes sense, considering I did bowling in high school - they aren't related except by name, but we'll just assume that's true). Bowling, by the way, is a synonym for pitching here in the UK (I have no idea). I could also hit decently well, but where my talent really became apparent was in making sick plays to catch line drives. I did this once, but, given more time, I'm sure I could have made thousands more. (Outs in cricket, to explain the name of this post, are called wickets.)

And, 3 days later, I still ache. I am such an old person.

Mommy went home on Saturday, so it's probably time to get to work!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Edinburgh - the small, the rowdy, and the bachelor parties

Before I provide you all with a riveting recap of my mom's and my trip to Edinburgh, I must provide you with this image:

That's my mom after winning the Queensway Cup at 2 Pound Tuesdays Bowling. There is, in fact, SoCo in that cup. She's my hero.

Anyway, my mom came in on Thursday night and on Friday morning we took off for the wilds of Scotland, which involved a 4 hour ride through the wilds of... Scotland. And some England. And they hate each other. Here's one of the amazing views from the train:

We sat next to this very friendly couple from a suburb north of London. They were very nice and, if they stood on top of each other, I think they were my height. Thus began my experiences being the tallest person in sight. If anyone over 6' went to Scotland, he or she would be their ruler.

We arrived around 3 and took a taxi (my first since getting over here!) to our bed and breakfast, which can be described as "quaint" (so was the owner, who could not have been taller than 4'10"). We took the bus into the central part of the city and checked out its one major street, which is called the Royal Mile, and I'm thinking it's because it's got a palace and castle on it and it's, well, a mile long. (The Scots also named a hill Castle Hill. Guess why).

We took a very nice arm shot:

And pictures of pubs with funny names:

We went to a great pub and got Guiness (our first drink out together!) and clam chowder and steak. mmmmm. After that, we were pretty tired, so we went back to the hotel and fell asleep early.

The next day we had a great English breakfast and set out for the aptly named "Castle". We took tons of pictures because it cost 11 pounds ($22) to enter, and, gosh darnit, we were getting our money's worth. We saw every inch of that castle, from the moat to Scotland's crown jewels and "stone of destiny" to the Mons Meg. It was great fun, until Mom got stuck:

I somehow freed her and we set off for some 21st century fun in the form of a huge department store, which I took a picture of just to make my sister jealous:

That night we went to the Witchery, which is an amazing (and vaguely fancy) restaurant. The food was so good, the wine was better, and we got amazing service because one of the waiters thought I was cute. Afterwards we went on a Murder and Mystery Ghost Tour, which, contrary to its name, was not very scary (although it was windy, a joke my loyal readers should get and grimace at). It was actually very funny and we got to see a lot of Edinburgh and hear great stories about how, per capita, Scotland burned the most witches of all of Europe. When that was over I was frozen solid and craving nachos (obviously), so we went to an American themed pub and watched all of the bachelor and bachelorette parties. There were a ton of them in Scotland, complete with hot pink limos (for the girls (I hope)).

The next day we set out for the palace and Parliament, where they have awesome bike racks:

And my mother posing in front of the Palace gates:

We did some shopping and ate at the Golf Tavern and then headed back to London.

As this entry comes to a close, I leave you with this image, and, beneath it, my thoughts about it:

This is how the song "Il Poisson" in the movie "Little Mermaid" really ends.