Sunday, 22 August 2010

To the End of the Never-Ending Orientation (Part II)

August 21

Woke up, did more shopping (finally finished off all the necessities) and looked at what is in store for classes... wha-! Are you freaking kidding me! As an assignment for Tuesday, we had to do the following:

- Visit 2 train stations and write some specific information in our journals
- Visit 2 parks and write some specific information in our journals
- Visit 2 of of 10 other places listed on the paper and write some specific information in our journals
- Visit 2 of 6 religious places listed on the paper and write some specific information in our journals
- Buy and go over several Sunday papers and answer lots of questions
- Watch the telly (TV) for an hour and answer specific questions
- One last ridiculously vague and time-consuming question, the details of which aren't important

I told myself I would not swear in this blog but boy am I tempted. That's a lot of hours for an assignment when class hasn't even started. I found Steve and another friend, Michelle, to go places with me. Despite needing to go to a play today with the whole Bucknell group, I figured that I would knock off 2 train stations: Charing Cross Station and Paddington Station.  Keep in mind that part of the assignment was to listen to what languages are being spoken, so at times we literally had to just eavesdrop on people's conversations. It felt strange. Anyway Charing Cross Station was a modest station, not too big and not too small. However, we could not admire it for long. We had to keep an eye on the time, as we planned to lunch in Paddington Station and then go straight to the play.

Yep, a significant percentage of them were the victims of eavesdropping.
We got to Paddington Station, which was considerably more impressive...

Arches... endless arches... ... ... ... and a lady whose face is disintegrating!
It should be mentioned that there were pigeons in both stations. Both stations also had walls that looked like the exterior of a building. Anyway, we went upstairs and had lunch. I had a tuna sandwich and it was the best tuna I had ever had, despite being a standard ready-made sandwich. Then some guy left his trash on his table and left. That's when the pigeons came running. First there was 1. I took a bite of my sandwich and looked back over, and then there were 2. I bit, looked again, and now there were 4. The pigeons consumed all his leftovers. It was after someone else also left their stuff on the table that we kinda started to maybe almost realize that perhaps in England it is partially acceptable to sorta leave your leftovers at your table.

By the way, I should mention that this picture is not mine (from internet). Alas, I have digressed. Back to the trip, this is where the fun part of the starts.

We finished lunch and got onto the Tube (subway) and got off at Baker Street Station. We went onto the streets and began walking, following an intensely terrible map that was made for us. We had about 40 minutes of spare time to make a trip that should have taken 10 minutes because I like to be early to places. So we walked... and walked (past Madame Tussauds)... and walked... and walked... and wait a minute. What time is it?! We have 15 minutes!

Then things got intense... we walked faster. Now I have a fast gait, but Steve is 6' 1" so when he walks fast, I have to jog every few steps. We finally got to a treey (yes I spelled that right) area and asked for directions. With 10 minutes to go, we were pointed in the direction of the park and started walking... fast. We located a map and saw that the site of the play was just a straight shot down this tiny straight path... except we had no idea the park was F*ING HUGE. So that tiny straight shot turned into a 6 minute run. Anyone reading this (except maybe one person) knows why I can't run for long, but dammit I ran (I HATE being late), finishing slightly ahead of my two companions.

The area shown is about 1/1000th of the park's total. I am NOT exaggerating!
Despite being a few minutes late, we were the second set of people to arrive at the meeting place. Groups arrived over the next ten minutes with the exception of the last one, who showed up five minutes after the second to last group... carrying ice cream. My mind was blown (primarily with rage). They stopped for ice cream AFTER they were already late. Incredible. Anyway, we entered the open-air theater and sat down. My first reaction was pure admiration of the brilliant set design, which only got better as the play went on (I have no pictures of the play going on for obvious reasons) and included pulley works.

You are looking at brilliance.
Before the play started people in our group started giggling and pointing toward some woman. I moved my head to get a better look and this lady had what looked to be like bird crap on her right shoulder. No one wanted to say anything in case it was a birth defect of some kind. Oh yeah, and it turns out that she is one of our abroad professors, so the whole situation was awkward. She ended up discovering it and wiping it off during the intermission (the play was 2+ hours so the intermission was very needed).

The first act of the play was spectacular in every sense of the word. It was basically was about fairy tales and ingeniously wove these famous fairy tales (mainly little red riding hood, Cinderella, Jack and the bean stalk, and Rapunzel) into an overarching original narrative. However, the play also poked fun at all of them. The best character by a landslide was the wolf. His many uncalled for pelvic thrusts, grinds, and sexual advances on little red riding hood had the whole audience doubled over in laughter. Little red riding hood herself, portrayed as overweight and who, on the way to grandma's house, eats the items she got for grandma, also garnered laughs. The two princes (Rapunzel's and Cinderella's) were also hilarious (Cinderella's also played the wolf). They were portrayed as super charming but slightly oblivious men.

The second act of the play was very disappointing. It was neither as funny nor as clever as the first act but had one almost redeeming factor: Judi Dench...'s recorded voice as the giant. I recognized it during the play but was dismayed to find out that it was just a recording.

Then Steve, a friend named Becky, and I set out to find a Church (Steve and Becky actually needed to go and I needed to see a Church). We got slightly lost on the way but it was actually an intuitive guess on my part that got us to the church. They went inside, and I took notes and headed home. I also got lost on the way and ended up walking all the way back to the Baker Street Station to head home. On the way I encountered a huge mosque, and I was tempted to go in and have a look until I got to the entrance. People were leaving what I assumed to be a service but everyone looked Arabic. No you're not getting me, they all looked REALLY Arabic, like on a stereotype level. I simply felt rude going in the way I was dressed so I left. Apparently, an hour after this, Steve would end up getting lost in a Arabic neighborhood.

I got on the tube, headed home, and relaxed for awhile. The last thing that I did that day was watch the telly (as commanded by my professors) for an hour.

Thus ends the days of orientation.


  1. I just read all of the previous posts in a row so I'll just make some general comments: Your blog is making me laugh. A lot. Mostly because I can picture you telling the story and trying to hold back swearing. Beautiful pictures of the Kew Gardens and Steve mentioned nothing about the Pimp Bus.

  2. SUCH a FAT pidgeon! Its so cute. I wish to take it home. YAY pidgeon!

  3. Into the Woods is not a PLAY, it is a MUSICAL XP Also, It is my favorite musical.