We got up early so we could get all the touristy stuff done. The girls decided they wanted to see Wicked that night and Geraldine, my friend from elementary school who was in town, had a friend’s birthday party to go to. I didn’t want to be alone in London on a Friday night, so I decided to go to Wicked with the girl, although I really wanted to see it in New York. So, we went to the ticket office, got them for half price and set out to be Americans. Well, Japanese really, with how much we used our cameras.
We caught the tube to Westminster. When we got out London Bride (even though the original one is apparently in Arizona), the London Eye and Big Ben were all right there. We got sandwiches at a little deli, took lots of pictures and walked the 2 blocks to Westminster. Aarti and I didn’t want to go in (is was $20!), but Kayla did, so we waited. We like to people watch, so the time went quickly. There were these women there trying to raise money for something by giving people little weed looking flowers with the stems wrapped in foil and then asking them for money. Some people would give them money, some people would give the flowers back, and some people wouldn’t even take the flowers, but just say “no thank you.” If people resisted taking the flowers, as they walked by the women would still attempt to slide them under the strap of a bag, a collar, into a pocket, whatever they would…then chase the people down and request money. It was a big ridiculous. The people already told them no, the answer wasn’t likely to change. People would get annoyed, try to give the flowers back, the women wouldn’t take them, so the people would try to walk away, then the women would harass them for taking their flowers. Anyway, Kayla finally came out and we made our way to Trafalgar Square.
There are 4 large lion statues there that you can climb on and take pictures with. It’s difficult really, but people figure out a way to climb up the 6’base. We stopped to take pictures and after helping Kayla up while we were trying to take her picture this old Indian man started climbing all over the base trying to get up. Scuse me jerk-face, we were here first! Finally he got the point and went to another lion. Then after we helped Kayla down another Indian family jumped right in there while I was trying to get up. The guy pushed the girl up and then literally threw his little girl up there. We had to wait a good 10 minutes for them to get on with life. Near the square there were some red phone booths, so we took pictures in them and got a man to take a picture of the 3 of us. So cute.
This was followed by a walkthrough Green Park to get to Buckingham Palace. While in the park we took pictures down the road of the palace…from the middle of the road and then took pictures sitting in the fields of daffodils. Everything was so green and lush. Very beautiful. After we looked at the palace and took a few pictures (surprise!) we walked to the subway via some trail in memory of Diana through more of the park.
Harrod’s (apparently another tourist attraction) was next on the list. It’s a high end department store where you can buy any designer you’ve ever heard of, including a $50,000 diamond ring if you like. You can also sit in one of their many restaurants or at one of their bars to get lunch. They have everything you can imagine and it’s completely overwhelming. We didn’t stay long, we couldn’t handle it, so we went to do some smaller shopping nearby. I was in a bad mood that day, so I really wasn’t in the mood to be in a department store with all those people. Actually, at one point while we were there I stopped to look at the Feragomo handbags and when I turned around Aarti and Kayla were gone. I had no idea where they’d gone. Ferragamo was near an escalator, and doorways into 3 other rooms, or they could have gone to the other side of the room we were in and taken one of the 2 doors down there. I was so not feeling being lost in London, a city I don’t know in a country I don’t know with no phone and no key to the hotel room the hotel doesn’t know I’m staying in. So I tried a couple directions and couldn’t find them. It really worried me. Finally, the 4th room I tried they were at the other end of looking at Valentino handbags. I walked up to Kayla and in what I’m sure was a pretty short voice said, “please don’t leave me again.” Getting split up from them would not be a good thing at all. I was very conscious of staying together, but I guess it just hadn’t occurred to them just then. Anyway, we explored more and on our way out found a really pretty bronze sculpture of Princess Diana and Dodi al Fayed as well as a book people could sign in memory of them. Crazy to think they died almost 10 years ago already.
Anyway, after Harrod’s I went to Zara and bought a dress I found in Milan but wasn’t in my size. Then I got some Cadbury, and met the girls at French Connection where I could spend way too much money. I found a skirt I really liked that the girls didn’t think flattered me well (Aarti said it made me look dowdy), so I left it but continued to think about it…I swear it would look better with heels. We tried to go to a pub that was right there for a snack, but it was pretty full. Amazing how everyone in London seems to drink all the time. We caught the tube back to Earl’s Court where we were staying and went to a pub there for our snack. After a bit of the cricket world cup and a snack we headed back to the hotel to relax a bit before Wicked.
We had dinner at the Gourmet Burger Kitchen that really wasn’t anything special and I forgot it was Friday, so I had meat on Friday during lent…oops. From there we went to the show which was Kayla’s first musical and AMAZING! I really wanted to see it in New York, I thought it would be better. Alfeba, however, was incredible. I’ve never really wanted to buy a musical soundtrack when I left the show, but I wanted that one because I loved her voice that much. She definitely stole the show. My new aspiration in life is to be Alfeba in Wicked on Broadway. I still want to move to New York when I graduate, but screw advertising, I wanna sing like her!
After the show we again, were tourists and took some pictures outside the theater and then headed back to the hotel. All week I’d been planning to go to a party with Geraldine that night and the girls said they’d come. Well, they decided they didn’t want to come, which was irritating because I didn’t want to go alone and they’d told me they’d come. If one of them had an old friend they wanted to meet up with and didn’t want to go alone I’d go because it’s the nice thing to do. It’s what I’d want them to do for me, but they went to bed. So, I called her and told her I wouldn’t be coming. I felt like a complete ass hole, but I wasn’t comfortable traveling around the city by myself late at night, especially when I didn’t know exactly where I was going and when I’d most likely want to leave before her and come home alone.
After I told her I wasn’t going I felt really bad and was very frustrated and all I wanted to do was talk to my mom, so I went downstairs, bought an hour of internet time and got on the computer. I IMed Athens and asked her to call my mom, since they know each other well and I know she wouldn’t be uncomfortable calling. I asked her to tell her immediately that nothing was wrong (because if she didn’t Mom would worry) and ask her to get on my brother’s IM so she could talk to me. Shortly, I was able to talk with Mom who I missed and just vent to her about how I was feeling. I think a lot of it was just that I’m not used to spending so much time with anyone. I’m pretty independent. I live alone, I like to shop alone, and sometimes it’s just nice to stay in at night and have alone time, which I hadn’t had in over a week. In the basement on that computer I was alone. No one in the world knew where I was, not even my mom. She made me feel better and it was the only time during the trip I felt that way. After my hour was up I went to bed. End of a long, productive day.