Sarah, me, Nathan, and Jen feeling too cool for school in the back of the bus
After a restless night (2 hours of sleep...), I woke up early this
morning to take a bus to London
with the rest of the people in my hall.
The weather here has been cloudy, but much warmer than I expected, and
continued to get sunnier as we drove south through the boroughs on the
way to the city. We took a bus tour that the school provided us with,
and this really funny (well, British funny) older woman telling us
where everything was as we drove by it. She kept commenting on her
opinions all the political goings-ons, and how unfortunate it was that
the tribute to Princess Diana had turned into a drainage ditch, and
warned us each time we were about to do something illegal with the bus.
The bus tour lady!!! She is my friend. She even had a nose ring.
We saw all the royal things, and all the important
builings/structures/statues/bridges/churches that one would see on a
very tourist-y tour... Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, various museums,
Harrods, Westminster Abbey, the Thames River, Big Ben, Traflager
Square, Picaldilly Circus (which, by the way, I was very disappointed
to find out, is NOT a circus), St. James, Chinatown, various theaters,
Bloomsbury, the Tower or London, St. Paul's Catherdral, etc. However,
we only saw these things for, like, 5 seconds as we drove by it, while
we all struggled to take pictures out of the windows, camera flashes
and double-decker buses getting in our way, so they are all definitely
places I'm going to have to go back to in order to get a better
experience of them.
Big Ben, I guess...
Anyway, once we were done with this, she let us out at Covent Gardens
for us all to explore on our own for a few hours. That was amazing. We
came into the Gardens, which aren't really gardens at all, but are a
bunch of intertwined stone builings with lots of little neat shops, and
a whole bunch of really amazing street performers. There was a guy who
escaped from being tangled in chains and being in a straightjacket in 3
minutes, a string quintet that was really really talented, and a man
who balanced a set of dishes on a tray that was on a wand-type thing
all balanced on his chin WHILE he juggled!
Then we walked around a bit, split up, and all wandered around for
another hour. This guy from Chicago and I went to Tottenham because he
needed to find a guitar, but we managed to get ourselves lost and found
again multiple times during this excursion.
Generally when I'm lost, or
something equivalent to the anxiety of getting lost, I don't deal with
it very well, and I get frustrated and upset... but there's something
different about being lost in a place you're just discovering. Instead
of stressing out about finding our way back, we just let ourselves be
carried about from street to street by the flow of people walking. I
don't even know where we were... somewhere around Bloomsbury, I think.
It was so nice though, to be able to notice small things, like the way
people in London walk slower than in US cities, and the strange
combination of modern and super old builings right next to one another,
and on this particular day, in this particular collection of streets,
there seemed to be a sense of calmness rather than chaos of all the
people moving around me.
The Thames. And the fog.
.. like it didn't matter what time they got to
the place they were going... and maybe it's didn't matter where they
ended up at all. It was hard to feel anxious in the middle of something
like that. Eventually we did end up getting to a small street with a
variety of guitar shops on it, and had to return back to the Gardens to
catch the bus back to school, but I cannot wait to go back to London on
my own some time to search for that same sense of contentment.
And I CANNOT wait to go to Portobello Road. I bet it is SO SWEET, and I
am going to go there, and I am going to sing the song.