Day Twenty One
London Travel Blog› entry 21 of 34 › view all entries
For a good part of the day I was lazy and I feel really guilty about it. I woke up at 8:30 and spent way too much time on the computer. Wrote a few lengthy emails, watched American Big Brother, did some homework.
I planned on going to St. Paul's this afternoon and a concert in the evening, but I didn't realize St. Paul's closes at 4:00. Oh well, it was too late to go there. So I needed something to do to kill time until the concert at 7:30. All the museums close 5:00-5:30 so that wouldn't really work. I didn't want to just crap around for like three hours... so I decided to walk to the concert. It was a free outdoor concert at Canary Wharf, over five miles east of my dorm. So, I walked there... what an experience.
First I walked in the direction of Liverpool Street, the area I walked through a few days ago. Commerical, kind of boring. Then I headed southeast I believe, still pretty commercial. Not too many people out and about. It was also 5:00 at that point so everyone was gone for the day.
Then, literally all of a sudden, I was the only white person in sight. I was in a Muslim neighborhood and it was pretty seedy. It reminded me of where I worked last semester--30th between 6th and 7th... pretty sketchy area. There were a lot of wholesale clothing stores with really cheap, sweat-shop-looking garments. I want to clarify that the people themselves didn't seem particularly seedy. In fact I was looking at a map at one of the bus stops to see how far I had to go and this man asked if I needed any help.
As I was walking I was following directions I had written down, but at some point I missed a street. So rather than following the path I had written down I wound up walking though little neighborhoods close to the Thames. The area was really cute and I really, really liked it. Of all the places I've been over the past three weeks, it's probably in my top three. I could, in a very, very hypothetical never going to happen sense, actually see myself wanting to live there.
There were a lot of different wharfs, essentially cute apartment buildings. On almost every porch there was clothes hang drying, which I found amusing and cute and old-fashioned. I really liked it. I walked along the Thames Path for a little bit, which was a walking path literally right above the Thames. It was really cool to see the residential part of the river, rather than the touristy part. It was very peaceful and quiet. I closed my eyes and could hear the water hit the rocks at the shore. I felt like I was at the beach. It was really nice and got me very excited for Ocean City. (not that I wasn't already excited)
I was able to follow street signs to Canary Wharf and I got there with 25 minutes to spare. The park, Canada Square Park (is that Washington Square Park's cousin?) was packed.
Half the songs they performed were scores (like Saving Private Ryan, Out of Africa) so they weren't really familiar, but they were still beautiful. Other songs were more familiar (James Bond, Star Wars, Star Trek, Rocky) and the crowd went CRAZY. Like for Rocky, they played literally the first few notes and people started wooping and hollering.
The only sort of complaint I have about the concert is that I felt that some of the musicians were a little sloppy. I don't know if it was because it was a free concert or if my perceptions of an orchestra are wrong, but I thought that the musicians are supposed to keep really proper posture and synchronize their every move. I noticed when the violins were resting some people had there bows sticking one way, some another. One guy like had his violin on the floor and he was slouched over. I just thought it was unusual, especially since it was the LSO.
But other than that (which wasn't even a big deal) the concert was absolutely great. The conductor got realllll into it. Sometimes I thought he was having a seizure he was getting so into the music. I must say, as I was watching the concert I kept wondering to myself, why do conductors get so much credit for the performance. All he does is wave his arms around while everyone else performs the sweet, perfect, amazing music. Anybody could wave their arms, not everyone can play the cello. The only important thing he does is signal the musicians to stop playing. Keeping the beat? Eh... I think the show could go on without that.
Because the concert was at 7:30 a lot of people were coming from work and meeting friends so they had a little picnic dinner.