Day Twenty One

London Travel Blog

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Haha

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.

It's me!

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.

This sign made me think of my sister... not sure why
Really nice. But the neighborhood itself and stores just had a very run-down, seedy feel. It was definitely a new side of London I've never seen before. And in that respect I'm glad I went. I'm also glad that I wasn't walking there at night.

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.

Sister together
*Gasp*

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.

Thames
 The concert was the London Symphony Orchestra performing Hollywood classics. Love love loved it. The music was intoxicating. They were absolutely amazing. I don't remember the last time I saw a live orchestra. I know I went to the BSO once but that was ages and ages ago. I love classical music, so I'm not sure why I haven't been to one in NYC. I'll have to go to one next year. (London is making me realize how lazy I am in NYC... I don't do enough!)

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.

Thames
And when they played the second Star Wars song of the night these two people stood up with light sabers and the audience just started cracking up. Why they brought light sabers to a classical music concert is beyond me, but it was funny nontheless.

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.

Thames
I would think that they would have their violin on one knee, bow up straight on the other. Maybe I'm wrong.

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.

Thames
Now, if this were America they would be eating chips, pizza, soda. Bad, greasy food. But here, oh. Man these people are classy. Everyone was eating prepared meals or fancy sandwiches or fruits/veggies. One woman next to me was eating it looked like steak on a glass plate. I was just amazed at how different--and healthy--their concert picnic food is compared to ours. And then I noticed how thin eveyone was around me and it all made sense.

cooldad says:
Oh, when we tell you, you are not taking advantage of everything NYC has to offer, you pooh pooh us. Glad it is starting to sink in.

Sounds like it was a good concert. I wish I was there with you...no, I wish I was there with the woman eating steak!
Posted on: Jul 13, 2007
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Its me!
It's me!
This sign made me think of my sist…
This sign made me think of my sis…
Sister together
Sister together
Thames
Thames
Thames
Thames
Thames
Thames
Thames
Thames
Wharf
Wharf
Wharf
Wharf
Wharf
Wharf
Wharf
Wharf
Wharf
Wharf
Artsy
Artsy
Artsy
Artsy
Canary Wharf
Canary Wharf
Canary Wharf
Canary Wharf
Stage
Stage
Stage
Stage
Stage
Stage
McGraw-Hill building (for Krupa)
McGraw-Hill building (for Krupa)
Canary Wharf
Canary Wharf
London
photo by: ulysses