Let's go back in time. June 25th, 2012.
|London can be an odd place.|
(The morning of the 25th, new hostel!!)
12 am. Time for the hostel. Scary time. Mo and I had been hiding in my room, hoping that our front desk person wouldn't remember that we had signed her in. Granted literally everyone was aware that I had a guest, but maybe he had short-term memory loss. Let's call him "Ten-Second Tom." I pictured hiding Mo in my closet and then somehow explaining that the feet were sewn ON to the dress she was hiding behind, and it was very in style. Alas, at 11:30 pm, Ten-Second Tom rang and informed us that we would have to leave immediately. Mo and I gathered up our toothbrushes, laced up our sneakers, and map-quested our directions while we still had wi-fi. We couldn't walk to our destination as it was across Hyde Park (bit of a dodgy dangerzone at night) so we were going to attempt to use the bus. Now, this sounds easy to do, but using public transportation is a lot harder then it sounds. Especially when it's dark, you're blond, and thinking for yourself is quote/unquote "difficult."
|Note to travelers: Maps are confusing...|
|.... and hostels are scary.|
After four men in a car shouted at us and we watched what looked like a drug deal go down, Mo and I NEVER flagged down a bus. We were on the right side of the street, going in the right directions, but never actually made the move into the street to SHOW the bus driver that we wanted to board. Frustrated, we got the attention of a cab that drove us the necessary 10 minutes to Hyde Park Hostel. We overpaid. Classic.
|Our beautiful lobby. It reminds me of the St. Regis in Oahu.|
Our night was taking a turn for the worst. First we walked into the wrong hostel, and then we were accosted by a group of foreigners. Granted we were really the foreigners, BUT I DIGRESS.
|Mo is thrilled that we get to stay in another hostel.|
|Parliament window. How much Windex does|
does it take to clean this? #QuestionsfortheQueen
Now, I've been around some people who know how to snore. I once stayed with my friend's family for a volleyball tournament and his father snored so loud I attempted suicide with a curtain and a coat rack. My brother grinds his teeth, my grandfather has Nam-like nightmares during his typical 5 hours of sleep... Trust me, I've seen it all. But nothing, ABSOLUTELY nothing, beats the sounds that were erupting from this girl.
She was Canadian, I know this much from the luggage she had next to her. I was nearly asleep when her Nyquil started to work and her nose completely shut down because it was so stuffed up. OMG. INSANITY. Mind you, I hadn't been sleeping for the past few days, and I already can't sleep with light or noise! As Canadian Girl would start to inhale and sputter/snort out oxygen, my mind slowly started shrinking and I can began muttering aloud to Mo.
Canadian: "nnnnnnhHHAHHHHLKJLKSjlakdfdsfkjsdlfks;fd snore snore snore"
Me: "Jesus fucking Christ if you snore one more time...."
Mo: "Giggle giggle giggle"
Canadian: "SssssnnnoooooooooRRRRRRREEEEEEE" (buildings shake, Earth's tectonic plates shift)
And so it went. On and on. World without end. But eventually I added a leetle "punch" to my cursing extravaganza because IF this girl wasn't going to let Mo and I sleep, then neither was she. We shared a plastic headboard in this lovely hostel because all of our bunks were connected to each other by the frames. So each time homegirl let out another earth-shattering wail, I slammed on the headboard and screamed "STOP SNORINGGGG!" It wasn't completely affective (simply because my victim was in such a deep sleep she had no idea what was going on) but it did shake her awake a few times. Mo continued to giggle while I banged away the rest of my knuckles and my sanity. The other sleeping victim in the room was absolutely miserable, and only made herself known with this statement:
Australian accent: "Hiya could you stop banging?"
Me: "Um only when she shuts the fuck up."
Sweet, I know.
|Parliament. Cool stuff.|
WATCH THIS VIDEO!!
This is the best scene EVER from the BBC show 'Thick of It." My professor
used this to show us the 'inside' of British politics. This is a fake "Minister" explaining
to a reporter why she can't write a story.
|This could actually be the worst photo ever taken.|
Meet my cousin, Dylan.
Alas, after security we had to turn our phones off so we couldn't take any pictures. This was a bit disappointing, because I was super ready to give The Guardian some dirt on what the stationary looked like in there. As soon as I went to turn my phone off, I accidentally dropped it. Without missing a beat, Professor Ridgers looked at me and exclaimed (insert accent) "For God's sake Carly he said turn it off not shatter it!" I burst into a fit of giggles, and my laughter echoed among the ancient halls (not really, but that sounded kinda cool when I wrote it.) Aside from the camera thing, turning off the beloved iPhone also meant that I couldn't take many notes during the tour guide's speech, but I still stole a few facts off Wikipedia that corresponded with the tour.
Facts from Wikipedia:
- Parliament is big.
- Parliament is VAST. (more fun to say in a British accent then 'big')
- Parliament is like the Queen Mother (old as s***).
Vocabulary you should know when visiting Parliament:
Old, ancient, Queen, the English, Britons, massacre, government, Tally ho!, fox hunt, embroidered, velvet, bar, alcohol, gin and tonic, water lily, corgi
|Parliament. The only part we were allowed to take pictures in.|
|I took random photos just because I could. They're not especially great.|
|Alexa and I :)|
|Look! An ornate ceiling!|
Look at British politics. They can yell at their PM. This is AWESOME.
After the tour, we were able to take pictures in a large part of the building where the Queen had been given a birthday luncheon the week before. The arches seemed endless, and the stained glass window were so pretty we HAD to take a picture in front of them. Our tour guide told us that when cleaning up the wooden beams of the roof, they found three perfectly preserved tennis balls from the time of Henry VIII! It seems he also enjoyed Wimbledon and Maria Sharapova. Judging by the sounds she makes playing tennis, no doubt he probably would have beheaded her as well.
Once we finished the photoshoot, we headed toward the back gates of Parliament. Before I left, I turned around to grab a few photos from an angle of Big Ben that not many people get to see. We took our photos of Ye Olde Clocke from inside the gates of Parliament, and they ended up being some of the best photos I've ever taken. OH THE CLARITY! Not to brag, but I will be accepting postcard offers for a limited time only.
|Mo and I at the end of my tour. I owe all of these photos to|
the wonderful iPhone 4S. My compliments
to Siri and Steve Jobs.
|MoMoney MoProblems at The Pastry Shop!|
|Quiche for everyone.|
|The beautiful Alexa and her cheese- covered sandwich. |
It. Looks. Amazing.
After our wonderful tour, I rounded up Mo and Alexa and we made our way to The Pastry Shop that I frequented with all of my visitors. The staff was starting to recognize me, so I knew I was doing something right. We stopped for tea, quiche, amazing grilled cheese sandwiches, and (what else) DELICIOUS pastries. Alexa decided to return back to South Ken while Mo and I made our way down the river for a photo shoot and some shopping. We attempted to see the Damien Hirst exhibit at the Tate Modern, but they had moved it THE DAY BEFORE. So disappointing. I really wish they would consult me before they made such rash decisions.
|Walking the Thames.|
|Children's multi-colored sand pit!!|
|In front of the Tate Modern.|
|A man in drag playing a piano on a crowded sidewalk. Casual.|
|Crazy patriots parked on Oxford Circus.|
|Rings on a jacket in Kensington for the Olympics!|
The tube ride to get to the tour was absolutely ridiculous. We were all exhausted and it was dreary as usual outside. Professor Ridgers cheered us up by saying absolutely hilarious "facts" such as:
- (When meeting Mo for the first time) "Oh my god, you're friends with Carly? She's an absolutely terrible human being. Horrible, we can't even stand her. HAHAH just kidding, but really... She's miserable." (This did wonders for my self-confidence).
- (At the start of the tour) "So here's my theory.. Harry Potter was Jack the Ripper."
- (On the street where they filmed Harry Potter) "Try not to think Diagon Alley. Try to think abused corpses."
- "Everyone, this was a place for blow jobs. Trust me, this was not on Google Maps."
- "Oh look, here is a new building! There were not many car parks in the Victorian Era."
|Diagon Alley from Harry Potter!|
The tour itself was quirky and frazzled, a bit like my professor. I was on my way to a sinus infection (thanks London Fog) so it's safe to say that I don't remember that much. My professor and I did share a quick moment when we announced a funny joke to the class to start off the tour:
(British accent) "Well class this is something Carly and I thought of so here goes. 'This is the corner where I used to work before I lost my hair.' HAHAHAHA classic bald joke. Moving on. This way! Hurry! We've got Indian food to eat!"
We saw a few more bars the prosititues used to haunt, our professor shared some intimate details about their death, and then it was time to do what I do best. No, not kill women of the night. EAT, ladies and gents!
|Someone was killed here, blah blah blah.|
Despite the ringing in my ears, a stuffed nose, and a completely dull set of senses, I was still excited for Indian food. For the LIFE of me I wish I knew what this restaurant was called, but I'm fairly sure you need Harry Potter magic to discover it if you're not a local. We walked past rows of businesses with Indian men shouting great deals at us, and did my best not to respond to all of them. Our fearless leader Professor Ridgers walked by them unfazed, eyes on the prize.
The class eventually found the restaurant and settled in, ordering Tiger beer and nan while our professor offered countless menu suggestions. The best deal was splitting a five-course meal, but Mo and I wanted to explore other dishes rather than take the set course. Being from an island (Hilton Head) and now living on another island (Britain y'all) I gravitated toward the seafood option. I enjoyed quite possibly most authentic, delicious Indian food I have ever eaten. Granted I have no idea what it's called BUT I would recommend it to anyone.
|Name this dish. I'm in love with it.|
My dish was basically a prawn soup with mild spices, perfect for my delicate (weak) palate. I'm not exaggerating when I say I would gladly bathe/swim in that soup for the rest of my life. Indian anyone?
When I wasn't focused on my food I took the time to fall even more in love with my professor. Everyone was obsessed with the 'Thick of It' and were asking for more TV recommendations. I chimed in that my favorite BBC America show that I used to watch was called 'Young Ones.' My professor's eyes widened to the size of my soup bowl and he let out a child-like squeal. "THAT'S MY FAVORITE SHOW! OHMYGOD how did you know that? WE ARE SOUL-MATES!' I couldn't agree more.
|Cool street art on Baker Street.|
We had. To go back. To the hostel.
Chances we would be murdered in our sleep for my obnoxious antics? 100%. Fortunately, I'd had a wonderful 'last supper.' Jesus take the wheel.
MORE PARLIAMENT PHOTOS!