A Travellerspoint blog

Onward to the BBC...


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Last night Paula, Frances, and I went to the BBC studios to see a live broadcast of 'The Late Edition' which is kind of the British equivalent of 'The Daily Show'. We had to wait in line outside for about forty-five minutes, which wasn't fun because it has just started to get cold here. We had to wait another hour after they let us inside before we could go to the set, but it was okay because it was warm and they gave us each a free drink. The set was a lot smaller than I had imagined it would be. They had huge lights and the cameras were always getting in my way :( They brought out a comedian to warm up the audience before the start. They also asked everyone to clap so they could check the sound levels. The host was pretty cool, though not as great as Jon Stewart. They made a lot of jokes about Americans, but I thought they were funny anyway. It was an interesting experience and really piqued my interest in writing for something like 'The Daily Show' when I grow up.

Posted by flame1985 15:00 Archived in England Comments (0)

Halloween!


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I had just about the worst night ever last night. Working on very little sleep, I decided that the best way to make myself feel better today was to chop off all my hair. And so I did. No photos yet though... I'm going to make you sweat it out until I can get some candid shots and not have to pose for 'after' pictures.

Also, we haven't had hot water all day. We were about to leave for the play tonight when we heard what we thought was rain, except that it was coming from the stairwell. Turns out the flat above us was leaking massive amounts of water through four floors. At least now we know where all our hot water was going!

Happy Halloween!

Posted by flame1985 15:00 Archived in England Comments (0)

My Kind of Fabulous Weekend


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So Friday we went to this Belgian restaurant, which was cool because (1) I've never heard of a strictly Belgian restaurant before, (2) you're served by people dressed as monks, and (3) because my new favorite beer is Belgian. They have this promotion on weekdays called beat the clock where, between 5 and 6:30, you pay the price equivalent to the time you place your order. So we ended up paying £5.45 for our dinners, which included a drink (and I, being the oldest one there, was the only one to get carded). I got a vegetable tart, which wasn't as extravegant as the mussels or half a roasted chicken that other people got, but it tasted pretty good.

Saturday I watched the X Factor (which is kind of like American Idol). I also tried to book tickets to go to a taping in the next few weeks, so hopefully we'll get to go see Simon Cowell insult people live! After that, Adam and I went to flat six and watched Project Runway with the girls up there before going out. No place has a cover less than £5 on Saturday night, though, so half of us went home early.

Sunday I stayed in bed until five in the evening. Adam, Maureen, and I went on a Jack the Ripper walking tour that evening. It was interesting because we've just talked about Jack the Ripper in our classical music course (he's a character in the opera Lulu). Our tour guide knew a lot about the subject and gave us all the gory details of each murder. It was neat to walk through a part of London that I haven't seen yet, even though the tour creeped me out too much to go back there.

Today Adam and I got Thai food for lunch. It was especially yummy because I haven't had tofu since I left home. There were also these mushrooms in it that were featured on an episode of QI that I saw the other day. It's a funny quiz type show with comedians as contestants and Stephen Fry hosting. Anyway, they had photos of these four types of mushrooms with creepy names and asked the contestants to pick which one they thought was edible. The answer was the trumpet of death, a frilly black mushroom that looked like the ones in my noodles today. Then we went to the British museum across the street. They have an exhibit called the power of taboo, which looks at Pacific islander religions. We also saw the mummified remains of Cleopatra and a couple of sacred bulls. After that we went looking at clothes and computer games, but we didn't buy anything.

And now it's Monday night and I have class tomorrow. One of the highlights of my weekend came tonight, though. I emailed Lilly today to tell her I couldn't visit her in Russia. Turns out she's studying in Germany at the moment, so I might get to see her after all! Woohoo!

Posted by flame1985 15:00 Archived in England Comments (0)

Bath and Stonehenge


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So, we went to Bath today. Our first, and really only stop, were the Roman baths. Unfortunately, we didn't get to go in the water. It looked warm and inviting except for the algae. We saw lots of the Roman ruins that surrounded the baths at one point. There were mosaics, statues, and gravestones.

Steamy Bath

Steamy Bath

Mosaic

Mosaic

After that, we tried to find the childhood home of Jane Austen, but apparently it was lost in what Professor Armitage believes is the cosmic conspiracy against him.

We then drove to Stonehenge, arriving ten minutes before it closed. They didn't kick us out until a quarter after closing though. It was also cold and rainy, so... blah. The rocks were kind of cool to see, even though you can't walk right up to them anymore.

Me at Stonehenge

Me at Stonehenge

On the way home we got stuck in a traffic jam for... eh... 45 minutes and discussed our favorite Disney movies. The end.

Posted by flame1985 16:00 Archived in England Comments (0)

Food


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I wrote this for my London experience journal entry this week and thought I'd let everyone read it. It's about food and grocery shopping in London. I tried to write a kind of story in four parts, but I think a lot of it sounds like my poetry. And I was being sarcastic about my baked beans obsession. Would you expect anything less from me? Oh, and Ribena is a brand of blackcurrant juice. Is everyone up to speed? Good. Let's begin...

I. Preservatives

My first days in London were spent moving into my flat, buying a cell phone plan, and scoping out the grocery stores. My first impression upon entering Sainsbury's was that the store was too small to carry all of my favorite brands. I was used to the oversized supermarkets that dominate rural North Carolina. Unless I wanted to spend all of my money eating out for every meal, however, I had to give it a try. I picked up fruits and vegetables, bread and cheese, peanut butter and Nutella. It wasn't until I found the cans of soup that I really began to miss the carts with wheels that circulate the supermarkets at home. The cashier gave me a funny side-glance as she rang up my three cans of baked beans. Two days after this maiden voyage, my loaf of bread began to mold. White and fluffy at first, I would pick it off the crust and create abstract forms with my sandwiches. When the mold turned a deadly shade of black, I knew it was time to let it go. I've since learned to store such things in my one-sixth of the refrigerator because they lack the preservatives necessary to survive in our climate. This, apparently, is why Londoners only shop for two days worth of groceries, and why I should only buy one can of beans at a time if I want to keep my obsession with them under wraps.

II. Blackcurrants

Everything in Britain comes in a blackcurrant variety. Blackcurrant juice, blackcurrant yogurt, blackcurrant ice cream… even strawberry flavored Starburst have been replaced by blackcurrant ones. I wouldn't be surprised to find blackcurrant potato crisps sitting next to the prawn cocktail on my next trip to the store. I have yet to find a blackcurrant in its true form. Maybe this is because "95% of all of Britain's blackcurrants grow up to be in Ribena". After tasting Ribena, I've given up on my search. I think that I'll stick to eating strawberries.

III. Food Labels

Eating in London quickly grew on me, despite the moldy bread incident. This is because Europe is much more vegetarian friendly than the US. Practically every meatless product on the market has a rather large "V" highlighted in green on the front. Even the restaurants have them on their menus. I no longer have to scan the ingredients for chicken stock, gelatin, or that ambiguous "natural and artificial flavorings". No longer is my time spent grocery shopping directly proportional to the speed at which I read! I loathe the thought of going home to mundane frozen veggie burgers and PB&J sandwiches.

IV. Alcohol

I was advised against drinking North American alcohol in Europe, since that would take away from the experience of being in London, like I imagine sitting in the flat playing poker instead of watching British television might. Therefore, Sainsbury's brand Scotch, being wholly European, has tempted me many times. The cashier usually takes a few minutes to decipher my NC driver's license before telling me that I "don't look that old". I try to decide if it's a compliment, or just a frustration, to look younger than I am at twenty-one.

Posted by flame1985 16:00 Archived in England Comments (0)

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