Thursday, August 30, 2007

Listen to: Tattoo

wow. go jordin sparks for getting stargate to produce her debut single...

school = TOO BUSY. m2 year = m1 * 9098. need to find time to just rewind.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Listen to: Runaway

It's scary how brilliant Avril's music is.

I just wanna scream and lose control
Throw my hands up and let it go
Forget about everything and runaway yeah
I just want to fall and lose myself
Laughing so hard it hurts like hell
Forget about everything and runaway yeah

don't hate.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Day 1: Westminster Abbey, Picadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square

These past two weeks, I've been everywhere but Chicago. Before my trip to Europe, I had the chance to visit Baltimore again for Andrea and Rich's wedding. It was a completely beautiful affair and you can see pictures here. Special thanks to Olivia, Stacy, Anna and Sudip for hanging out this weekend. You guys are the best.

If you didn't know before, Mari and I have been planning to go to Europe for the past month. This summer is supposedly my LAST SUMMER EVER, so I had to make good use of it and go to the continent I most longed to visit. The summer flew by quickly and the day finally came. We took the el to O'Hare and flew all the way to Heathrow.
Let me say that the London Underground is THE BEST hand down subway system I have ever been on. Although the trains don't go everywhere, the entire system runs so smoothly. All the stations and trains were clean. But one trip on the underground is 4 pounds. In dollars, that's more than $8. Can you imagine paying for one trip for $8?? Oh well... the dollar STINKS. I loved the voices on the intercom telling you where to go. Best line ever? "This is a Picadilly line service to Cockfosters". *snort* We were the only ones giggling whenever we heard that. I am so mature.
Our hostel was located in West Kensington, 15 minutes west of London proper. The neighborhood was quiet and nice. Ace hostel is the first and probably the best hostel I will stay at. It was really clean (you can tell what makes me approve of things), high tech (keys were security card keys, internet available for use), friendly staff, a jacuzzi in the back! and breakfast in the morning. Contrary to the picture, I took the bottom bunk. The first night was great because we had the room to ourselves. Later, four other Americans (2 from Minnesota and 2 from the south) took the rest of the beds.
Dropping off our stuff, we headed over to Westminster Abbey.
It was great having Mari on the trip because she was so knowledgeable about British and French history.
Inside the Abbey (boo for prohibiting pictures...), there is so much history involved with the building. So many tombs with royalty and other tributes to important Britains.

Since the London Eye was so close, we decided to purchase tickets in advance. 15 pounds... SO EXPENSIVE. The dollar is SO WEAK.
Waterloo station to take us to Picadilly Circus aka the Time Square of London.
English term of the day: Hole in the wall = ATM/cash machine. This hole in the wall was most likely a bar...

Lights were awesome but I like Time Square better...
The one thing I noticed while walking around Europe is that the buildings are so much more beautiful than those here in America. Just by looking at it, you can see that there is so much history in all the buildings. Every street was just a sight to see.

Wonder if Lis knows Henry...
Got some great pub food at the Porcupine.
Had to try the fish and chips...
One of our professors told us that he goes to England and stocks up on ketchup because his daughter is allergic to fructose. Every American product is full of that stuff. But in England, they use sugar instead... And it's true! Not as tangy as the Heinz here but smoother and sweeter...
The National Gallery at Trafalgar Square.
Sadly no pigeons.

I'm too old. I couldn't climb up the lion... Mari took a great shot of me of my attempt.
Walking around, we found this palace like building. Apparently, it's a huge stable called Horses Guard. I wanna be a British horse.

We got a glimpse of Buckingham Palace at night.
By this time, I had been on about 2 hours of sleep and had been awake for at least 18 hours. I was a zombie walking to the nearest tube stop. SO TIRED.

Day 2: British Museum, Jason, Tate Modern, Mary Poppins

Before we went on our trip, Mari and I made a detailed itinerary of what we set out to do each day. For the most part, we did all of the places and things we set out to do. This picture is for you Martin.
The British Museum.
This newly added atrium in the center of the museum is fantastic. I love the ceiling.

The Rosetta stone! It was MASSIVE.
Getting close to the Pantheon. WOOP-AH. That was for you Biswas.
Looking at all the friezes.
Lots of metopes and pediments to see.

Gotta love the Buddha.
Cool mummies.
Jason was working at Cambridge at the time helping out a summer school program for high schoolers. It was great that he could take time off from work to meet up with us. King's Cross is awesome.
Had to visit Platform 9 and 3/4 obviously.
Italian food at Lecester Square.
Walking over to the Tate Modern.
Cool factory building converted into museum space.

Had a few amazing pieces of modern art (especially the Rothko room), but overall I was underwhelmed with the collection. I didn't like how they were arranged by subjective interpretations rather than chronologically. It didn't make sense.

Millennium bridge.

So we bought theater tickets to see Mary Poppins at 7pm. Unfortunately, we were at the Tate Modern until 5:30pm. The smart thing to do was to go straight to the show and eat around there. But I was adament on going to Brick Lane to get some good Indian food. Oh man, the people on the streets were to pushy and getting you into their restaurant. We got in one that promised quick food and 25% off. They didn't keep their promise and the food came at 6:30pm, leaving us a half hour to get to the theater on the opposite side of London.
Our hurried taxi ride there. I was so nervous to miss our show...
But we made it!
It was such a fun show and I like how they went beyond the movie to distinguish itself. I really liked how the entire audience got into the show and had so much energy. But it was definitely less formal affair than watching a show here. People left all their trash everywhere, and people were taking pictures throughout the show...
My favorite was the supercalifragilisticexpialidocious dance. While singing, they spelled out each letter with their hands. It was AWESOME. Watch:After the show, we scarfed down the Indian food we bought earlier and said goodbye to Jason. Walking back we found this pub...
Another view of Picadilly...